Journey 11: Mail Art Projekt Exhibit

Mail Art Projekt Dayan

This afternoon, I had the privilege of attending a reception for the Mail Art Projekt Exhibit. Located in the Post Memorial Art Reference Library, the exhibit features art pieces mailed in from around the world. Back on Day 330 last year, my grandson Dayan and I competed our entries for the Projekt and dropped them into the mail. These postcard sized works of art were fun to create and we looked forward to seeing the pieces displayed this month.


Today we had the opportunity to attend the exhibit, find our art work and view the many other Mail Art pieces. At the library I met Dayan and his mom…my daughter Elissa…and my sister Linda. Also attending were Dayan’s dad Kevin, stepmom Kim and his sister Emma and baby brother Eli. As we arrived, I was thrilled to see a large group in attendance at the reception. The event was also covered by at least two local tv stations.

Mail Art Projekt Exhibit 2

We had fun browsing the amazing Mail Art. I failed to get a picture of it, but there was on display a map of the world with pins marking where each entry came from. Art was mailed in from around the world and the art was as varied and interesting as the countries they came from. I loved that it was a hands-on exhibit and we were allowed to pick and examine the postcards. I loved too that there was a small table set up with materials so that visitors could create their own small work of art. Dayan’s little sister Emma made a precious Mail Art to take home.

Mail Art Projekt Exhibit

Dayan and I let our family members look around and see if they could find our Mail Art pieces. They discovered them quickly! Displayed near each other, it was a thrill to see our art work exhibited along with other creative and intriguing pieces. We discussed some of the more unusual Mail Art, like the one with a whole skull thrust through the postcard and the multiple card piece that was not only clever, but told a story.

Mail Art Projekt Exhibit cool postcard

We had so much fun doing this Mail Art Projekt that we are entering mail art in another project, this one located in Austria. Those pieces are due in March and have a theme of Turquoise. Dayan shared with me his idea today for his Mail Art and it is incredible! He is way ahead of me. I know I’d like to use watercolors this time….and that’s all the planning I have done!

Mail Art Projekt Exhibit hanging art

I am grateful for this opportunity that the Post Memorial Art Library offered. Dayan and I both hope they will make the Projekt an annual event, as we would like to continue to enter, and we’d love to continue to grow in our ability to create interesting and great Mail Art. The exhibit will be on display for the remainder of the month. Check out this fascinating collection of art.

Mail Art Projekt Dayan and Yaya

Day 316: 2014 Student Art Exhibit

Pam Leisenring Art Students 2

After showing property today, I had time to stop by the Post Memorial Art Reference Library to check out the November exhibit. It has been a real joy this year to discover these monthly exhibits. Through them, I have met wonderful local artists and seen beautiful and amazing art pieces.

This month’s exhibit features acrylic paintings and pastels by the students of local artist, Pam Leisenring. Pam has taught and worked to promote the visual arts in Southwest Missouri for more than 30 years. She is a co-founder, along with the late Mary Ellen Pitts, of the Southwest Missouri Art Alliance and the Thomas Hart Benton Four State Regional Art Competition and Exhibit held at Crowder College every October.

According to the info with the exhibit, Pam specializes in bringing the creative experience to each artist in a very personalized way. By keeping the students on individualized programs and building on their intrinsic strengths, she encourages all to step outside the box and push on to higher levels. Pam introduces a wide variety of techniques, and her teaching style allows for immediate problem solving and increased retention for further application in future projects.

Students learn to “see” in a new artistically expanded way, increasing enjoyment and perception of the world around them. All artistic levels, from beginner to advanced, are included in the same class setting, which is a relaxed learning situation. Pam offers weekly sessions, during fall and spring. Students may join in at any time.

