The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 1, 2013

Neosho Arts Council helps refuel creativity

By Robin Fjelstad

— “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”  

— Pablo Picasso

When was the last time you colored in a coloring book, or made your own greeting card from scratch? Creativity and inventiveness are gifts, exclusive to us as a species.

Every person has a talent or skill that they excel in. Finding yours and nurturing it can be a challenge; especially if you do not believe that you are artistic. There are organizations and groups across the Four-State Area that exist to promote the participation and appreciation of the arts.

The Neosho Arts Council sponsors workshops and classes that allow individuals and children to explore their own creativity. The council strives to provide an outlet where local artists can display their work. They also sponsor several contests throughout the year that allow local artists to promote and sell their artwork.

“There’s something special about owning an original,” said John Mills, president of the council. “You can make a copy of something, but you can never have another original. It’s something you can look at every day. You can enjoy. You have a connection with the artist and his interpretation and how you interpret his work. There’s just something special about original artwork.”

Mills said monies earned by the sold-out annual Sweet Arts Gala fundraiser, which is being held tonight, along with grants from the Missouri Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, allow the council to provide scholarships for artists and fund local projects. The council has committed to help fund the lighting for new murals at Crowder College and has worked in conjunction with the Southwest Missouri Art Alliance and others to help sponsor the annual Thomas Hart Benton Four State Regional Art Competition and Exhibit held at the Longwell Museum on the Crowder campus in October.

The 10-day Herman Jaeger Food and Wine Festival, held annually from late April into early May, is another event organized by the arts council to generate awareness and enjoyment of the arts in the region.

The council meets on the second Wednesday of each month at the Hale McGinty Building at 216 W. Spring St. Artists and anyone with ideas to promote the arts should submit their names and ideas to the council for consideration. The council is also looking for individuals to write grants.

Mills said a real need for grant writers exists to help promote the arts so Southwest Missouri can become a region that supports all art genres.

In the weeks and months ahead, numerous opportunities will take place for individuals and families to explore a wide variety of art forms in the Four-State Area. Parents should encourage creativity and imagination in their children. A trip to a museum or attending other artistic events will benefit both adults and children. Time spent together as a family is never wasted.

Robin Fjelstad lives in Goodman and attends Missouri Southern State University where she is a communications major. She is the recipient of a Rebekah Hughes scholarship and a contributor to The Joplin Globe.