Joplin-Hope and Healing

Mural of Hope-15th and Main, Joplin, MO-taken on a rainy afternoon last October with my iPhone-so not the clearest

Today’s extra blog is dedicated to the people of Joplin.  I know that the year anniversary of Joplin’s tornado is today. But the one thing I will always remember is that it was a Sunday.

I have been to Joplin many times since that defining day. Throughout this tragedy, Joplin has shown its mettle. The people in this town are tough. They are survivors.  I will forever respect the leaders and citizens of this old town.

But another thing has caught my attention.  And that is how the arts have been one of the healing powers for people who have faced difficult circumstances. 

The Mural of Hope, located at 15th and Main was one the the first pieces to rise. This work was started and  finished last fall.  It was initiated by a public art group called The Tank.

 The Tank has also started to create the Spirit Tree.  This work is inspired by the spirit stick of the Native American medicine man. The group hopes that the tree will serve as inspiration for the survivors of the May 22nd  tornado. The tree is located on 20th street by Dillon’s (destroyed grocery store) parking lot. The full article from the Joplin Globe can be read here


The Spirit Tree as of 5/21/12. I stopped by before I left town and took a picture with my iPhone

I know the citizens of Joplin have been amazed and blown away from the world’s concern and generosity. People are still coming to help.

One way  the survivors have been able express their gratitude is through Dear World, From Joplin With Love. The George A. Spiva Center for the Arts is presenting this show by Robert X Fogarty as I write.

This photo was shared on Facebook by Spiva  earlier this week-the artist is

Robert X. Fogarty

Finally, Sunday night I attended (with my daughter) a very powerful performance entitled Job In Joplin. This oral interpretation from the Book of Job is a creation of Outside The Wire. The actors involved were: Paul Giamatti, David Strathairn and Arliss Howard, joined by director and Outside the Wire co-founder Bryan Doerries. 


From the panel and audience discussion at the conclusion, is was clear that ancient words had spoken to a modern audience, as the Arts many time can.

This is a small perspective in the larger scheme of Joplin’s recovery.  I feel that the arts can be useful in the healing process and believe Joplin has shown us that this is so.


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