The Spiva 3rd Grade Dog

Each February 1000 third grade students from Joplin area schools visit Spiva Center for the Arts. It is often a student's first time to an art gallery of any kind. They are welcomed by staff and area art teachers, introduced to the show in the Main Gallery, work on a Gallery Activity that encourages them to interact with the art through math, writing, and vocabulary, and last but not least head upstairs to make art based on the show. One is a take-home project, and one is a large-scale collaborative project assembled in the "Secret Room". This year, I worked with Joplin-based artist Jorge Leyva to construct three large animals based on the art of Linda Mitchell. Jorge welded a dog, a rhino, and an elephant. I recruited some volunteers to help wrap the armatures in chicken wire. Many more volunteers cut clothes and blankets into strips that nine-year old hands could then weave into the animal. Today, the dog is on display outside the Joplin Public Library (pictured), the rhino is in the lobby at Spiva, and the elephant is in city hall. It was a fabulous community art experience for all.


  1. What a great project to involve children in a creative process and to help instill in them a love for the arts. Bravo! It also allows them the ownership of the piece that they can proudly show off to family and friends. "See that, I did that." I love this dog and can't wait to see the other animals


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