By Jo Ellis
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Another artist has moved to Carthage, where she is hoping to realize a dream she says she has had for years.
Josie Mai is an associate professor of art and art education at Missouri Southern State University. After receiving an undergraduate degree and certification in art education in Kansas, she taught high school students in Kansas City public schools. In order to teach on the college level, she earned a master of fine arts degree from the Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Mai has taught at MSSU for seven years. Three of her art education students currently are teaching art in Carthage elementary schools.
Her longtime dream is promising to come true with the opening of the Beehive Collaborative at 509 Grant St. She calls it an art research lab where she can research and develop curriculum, involve her college students as well as members of the community, and encourage them to participate in art projects in a collaborative way.
The name — Beehive Collaborative — extends the honey/bee analogy nicely. Beehives, Mai said, are buzzing with activity, with every individual bee working toward the single goal of producing honey to keep the colony alive; a collaborative art project works toward producing a piece of art, also for the common good.
Individuals, Mai said, often feel that undertaking a work of art puts them under too much pressure, but in a group situation, they can feed off and learn from other members, and build a unified team identity and improved morale. She experienced such a reward this past year while working on the butterfly mural memorializing the Joplin tornado.
“That was a true collaborative effort,” Mai said.
She plans to put her theory to the test by offering collaborative workshops for all sorts of groups: corporations, civic clubs, Bible study groups and book clubs.
“Maybe it will open up some fresh ideas for them,” she said.
On Saturdays, the Beehive Collaborative will serve as an open studio for individuals who want a place to create, learn, and have an opportunity to share their ideas and work with others. The type of art doesn’t matter, Mai said. It can be 2-D, 3-D, writing, music or dancing.
“We will have tons of art books on the shelves,” she said.
The Beehive has already been the host for writers, musical performances and a workshop for area art teachers. Mai has just signed up to be a vendor for the next Carthage Art Walk on June 1-2, featuring historic Route 66.
She will hold two art camps for children 10 and older this summer. The hours will be 1 to 5 p.m. on June 26-28 and on July 24-26, with a different theme planned for every day. The cost will be $75 for each three-day camp, and will cover supplies and a snack.
Mai is full of other plans to keep activity around the Beehive buzzing. She anticipates one-man art shows and painting a large mural on the side of the large building.
“It’s a perfect space for it,” she said.
More details are available via 417-483-9336 or www.thebeehivecollaborative.com.
In other art news, don’t forget artCentral’s opening reception at 6 p.m. Friday for “Conversations in Clay,” presented by members of Midwest Clay Artists. The reception will be at Hyde House, 1110 E. 13th St. and is being is underwritten by All Things Grand.
Address correspondence to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.