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KSMU's May 2019 "Spotlight On Joplin"

(Logo design courtesy

For the second installment of our new monthly “Arts News” feature spotlighting arts events in Joplin, I was again joined on the phone by Emily Frankoski, Community Arts Director for Joplin’s arts agency Connect2Culture.  She provided a rundown of some of her favorite events for next month out of the huge list of performances, events, and exhibits. And as Emily pointed out, we never even got to the numerous classes taking place!

First, two continuing exhibits at Spiva Center for the Arts. PhotoSpiva 2019, celebrating its 43rd year, is a juried exhibit of photographic art from across the country, as judged by Patty Carroll.  It continues through May 18.  And one of Emily’s own favorite shows at Spiva continues through May 10: the 2019 Small Works Auction. (In fact, she says she has bids in on at least of couple of pieces herself.) The show features everything from jewelry to collage in 12”x12”, 9”x12” or 6”x6” sizes.  The auction raises money for operations at Spiva, and Emily highly recommended attending the closing party on Friday May 10 from 5:30 to 7:00pm, with food, wine, and fast’n’furious bidding.

Joplin’s First Thursday Art Walk is coming up next Thursday May 2nd in downtown Joplin, in an area Emily Frankoski describes as along Main from Forest Street to 7th Street, with numerous “pop-up” art gallery spaces in various venues, along with live acoustic music.  Hours are 5:30-8:30pm.  Then there’s Third Thursday, May 16 from 5:30–8:30pm, again along Main Street in downtown Joplin.

Emily Frankoski had plenty of other events to mention this time.  Two of them take place on Saturday May 4.  Free Comic Book Day is from noon–7:00pm at Hurley’s Heroes (824 S Main Street). Celebrate national Free Comic Book Day by supporting local businesses and artists. Young, talented artists from Joplin High School’s Cartoonist Club will sell comics and provide free sketches. Professional artists including Jeremy Haun and Seth Wolfshorndl, will also be on hand sketching and selling their work. And, of course, free comic books will be available.  Also on May 4, a special workshop at the Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th Street in the Community Room East.  Post Art Library Executive Director Jill Sullivan, who Frankoski calls a local “guru” when it comes to researching historic sites, will instruct attendees on how to conduct research on historic sites, buildings, houses and other structures—all of which can have fascinating histories to uncover.  It will run from 10:30am to noon on May 4, and there’s no admission charge.

And there’s a musical performance on Saturday May 4 at Joplin’s “house concert” venue, Coda Concert House (2120 E. 24th Street). Nationally-known blues-rock group Indigenous, a band featuring Native American musicians from the Yankton Sioux Reservation, will perform starting at 5:30pm.  Coda Concert House will host another performance on Friday May 10 at 7:00pm, featuring Indiana-born singer/guitarist Reverend Peyton, the bigger-than-life frontman of the rootsy, country-blues flavored “Big Damn Band.”  A third Coda Concert House event is Sunday May 19, with Ben Miller playing host to two other songwriters with a “Solo Songwriters In The Round Night” featuring: Ben, Bill Gosch, and Brook Blanche, starting at 5:30pm. Admission to hear Indigenous is a suggested donation of $30; for Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, it’s a $25 suggested donation.  Suggested minimum donation for the Solo Songwriters Night is $15. In all cases, one hundred percent of the money goes to the musicians. More information and reservations: Jeff Morrow, Connect2Culture will host a panel discussion on Tuesday May 7th that should be of great interest to artists and arts organizations in the Joplin region. It’s a “Media Panel,” scheduled for 6:00-8:00pm at Joplin Little Theatre, 3008 W. First Street. This Connect2Culture Arts Roundtable will feature a Media Panel filled with local media representatives, who will answer questions and share valuable tips for arts and cultural organizations/businesses, and artists, to more effectively secure media attention in connecting to their audience.

Attention classically-trained singers: Heartland Opera Theatre will hold auditions for their 2019-2020 season on Saturday and Sunday May 18 and 19 from 2:00 to 5:00pm both days, at Missouri Southern State University’s Fine Arts Complex, Room 208 (3950 E Newman Rd). Singers are invited to try out for  for “Bon Appetit!” by Lee Holby, “Suor Angelica” and “Gianni Schicchi” by Puccini, or “Speed Dating Tonight!” by Michael Ching. To schedule a time for a live audition please contact John Atteberry at with the email subject title “Heartland Opera Audition – Performers full name, voice type.” More information: email Michael Gregory,, or call (417) 385-1454.

Wilder’s Event Center (1208 S Main St) inaugurates their 2019 Summer Concert Series on May 25 from 6-11pm, with a night of dynamic music by Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings, Chucky Waggs and the Company of Raggs, Red Oak Ruse, and Skye Pollard. General admission: $15, and the show is for ages 21 and up.

Joplin Little Theatre (3008 West 1st Street) will present “9 to 5, The Musical” May 29-June 2, Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm.  The show features music and lyrics by Dolly Parton (with book by Patricia Resnick), and of course it’s based on the hit 1980 movie about three female office workers who exact revenge on their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss.  Tickets are available at or by calling the box office at (417) 623-3638.

If you’d like more information on arts events happening in the Joplin area, visit or call (417) 625-6683.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.