The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 17, 2013

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: PSU's Porter Hall memories = happy mom

PITTSBURG, Kan. — For the past few years on occasional Thursday nights, the Art Department at Pittsburg State University has opened up Porter Hall to families who want to learn more about art.

I love Porter Hall. Sometimes I wander through it while on campus. Love the architecture. Love the galleries. Love the smell of creativity. It reminds me of my childhood, when I spent summer days there with my mom as she taught youth art camps. One year, we transformed an entire room into an ocean.

I wanted my sons to have those kinds of experiences, too, but it became difficult to attend Family Art Night with any regularity because weeknights tend to get eaten up by music lessons and City Commission meetings and homework.

So it was exciting to learn that they’re introducing a Family Art Morning, to be held for the first time on Saturday. Youngsters from kindergarten through seventh grade may tour the galleries and learn about the art exhibits, then do a project of their own to take home.

The session, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at noon. Children ages 5-8 should be accompanied by an adult. The art that participants will create will be based on the theme “Places We Live.”

Parking is available on Cleveland Avenue, north and west of Porter Hall. For more information, people may contact Sunghee Choi, assistant professor of art, at 620-235-4310 or, or Mercedes Brink, president of the University Art Association, at

While I’m on the subject of creativity, I wanted to relate a story from reader Deb Nichols, a Riverton teacher, who made my day when she wrote to me last week in response to my column about Lego blocks.

Nichols told me that she clipped my column and included it in Valentine’s Day cards she sent to both of her adult sons and one of their friends.

“I cannot tell you how many hours they spent raking through piles of Legos in the living room floor,” she wrote. “Sometimes, even at an older than ‘cool’ age, and well into the night. The boys and their friends would be eating snacks, listening to music, watching sports or movies, but at the same time there would also be a Lego construction project in the works!”

Nichols said her household “had a zillion” and still does — she’s keeping them safe, awaiting a grandchild or two.

She wanted to let me know that she credited Lego blocks, in part, for her 24-year-old son Alex’s great first job as a new PSU graduate a few years ago. Turns out he decided, after having not been a huge fan of school through the years, to give technology a try — perhaps based on his interest in the colorful building blocks for so many years.

(To be fair, she also gives partial credit to the “very cool” faculty of the university’s technology program for her son’s success.)

Alex, she told me proudly, is now an equipment engineer for Kiewit Offshore Services Ltd., on the Texas coast. As she put it, “Happy boy = Happy mom.” I know exactly what you mean, Deb. Thanks.

Follow Andra Stefanoni on Facebook at and on Twitter @AndraStefanoni.

Text Only
Local News
  • Pension funding improving, actuary reports

    An extra $1 million contribution by the city of Joplin last year to the Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund boosted the funding ratio of the plan by 2 percent, the plan’s actuary told the board Thursday morning.

    April 17, 2014

  • Special counsel to be appointed in ethics complaint against Neosho council members

    The Neosho Ethics Board on Wednesday voted to ask the City Council to appoint a special counsel to provide legal advice to the board’s remaining two members as they investigate a complaint against two members of the council.

    April 17, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Will new Earth-like planet have better cable offerings?

    When I read that astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet yet, I had a couple of deep scientific questions. First: What’s the Wi-Fi like? And: Are their TV channels better than ours? Hey, I didn’t get an “Incomplete” in college astronomy for nothing.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Christian ministry plans Missouri camp expansion

    A nondenominational Christian ministry is planning a $21.5 million expansion on land it owns near Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri, with a goal of offering gatherings beyond the traditional summer camps.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 041714 Treble Makers.jpg Carl Junction ‘Treble Makers’ to sing at Springfield Cardinals’ stadium

    Next month, 75 Carl Junction sixth-grade students will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Hammons Field before a Springfield Cardinals game. And with more than 600 parents, family members and other residents planning to attend, the May 3 event has been dubbed “Carl Junction Day.”

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Public hearing set on posed TIF district

    Financial details of a proposed new tax increment financing district for the Silver Creek Galleria area will be discussed in detail at an April 28 public hearing, members of the city’s TIF Commission were told Thursday. Chris Williams, a TIF attorney representing the city of Joplin, told the panel the Thursday meeting was intended to walk commissioners through the public hearing steps.

    April 17, 2014

  • Volunteer projects spark two bills in Jefferson City

     moving through the Missouri House and Senate were inspired by a volunteer project in Carl Junction last year that stalled over a question of whether those volunteers had to be paid prevailing wage under Missouri law. “This bill is very simple. All it says is if someone is a volunteer, they won’t be forced to be paid prevailing wage,” state Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, told lawmakers during a hearing on his bill last week.

    April 17, 2014

  • Chairman of Neosho Ethics Board resigns

    The chairman of the Neosho Ethics Board unexpectedly resigned on Thursday as the board investigates a complaint against Neosho City Council members David Ruth and Steve Hart.

    April 17, 2014

  • CWEP receives top honor from national power group

    The Carthage Water and Electric Plant has received the top award for reliable electrical service from the American Public Power Association.

    April 17, 2014

Must Read


Would you use a community safe room when the area is under a tornado warning?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter