It’s time for quilters and photographers to get their creative juices flowing for Missouri’s bicentennial observance. It’s a chance to strut their talents in creative projects of the state celebration.

For those who are neither photographers nor quilters, there’s another art project awaiting contributions.

The celebration to observe Missouri’s 200th year as a state isn’t for another two years — Aug. 10, 2021, to be exact. But entries are already being accepted for quilt and photography projects that are part of the observance. Additionally, attendees of Joplin Arts Fest in September can contribute to a traveling composite mural that is being painted for the bicentennial.

Planners of Joplin Arts Fest were recently notified that the festival will be among 15 stops in the Missouri Bicentennial Paint for a Cause, a project to paint a mural that will eventually hang in Jefferson City. Those attending arts fest, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 20, and Sat., Sept. 21, at Mercy Park, will have the chance to help with painting the mural.

When the 12-by-30-foot aluminum mural is eventually completed, it will be constructed of 15 panels — each 4-by-6-foot — that have been painted during travels to cities across the state.

The mural design will include the state seal, flag and capitol building, and such state symbols as the bluebird, the mule, the crawdad and the fiddle. It will also feature state landmarks, including the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

The mural painting is being led by Aaron Horrell and Barb Bailey, of Best of Missouri Hands, a statewide artisans’ association. The Cape Girardeau pair will be on hand at Joplin Arts Fest to guide anyone who wishes to brush some paint on the mural.

Plans call for the completed mural to hang in a state office building in Jefferson City.

Quilters will have a chance to display their skills by submitting blocks for a Missouri Bicentennial Quilt to showcase the distinctive features of the state. The quilt, which will tour during bicentennial events, will be made up of 6-by-6-inch blocks representing every county in the state, plus the independent city of St. Louis.

Both individual quilters and quilting groups will be vying to represent their respective counties on the quilt by submitting blocks focusing on unique characteristics of the counties — their landmarks, people or places of significance, unique landscape features, or anything else that sets them apart. Multiple submissions for a county will be judged by their level of creativity and craftsmanship and a written description of significance, which must be submitted with the entries.

The blocks will be judged by representatives of the Missouri State Quilters Guild, the State Historical Society, and Missouri Star Quilt Co., a Hamilton, Missouri, business.

Submission guidelines and entry forms are available at A gallery of blocks that have already been submitted is available on the website.

The deadline for entry is Sept. 2 with notification of selected quilt pieces to be made by Dec. 31.

The photography project, My Missouri 2021, is an opportunity for amateur and professional photographers to submit their captures of unique and meaningful aspects of the state.

Of the photographs submitted, 200 will be selected for inclusion in the Missouri Bicentennial Collection, designed to create a snapshot of the state’s physical and cultural landscape for use by researchers, teachers and students. The collection will have a permanent home at the State Historical Society in Columbia after being exhibited at various locations as part of the bicentennial. They will also be part of a digital exhibition on the bicentennial website,

A gallery of photos that have been submitted to date is on the website. They cover it all — lakes, rivers and native plants, statues, fountains and architecture, and transportation, agriculture and manufacturing. Some are images of the immediate Joplin area.

Photographers may submit up to five photos. Submission guidelines and entry forms are available at

The deadline for entry is Nov. 1. Selection of the images for the bicentennial collection will be made by representatives of the State Historical Society and guest curators from each region of the state. Photographers whose work made the cut will be notified by Jan. 31, 2020.

These deadlines seem a bit early for a bicentennial that’s two years down the road. But it takes a lot of planning, plus scheduling to pull together a mural that’s painted statewide, a photo exhibition that travels the state, or a quilt with diverse panels that must be sewn into a compelling design.

These are only the creative projects that will be part of the bicentennial observance. For a rundown of other projects, most of them historical in nature, visit

Contact Marta Churchwell with column ideas and comments at

Marta is an arts columnist for The Joplin Globe.

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