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Tornado-Themed Artwork Exhibit Helping People of Joplin Heal and Rebuild Spirit

George A. Spiva Center for the Arts' "On the Other Side" Features Various Styles of Artwork Including Some Made From Tornado Debris (October 18, 2011)

JOPLIN, MO -- (Marketwire) -- 10/18/11 -- George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, a non-profit exhibition, education and cultural arts center, announces "On the Other Side," a tornado-themed exhibit designed to allow art to contribute to Joplin's healing process for both the artists who created the pieces on display and the many coming to view the unique exhibit.

Soon after the devastation of one of the deadliest tornados in US history, the rebuilding of Joplin began. But Spiva -- known for its diverse exhibitions and hands-on classes -- has been putting a focus on the community's more complicated emotional needs.

"The exhibit was really created to allow for healing and emotional rebuilding," said Jo Mueller, Spiva's executive director who, along with several other Spiva staff, was impacted by the tornado. "The artwork is bringing insight to people and allowing powerful emotions to surface."

"On the Other Side" showcases a variety of works, many featuring tornado debris. Mueller said several entries are not by professional artists, but by people who felt compelled to contribute. Like a piece in the exhibit made of items from The Home Depot store that was completely leveled.

St. John's Mercy Hospital, which lost its entire Joplin hospital building and several other facilities in the tornado, is sponsoring the exhibit as a showing of its commitment to the community and belief in the healing effects of art.

"On the Other Side" also offers a unique opportunity to win a storm shelter with an interior wildlife mural painted by artist Julie Lankford Olds, a 2008 Picher, OK, tornado survivor. Midwest Storm Shelters donated the 13,000-pound shelter to raise funds for Spiva, which has seen a decrease in contributions since the tornado.

In the days and months following the tornado, Spiva spearheaded several community efforts, provided free art classes and supplies, and helped recruit instructors for a therapeutic art program. The Center will continue to foster healing with the "Shoebox Project," an exhibit launching at the year anniversary of the Joplin tornado in 2012. Tornado artifacts that fit inside a shoebox will help tell the many personal stories of survivors and volunteers affected by the tornado.

George A. Spiva Center for the Arts is a non-profit exhibition, education and cultural center in Joplin, Missouri. Founded in 1947 and now considered the fine-arts hub of the four-state region, Spiva is named for the local businessman, philanthropist and art lover who believed opportunities in the arts should be available to all. Spiva presents year-round exhibits and educational programs for all ages. There is no charge to view Spiva's exhibits. Contributions to Spiva can be made by calling 417.623.0183.

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