MSSU Archives & Special Collections Exhibits: Community Involvement

Digital exhibits created by the MSSU Archives and Special Collections department.

Spiva Center for the Arts: Community Involvement

Spiva Center for the Arts has always been involved with the surrounding communities. From organizing field trips from surrounding elementary schools to organizing special exhibitions and events specifically to engage young audiences, the gallery has fostered an environment for creativity and expression among the most impressionable audience. Here you will find letters of gratitude from students in Joplin schools and the winning children’s drawings from the racetrack promotion.

Letters of gratitude sent to gallery director Val Christensen from a class tour of the “Twentieth Century Sculpture” exhibition held September 12, 1987, to October 25, 1987, which featured artists Alexander Calder and Gerhard Marcks.




To promote the grand opening of the gallery’s new building Spiva Center for the Arts held a drawing competition. Children were asked to take the drawing paper to the 66 Speedway and create a work of art inspired by the speedway. The competition was separated into age categories: five and under, six to eight, and nine to twelve. All children who participated in the competition received a coupon for a free cookie or ice cream at any Hardee’s fast-food chain. The three winners selected also received a twenty-five-dollar savings bond.

Winner for 6-8 age group

Letters of gratitude sent to gallery director Val Christensen from an elementary school class tour of the Gulf States exhibition held February 17, 1991 to March 17, 1991 which featured artists William Aiken Walker and Edward Lamson Henry.

Note attached to children’s letters sent to the gallery director written by teacher Phyllis McAulley.



Winner for 5 and under age group

Winner for 9-12 age group

Newspaper clipping of Joplin 4th and 5th graders participating in the “Directions: Watercolor” program

Newspaper clipping of Joplin fourth graders critiquing art at the gallery.

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