From NPR News Hour, full story HERE.
One year ago on May 22, 2011, a massive tornado with 200 mph winds devastated the city of Joplin, Mo., killing 161 people and destroying 8,000 buildings, including many homes.
On Tuesday’s NewsHour, we reported on the recovery in the city of 50,000: “Three million cubic yards of debris have been hauled away. Damaged homes have been torn down, leaving empty foundations. Others have been rebuilt, but at a cost. The storm caused $2.8 billion in damage, the costliest tornado since 1950.” That is just some of the physical recovery. The emotional recovery, of course, is not as easy to sum up.
Last year, we reported on how art has helped with that effort: a mural created by Dave Loewenstein and the Mid-America Arts Alliance depicting life in Joplin both before and after the storm and an exhibit at the Spiva Center for the Arts showing works created in response to the storm.
Marking the one year anniversary of the tornado, a new exhibit, “Dear World, From Joplin With Love,” opened Saturday at the Spiva Center for the Arts. Art Beat exchanged emails with executive director Jo Mueller and public relations coordinator Lori Marble about the exhibit.
“Dear World, From Joplin With Love” opened this past Saturday, just days before the one-year anniversary of the EF-5 tornado. This is a powerful collection of portraits and messages. On one hand it’s a platform for participants and viewers to see how far we’ve come as a community, but most importantly it’s a means of sharing Joplin’s messages; messages of resilience, hope, love, gratitude, survival and just the most amazing grace under pressure.
Robert Fogarty and his team came to Joplin during the first week of April 2012 and photographed over a hundred individuals and groups for the Joplin portraits. Spiva printed 50 of these for display and created four oversize banners for the exterior of the building. A video monitor in the lobby plays a loop of images from the portrait sessions. These images are not included in the exhibit, but they are just as powerful as those in the gallery and very representative of the heartfelt messages from Joplin.