Connect2Culture’s Cornell Complex update & Curtain’s Up series lineup

Interview was edited for clarity and broadcast on October 6, 2021

FRED FLETCHER-FIERRO (HOST) : It’s Morning Edition on KRPS; I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro. On Tuesday morning I spoke with the Director of Joplin’s arts and entertainment non-profit Connect 2 Culture, Emily Frankoski. I first asked about the progress of the Cornell Complex being constructed in downtown Joplin that broke ground in February.

Radio edited interview with Emily
Web edited interview with Emily

EMILY FRANKOSKI (GUEST) : That is so crazy that you bring that up, it seems like a long time ago, but that was just February that we were breaking ground and clearing the parking lot, breaking up pavement and creating this amazing facility for Joplin. Crosslines Construction has been moving quickly.

The walls are going up right now so it’s really taking shape. We’re about 40% completed with construction. Still set to open in late 2022. We’ve recently been able to go inside and tour the facility and get that feeling of what it’s going to be like to have this amazing facility for Joplin and it’s just, the best word to describe it is just magical. It’s going to open so many doors and bring so many opportunities to Joplin.

For me, obviously we’re so excited because this will be our home theater and the Beshore Performance Hall, and also within that amphitheater performance space, and the Leggett and Platt Green. The amount of things that we’re going to be able to bring it’s just super exciting. Though we love to utilize many of the different venues like this season we’re going to have four different venues that we’re going to have performances. It will be nice and be easier to program in one or two spaces instead of all over town.

FRED : Last week, your Connect2Culture announced the 2021-2022 Curtains Up series lineup. Five performances at four different revenues, starting on Saturday November 20 with Schoolhouse Rock Live at Joplin High Schools Performing Arts Center. The series has something for everybody.

EMILY : We’re really excited about this series. Obviously, we’ve been taking a break due to the pandemic and we’ve had many, many different outdoor performances in the meantime. I’m really proud of this series, we have a lot of variety. Things we’ve never done before. We’ve never had a children’s theater production with Schoolhouse Rock Live kicking us off. We’re super excited about that because we’ve always had the intention of specific children’s programming. And this Schoolhouse Rock Live is going to please parents that grew up watching the show.

And we have the Dallas String Quartet having an electric Christmas. They do a variety of holiday performance show songs with both traditional and electric string instruments. They actually just performed Gwen Steffani and Blake Shelton’s wedding, of all things.

And then, we’re bringing back the Ten Tenors, which were really popular when we had them before and they sold out. They are going to love songs,

Charles McPherson who is just a jazz great and actually a native of Joplin and moved away. Grew up in Detroit and now lives in California. We’re bringing him back with a bunch of different organizations, we’re all working together to have his homecoming.

And then, Las Cafetaras will close us out in April of next year, which is a group that we’ve been trying to have for what seems like three years now because of the pandemic. But they fuse English and Spanish, just a cool mixture of sound that we’re really excited about.

Below is transcription of the extended length web only interview.

FRED : October is National Arts and Humanities Month and I asked Emily to highlight a couple events either already taking place, or coming up later this month in Southwest Missouri.

EMILY : There is a ton going on, even with just that first weekend. We had the porchfest going on in the North Heights Neighborhood. But a couple that are going on soon, is the 74th I believe membership show for the Spiva Center for the Arts.

This is just a really prestigious show that they have and all of their member artists participate and have their art showing and some for sale. There’s a Plein Art Paint Out I know going on over at the Wildcat Glades. Visual artists will be plein air painting, which just mean they’ll be painting outside, and you get to watch them and that’s coming up in October.

There’s also the Missouri Bicentennial Quilt that is dropping by Joplin, so you can see that. Part of the Bicentennial Celebrations for the entire state. And I know that the is historic ghost tours and different things like that in downtown Joplin, so take a look at and take a look at all of the October events.

Like you said, October is National Arts and Humanities month and we just ramp up promoting arts and culture and starting a relationship with arts and culture because it adds so much to your life. And we hope that people really take advantage of our calendar and pick out a few things to do, bring some friends and family and experience something new.

FRED : Emily Frankoski is Director of Joplin’s Connect 2 Culture. I spoke with her on Tuesday morning. To hear that interview again or for more information about her organization visit


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