Sculpture unveiled at Joplin Public Library

“Revering the Phoenix Effect,” a sculpture by Joplin artist Jorge Leyva, is now on display at the Joplin Public LibraryCourtesy | Jill Sullivan

If you missed the dedication of Jorge Leyva’s newest sculpture, “Revering the Phoenix Effect,” no worries: You’ll be able to see this permanent installation in all its glory any time you visit the new Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th. 

“Revering the Phoenix Effect” was a gift to the Joplin Public Library and to the city of Joplin that was made possible by a group of generous donors. One of the goals of the new library ... was to better incorporate art throughout the building,” said Jill Sullivan, who serves as the Post Art Library director. “This sculpture helps to illustrate that we’ve achieved that goal as it’s one of the first things people see when they visit the library.”

The library, which opened on May 30, already offers, in partnership with Spiva Center for the Arts, a sizable gallery that displays pieces from Spiva’s permanent collection, along with a mural outside the children’s library that features a montage of book images.

Following the 2011 tornado, Leyva said his approach to art dramatically changed, with nature and identity becoming his new sources for creativity. 

His sculpture “is a piece celebrating resilience and hope amidst chaos and pain. Each house represents an identity lost, each branch a new growth, a new blade of grass, a new life rising from devastation.

“I hope that in time this piece becomes a symbol of strength and tenacity for our community,” Leyva said.

The sculpture is located on the north side of the library on the outdoor walk between the parking lot and the main entrance.

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