Who is the man on the mural who greets visitors entering downtown Joplin from the north? It’s George Spiva, a prominent Joplin businessman, philanthropist, and supporter of the arts (we even have an art center named after him). Spiva’s larger-than-life image is surrounded by images of 1920s scenes and contemporary downtown culture in this piece of art, which is named the Downtown Gateway Mural. Created by a team of students and volunteers under the direction of Burt Bucher, a professor at Joplin’s MSSU, the scenes in this crowd-sourced mural help foster a love of our city, calling us to remember our history, and to imagine our future.
The sister mural to the left is a large, polychromatic welcome sign grounded in two iconic syllables: “JoMo.”