After 15 months of work and 1,000 volunteer hours, the new “Downtown Joplin Gateway Mural” at B and Main streets was dedicated during a special ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 18.

Members of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce conducted a ribbon-cutting to mark the mural’s completion.

Burt Bucher (center) and students who helped collaborate on the project pose in front of the completed mural.

Burt Bucher (center) and students who helped collaborate on the project pose in front of the completed mural.

The mural, created by associate professor of art Burt Bucher and volunteers from Missouri Southern and the community, was painted on an existing series of billboards. It commemorates downtown Joplin through images from the 1920s to the present. Images of from Joplin’s past flow across the mural into the present day, anchored at the center by a depiction of George A. Spiva – who established Joplin’s first arts center.

Noting how the arts community in Joplin has flourished, Bucher said it seemed only natural to honor Spiva in the mural.

“He’s responsible for that,” Bucher said.

Speaking to members of the media, volunteers who helped paint the mural and city and campus officials, Downtown Joplin Alliance Executive Director Trisha Patton said she was excited to have Missouri Southern create the city’s ninth mural.

“We’re working to make Joplin a college-friendly town,” she said. “Projects like this are a good stepping stone for building Lion pride in the community.”

Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert was also on hand for the dedication and ribbon-cutting. A Missouri Southern alum, he said he was proud of the work that went into the mural and that it would be one of the first things people see as they come into the downtown area.

“The Downtown Joplin Gateway … what a perfect name for people to come into our city and see,” Seibert said. “We love it.”