The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Joplin Metro

July 15, 2013

Webb City leaders: Mural project a success

JOPLIN, Mo. — A year after the completion of Webb City’s first public mural on the north wall of the Middlewest Building on Main Street, local leaders are deeming it a success.

“It’s been very positive. It’s held up beautifully, it’s in a great location, it’s just been a really good thing for us,” said Eileen Nichols, director of the Webb City Farmers Market.

The mural, designed by Kyle McKenzie, depicts scenes from the farmers market, which has become a staple of the community on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays nearly year-round. The Webb City native raised donations for the project through KickStarter, an Internet-based site for small startup projects. It was dedicated on July 21, 2012.

A recent addition to the mural has helped explain to passers-by the mural’s history and what it depicts.

“We were so fortunate. Cardinal Scales donated the printing of brochures, which are in a weatherproof box right beside it, to explain what the mural is all about,” Nichols said. “That way people walking by, people who specifically come to see it or the many travelers on Route 66 — and there are a lot — can pick one up and learn more.”

In Carl Junction, where a group of residents this past year expressed interest in creating a similar mural on Main Street, efforts have stalled.

A year ago today, members of the C.J. Cultural Affairs Committee met with McKenzie to kick off the planning stage by discussing the location, the process, the cost and how to raise funds.

Jerry Botts, owner of Bruner Drugs, had agreed for the mural to be created on metal panels that would then be attached to the north wall of his historic brick building at the corner of Main and Pennell streets.

Formerly a bank, the building was constructed in 1893.

Those in attendance at that meeting said they were eager to engage the entire community, including schoolchildren, youth organizations, civic organizations and senior citizens, and subsequently identified several funding possibilities.

Gary Stubblefield, executive director of the Carl Junction Chamber of Commerce, said the project has died for lack of someone to spearhead the fundraising and to coordinate public involvement. He hasn’t given up on the project, however.

“All we need is a community advocate to lead the project to fruition,” Stubblefield said.

Newton County murals

The Newton County Tourism Council has turned some 25 murals into a tourist attraction by marketing them online and in brochures as a day-trip walking or driving tour. The murals also can be seen individually online at www.newtoncountymotourism.org, accompanied by  audio descriptions.

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