Spiva Center for the Arts is an independent community art center that traces its roots to 1948 when a group of artists formed the Ozark Artists Guild. Their vision was embraced by local businessman and philanthropist George A. Spiva, who helped fund a location in one of Joplin's historic homes. The Center is now located in the historic Cosgrove Building in the downtown district. The building is home to three galleries, two classrooms, a gift shop, and an art library/public meeting room. Its Main Gallery hosts exhibits by nationally and internationally known artists, as well as traveling exhibitions, and its Regional Focus Gallery presents exhibits by artists within a 150-mile radius of Joplin. A third gallery is available for artist rental. Spiva's signature exhibition is PhotoSpiva, a national photography competitive that just celebrated its 39th year, attracting more than 800 entries from 30 states. Spiva's education programming includes classes in a range of mediums for all ages and skill levels; an after school program; children's summer camps; a summer tour and art activity with youngsters from the Joplin Family Y; and an annual third grade field trip program that brings in more than 1,400 youngsters from four school districts, as well as private and parochial schools for gallery exploration and hands-on activities. Spiva also partners with the Alzheimer's Association, Greater Missouri, for a painting program for adults with memory loss. The Center's scholarship program ensures that young and old alike are not turned away from programming because of an inability to pay. As the lone community art center in Southwest Missouri, Spiva serves an area encompassing southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. More than 12,000 people visit Spiva each year, exploring exhibits or taking part in programming and events.
George A. Spiva Center for the Arts