By Scott Meeker
Throughout periods of historical change, art has always played an important role, Kahlief Steele contends.
“A lot of art came out of the Renaissance period, and the same thing happened after the Great Depression,” said Steele, an art major who will start his junior year this fall at Missouri Southern State University.
Not only can art reflect the times, he said, but it also can promote the steps for healing.
To that end, Steele organized an art sale that will take place during today’s Third Thursday activities at the Focal Point Gallery, 525 S. Main St. All proceeds will benefit the tornado relief efforts in Moore, Okla.
“Around the time of the tornado in Moore, there were a lot of people trying to help out,” Steele said. “I knew that because of my schedule, I wouldn’t be able to go there. And as a college student, I didn’t have a lot of money to send.”
Through a Facebook page created for art students at Missouri Southern, he floated the idea of an art sale to benefit Moore.
“Everyone was all for it,” Steele said. “There are several different groups within the art department, and we don’t get to work together a lot. This was something that we could work together on.”
He said between 10 and 15 students will be on hand at the gallery with multiple pieces of artwork to display. The works will be sold on a “name-your-price” basis.
Proceeds will go to either the Red Cross or the Salvation Army — wherever the funds will be able to do the most good for the ongoing efforts in Moore, he said.
Steele said students’ works have been used for school-related fundraisers during Third Thursday, but this is the first time a sale has been held for a specific cause.
The gallery, he said, has been a great way to showcase the quality of work that local art students are capable of producing.
The Missouri Southern students also are working on a mural that will be created on a billboard on North Main Street.
“It will focus on old Joplin and how it relates to the new Joplin,” Steele said. “It’s going to be something really special.”
Other events planned for Third Thursday include a magic show from 6 to 6:45 p.m. at the Joplin Public Library; the “Let’s Eat” fundraiser for the Joplin School District’s Snackpack program from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Christman’s Event Center, 501 S. Main St.; an open rehearsal by the Midwest Regional Ballet; a car cruise; and an obstacle course sponsored by the Joplin Family Y from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the 600 block of Main Street.
On the Net
FOR A FULL LISTING of activities, people may visit the downtown Joplin page on Facebook.