I enjoyed looking at the variety of artwork on display. Landscapes shared space with a cheerful portrait, a unique vignette of bottles, painted on a triptych, a magnificent horse and a beautiful close up of a single iris. I couldn’t pick a favorite, as I appreciated them all. The student artists included in the exhibit are Joleen Davis, Vangie Hall, Rhonda Hayward, Ron Hayworth, Cecilia Hempen, Pam Lickteig, Mary Parks, Brenda Schatzley, and Diane Thornton.

While at the exhibit I also got to say hi to Leslie and meet Post Library assistant, Jill Sullivan, just after she was interviewed by KOAM News. Jill shared about the Post Mail Art Projekt, and an upcoming workshop that will be held Saturday, November 15, at the library. The Projekt is a fun opportunity to create innovative correspondence and send it to the library, via snail mail. The deadline for entry is December 1, and the mail art will be showcased in an exhibit January, 2015. I won’t be able to attend the workshop, however I was excited to learn about mail art. I see another great first coming up, one I can share with grandson Dayan, and with the younger grandchildren, if they want to make a postcard too. I’ll share more about this exciting project, or “projekt”, later! What a perfect day to visit the exhibit at the Post Library. So often, that is the way my journey unfolds, leading me without effort to the next adventure.

Pam Leisenring Art Students

Day 234: Jesse McCormick Exhibit

Jesse McCormick 1e

Today’s first involved a trip to the library, and further, to the Post Memorial Art Reference Library, to view the August art exhibit. This month’s featured artist is Jesse McCormick. I wasn’t familiar with Jesse’s style or preferred medium. We had just become Facebook friends, so I looked forward to seeing his artwork.

Jesse is a Carthage artist, associated with Local Color Art Gallery & Studio, in downtown Joplin. According to the bio on Local Color’s webpage, most of Jesse’s paintings and drawings are in private collections. He has won awards for his work. He sometimes teaches art classes at Local Color and participates in the Third Thursday art walks. His vision emphasizes people, animals, rocks, trees and water. Light as color and contrast are important aspects of his work.

I enjoyed the exhibit. On display were several portraits, including a whimsical Mona Lisa, and other wonderful paintings of groups of people and fish in a bowl. I like and appreciate Jesse’s use of light. The bright, vivid colors of his paintings draw the eye. I stood before the piece titled “Luncheon of the Boating Party” and lost myself in it, studying each person captured on the canvas.

Jesse McCormick 2e

My favorite Jesse McCormick painting, today, was titled “Matt Chaimovitz in Concert at Phoenix Fired Art”. Jesse portrays the musician as he is absorbed in his performance. An audience sits with their backs to the observer. The colors of this piece were more subtle with the brightest hues surrounding Matt, making him the object of my attention. I could almost hear the music drift out over the hushed crowd as I studied this painting.

The Mona Lisa portrait was fun. And I wondered about the painting titled “Mollie Sanders”. I know a Mollie Sanders. This could be her. She is involved in Joplin Little Theater. And I know her parents. I will have to ask Jesse about this beautiful girl that he has painted.

I so appreciate the Post Memorial Art Reference Library. It truly is a hidden gem in Joplin. Each month I enjoy the featured artist’s exhibit and from viewing their work and blogging about the experience, I have made new friends. On the Local Color website, Jesse is quoted as saying, “I move my inner vision out where others may see it and it may remain for a while.  I paint people, nature, and light.  I convert what seems to be chaos into a visionary experience.  The magic of painting makes imagination visible.” I love that! I look forward to more of Jesse’s impressive work as he brings the vision in his imagination into visible form.

Jesse McCormick Mollie Sanders e

Day 158: Cher Jiang Exhibit


Viewing the lovely work of Carthage artist, Cher Jiang, was the perfect first for today. I had showings and other activities scheduled and stopping by the Post Memorial Art Reference Library for the June exhibit was an easy and delightful first. I had seen a teaser about Cher’s work. Some of her art pieces replace the people in photos or stills with animals. The sample I had seen was from a scene in the movie, Titanic, and it was charming. I looked forward to seeing more of Cher’s art.

