Ceremonies to be held for Spiva Park renovations, arts efforts

Oct. 4—Three events this week will celebrate renovations made to downtown's Spiva Park and recognize local and national arts efforts.

A dedication ceremony for a new artist-made Spiva Park sign will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the park at Fourth and Main streets.

Linda Teeter, executive director of the Joplin Arts District, who led the effort to reinvigorate the park with the first easily visible sign marking the name, will gift it to the city of Joplin during the ceremony. The sign was funded with donations by the Spiva grandchildren, descendants of the park's founder.

Artist Jorge Leyva, the sign's designer, will be on hand, as will Spiva's grandchildren. Mayor Doug Lawson will preside at the ceremony with parks director Paul Bloomberg also representing the city, along with board members of the Joplin Arts District.

The late George A. Spiva was a businessman, philanthropist and arts supporter who built the park and donated it to the city in 1966 in honor of his father, George N. Spiva. The elder Spiva was the founder of an explosives company during the mining era.

In addition to representatives of family, the arts district and the city, representatives of other organizations including the Joplin History and Mineral Museum and the Joplin Historical Society along with volunteers from local businesses worked in the park this spring to plant new flowers and shrubs, update a mineral exhibit at the entrance to the park, paint railings and clean features of a fountain that anchors the park.

Another art recognition event is planned for 5 p.m. Thursday when the mayor will present a proclamation at City Hall recognizing October as National Arts and Humanities Month.

Teeter said National Arts and Humanities Month was established in 1993 and is celebrated every October in the United States. It was initiated to encourage Americans to explore and participate in new facets of the arts and humanities.

Local artists, musicians and representatives of arts organizations and businesses have been invited to attend.

The mayor also will recognize the 15th year of the downtown ArtWalk with a proclamation. The event, originally held on the third Thursday of the month, now is held the first Thursday of March through October with exhibits, music and performances in historic downtown venues.

The ArtWalk was started by Teeter, an artist, in 2008. The event has grown from 12 participating artists in one building to include nine to 12 locations that allow artists to display their works and talents while promoting arts networking within the community.

The ceremony will kick off the last monthly ArtWalk event of the year from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

All of the events are free and open to the public.