Illumination is the central theme of & at Night We Glow, a four-mural project that brings light and vitality to the area at 6th and Virginia Streets in downtown Joplin. Spearheaded by Joplin’s Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) Associate Professor Burt Bucher, in conjunction with the Downtown Joplin Alliance, this project took nearly 400 hours of volunteer work to complete and stands 12 feet tall and 150 feet wide.
Three of the murals feature a different lion, and the fourth mural features a lantern. The lion is MSSU’s mascot, and the lions in the mural represent important alumni and community members, including former astronaut Janet Kavandi, as well as Dennis Weaver, the actor best known for his role in the series Gunsmoke.
The lantern in the final mural pays homage to the one featured in MSSU’s logo. "The lantern isn’t just an academic symbol,” says Bucher. “It’s about bringing light into the darkness – an illuminated, clean space.”