I was enchanted immediately. Cher Jiang creates whimsical, magical art. I enjoyed looking at each piece on display, and then started again and took my time studying the prints and original works. Cher does much more than create fun portraits of people as animals. Her work has a fairy tale quality to it. Her website is very appropriately called, Cher’s Fairyland.

Born and raised in China, the bio on Cher’s website says that she grew up as an only child in a small village. She spent her days in her parents’ garden, looking at the trees, flowers and vines and wondering if there was a fairy who secretly created those. She began to draw. Her desire is simple. Cher says, “I want to help people to find the true beauty about their lives and I have a simple wish. The moment when people see my pictures, their worries, and sadness will fly away and they can start looking at the positive side of the life!”

Cher completed her art degree from the Institute of Fine Art in China. For nine years she illustrated children’s books and taught art and cartoon animation at the university level in China. She came to the US in 2007, moving to Missouri and accepting an opportunity to work with Sam Butcher at Precious Moments in Carthage. She has been published in more than 20 books and has created more than 1000 works of art for magazines, individuals and computer games.

One of the amazing services that Cher offers is to take a life story and turn it into a fairy tale. Using a photograph, she creates a magical picture, featuring the person or persons in the photo. Information can be found on her website. I’ve provided a link at the end of this post. What a great gift or cherished memento these one of a kind creations would be.

Once again, I appreciate that the Post Memorial Art Reference Library displays the work of talented local artists each month. This has been an unexpected benefit of doing firsts this year. I have loved getting acquainted with these artists through the exhibits. Today, I smiled and felt joy as I viewed Cher’s art work. Her wish certainly was true for me…I was uplifted.


Pictures are photos of Cher’s artwork displayed at the exhibit. To view her work and see prints available for sale, go to:


Day 141: After the Storm: Joplin’s Lost Heritage


This week being the anniversary of Joplin’s 2011 tornado, there have been several memorial and storm related events offered. Today’s first, After the Storm: Joplin’s Lost Heritage, a presentation offered at the Post Memorial Art Reference Library, highlighted an aspect of loss, as a result of the tornado, that I had not thought about before.

Created and presented by Leslie Simpson, director of the Post Memorial Art Reference Library, this 15 minute overview of the historic losses within the stricken area of Joplin was informative and very well done. I live and work and shop in the tornado zone. I know firsthand how the neighborhoods have changed. What I didn’t realize is that important pieces of Joplin’s heritage are gone, destroyed in 32 minutes on a Sunday afternoon.

Leslie focused on three sections of Joplin that were devastated, beginning with the Blendville area. Originally a mining community, Blendville was established in 1876, and was west of our current Main Street, extending to Maiden Lane. Thomas Cunningham owned the residential section, which he divided into lots and sold at low prices to miners. Hundreds of affordable shotgun style homes were built in this area so that miners could purchase them. Cunningham Park was named after Thomas, who donated the land to the city, and was the first park in Joplin. It was heavily wooded at the time with gardens and walking trails. St. John’s hospital was located in this area of town, built over abandoned mine shafts. The tornado wiped out most of the Blendville area, including the hospital and a large portion of the medical community.

The next section Leslie talked about included Schifferdecker’s First Addition, a residential area that began to be developed in 1900. Craftsman style homes and bungalows lined the streets of this neighborhood. The Joplin Globe referred to the area lying south of 20th Street and including Wall, Joplin, and Main Streets as “a beautiful new addition affording the most desirable building property” to be found anywhere in the city. Most of these homes were destroyed or heavily damaged in the storm. Included in this district, and taken out by the tornado, was Irving Elementary School, which has been rebuilt on Maiden Lane.  St. Mary’s Catholic Church was destroyed as well, except for the exterior cross that remained standing after the storm, becoming an icon of hope. The cross remains still.


