JPL’s Post Art Library celebrates local history and artists

FRED (HOST) : It’s Morning Edition on KRPS, I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro. On Monday I spoke with Jill Sullivan, Director of the Post Art Library at the Joplin Public Library. To wind down 2021, Post Art Library is holding three special events, including one this Saturday at 10:30 am. They’ll be hosting Southwest Missouri native and artist Luke Blevins for an artist talk. I first asked Jill to tell us a little bit about the Post Art Library.

JILL (GUEST) : Yes, I’d be happy to. So we are the Post Art Library and we’re named as such because our benefactors or Dr. And Mrs. Post. Winfred, and his wife, Elizabeth, they established the Post foundation back in the seventies. And so when they both passed in 1981 the Post Art Library opened inside of Joplin public library. We’re actually privately funded 501 C3 not-for-profit. That is a completely separate organization than the public library.

FRED : Jill worked part-time for both the Joplin and Post Art Library when she was in college, upon graduating she stayed. In the 40-year history of the Post Art Library, Jill is only the 3rd Director. She credits the Post Art’s second Director for helping shape what the library is today.

JILL : So when it was established in 1981, there was a director who was here not very long, maybe a year, she helped get it started. And then the second director, Leslie Simpson, she was actually the Director until I became the director in 2015. So I’m only the third director with the organization and it’s one of those forever type jobs. And so when Leslie was here, she really took it in the direction that it is today. As far as history, local history and historic preservation, and building up the local history files.

FRED : Stylistically, there is a clear separation between the rest of the public library and the Post Art Library. If you’ve never stopped in the Post Art Library, it’s part reading room, part local history library that includes a fireplace and two sculptures by a local artist.

JILL : The two sculptures we have in the post reading room. I really like those. There by a local artist named M. Justin Hale. And his work is just beautiful. It’s very anatomical. He creates the pieces in a way to where you can actually touch them and feel how smooth they are. And I just, I think they’re wonderful. And they’ve been here since we opened, so they’re kind of a semi-permanent exhibit we have in our reading room.

FRED : There is much more than books and magazines at both libraries. On a regular basis there are art displays by local artists. Some of the displays are silly, like the recent exhibit by Connie Miller titled ‘C is for Color’ this summer. This fall, the JPL has also hosted a statewide exhibit celebrating Missouri’s Bi-cenntial. And currently on view until the end of the year at Joplin Public Library’s Bramlage and Willcoxon Foundation Gallery is Luke Blevins exhibit titled, Queer Space. Jill says Luke’s exhibit uses a variety of different art forms.

JILL : Yes, his name is Luke Blevins. He’s a local artist. And right now he has an exhibit entitled Queer Space in our main gallery. And it has a couple of paintings and then some digital photography as part of that exhibit. And so he’ll be doing his talk, a presentation about that work on Saturday.

FRED : Luke is a Southwest Missouri native. He studied art at Missouri Southern before earning his Master of Arts at the University of Missouri Kansas City. He teaches at Crowder College in the evenings and works in Admissions at Southern. Jill says this is one of just a handful of events at Post Art Library as the end of 2021 nears.

JILL : We have on December 4th, Saturday, December 4th, the Post Art Library Tea. It’s an annual event that we do to honor Dr. and Mrs. Post, because they loved Christmas time and they love to do stuff like that in their home for the community. And so we, this year partnered with Pro Musica and Joplin public library, and we will have the Opus 76 quartet here.

And it’s a little different this year. We’ll do at 10:00 AM A Bach-a-Bye Baby performance that will be geared toward babies. And then later on that afternoon at 2:00 PM, we’ll have an all ages performance by the quartet. And at the end of that, we will have take home holiday tea kits for people to take home with.

FRED : Jill Sullivan with the Post Art Library speaking about upcoming events. Including an artist talk with Luke Blevins this Saturday at 10:30 am. And on Saturday December 4, the Post Art Library Tea with two performances by Opus 76. For 89 9 KRPS, I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro

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