Schifferdecker’s Second Addition, which lies south of 20th Street and includes Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky Avenues, was in the second section as well. As the city progressed eastward, in the early 1900’s through the 1930’s, the houses became a mix of Victorians, Colonial Revivals, Tudors and the ever present bungalows. Further east, in the third area shown in the presentation, development progressed from the 1940’s – 70’s. This section covered Grand Avenue to Range Line, and encompassed the Eastmoreland area. The dominant housing style was the ranch house. Churches sprang up in this area in the 60’s, and early commercial development began with the Bel-Aire Shopping Center on the corner of 20th and Range Line.

Several large homes existed in this area, including James Campbell’s estate, which included riding stables and a lake. Dillion’s Grocery Store stood on the spot the lake once occupied. The store is gone, now, along with this section with its eclectic mix of homes. The churches have been rebuilt. Bel-Aire, which was completely destroyed, just recently completed construction on a new center.

Leslie showed a before picture of Kentucky Avenue, lined with trees and houses. All those trees were obliterated as well. This is my neighborhood. These are the streets my children rode their bikes on. I walked my dog past those houses that no longer exist. Rebuilding has flourished in all three of these sections, with new houses and businesses continuing to appear. What I had not considered before today was that with the destruction of these homes and business buildings, historical structures were lost, and will not be recovered. The recently constructed houses look great. Yet they are new. The charm, the character, the architecture are gone, reduced with the structures to rubble, and hauled away.

Thankfully, even as new stories are being told, the old stories remain. And Leslie Simpson had the compassion and ability to capture for us this flow of history that was once evident as one traveled from west Joplin, eastward. I am grateful.

Day 114: April Exhibit at Post Memorial Art Reference Library


Today’s intermittent thunderstorms brought rain, wind, cooler temps and a change in plans for my first today. I’ll save purchasing new varieties of herbs for a sunny day! After waiting for a break in the weather most of the day, I finally dashed to the library to view the April art exhibit.

This month the exhibit features the work of Fred and Amber Mintert. Both are art educators in area schools and active artists, locally. Amber’s work focuses on watercolors. The paintings on display showed her talent and her whimsy. She had paintings of birds, a lazy cat, and enigmatic interior scenes that featured treas. Because my symbol for this year is the bird, free from its cage, I was interested in seeing her watercolors. These are really what I would call bird portraits, showing only the upper portion of the bird, and two of the paintings captured the whimsical aspect. “Florence” held a blue and white handkerchief delicately in her beak, while “Claude” stoically puffed on a pipe. I couldn’t help but smile. There are several other bird paintings on Amber’s website that I am very interested in and a lovely, playful print that I adore called “Moonlit Dance”.


In the next room I enjoyed the cat watercolor. Because of my rescue efforts recently of an abandoned mama cat and her TWO litters of kittens, my family teases me about becoming the crazy cat lady. That’s NOT going to happen. The mother cat and her two baby boys will be going to new forever homes soon, I hope. So I could appreciate this painting…a cat I don’t have to feed or care for! Her coloring and face reminded more of my daughter Adriel’s cat, Beaker, who sadly passed away last year at an old age.

And lastly, I smiled as I examined Amber’s more intriguing works, interior scenes with trees. These were not potted Ficus Trees, but a fruit tree growing out of the floor and a bare branch overshadowing a bed. Wonderfully interesting! I love trees and have an affinity for them, no matter where they take root. I’d like to know the story behind these paintings!


Fred draws on his Mexican ancestry to create woodcut prints. His “Day of the Dead” images are considered autobiographical, capturing different moments in his life. On display were prints representing him as a father, a gardener and in other roles. I loved the earthy colors. What a unique and creative combination of art and heritage!

I enjoyed viewing the paintings and woodcut prints. And I appreciate this oft overlooked section of the library, which exhibits local artists’ work each month. I look forward to May’s exhibit!

You can view more of Amber and Fred’s work here: