Groundbreaking for future Joplin arts complex

JOPLIN, Mo. – Organizers break ground for the Harry M. Cornell Arts and Entertainment Complex. It will be built in front of Joplin’s Memorial Hall and will house Connect2Culture and Spiva Center for the Arts.

It will feature a 470-seat theatre and an outdoor amphitheater with a 2,000 person capacity.

Full Release from Connect2Culture:

Joplin, Missouri – A groundbreaking ceremony for the Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex was held Monday, February 1, 2021, 1:00pm at the Complex site (212 West 7th Street, Joplin, MO 64801).

Representatives of The Cornell Complex, Connect2Culture, and Spiva Center for the Arts were on hand, as well as project architects and the construction manager. See attachment for shovel holders names and titles.

Architects for the project are DLR Group/Westlake Reed Leskosky of New York City, NY, and Corner Greer & Associates of Joplin, MO. The Construction Manager for the project is Crossland Construction Company headquartered in Columbus, KS.

In addition to the groundbreaking, a new matching gift challenge for new donors was announced. Several anonymous donors have joined forces to provide a dollar-for-dollar match up to a maximum amount of $150,000. Specifics are as follows:

  • Donor must be a completely new contributor to The Cornell Complex.
  • Commitment must be communicated before June 30, 2021.
  • Commitment must fall within the range of $2,500 to $12,500 to qualify for matching funds. Gifts of this size will then result in recognitions from $5,000 to $25,000. Donors will be recognized on the Donor Wall and may be eligible to reserve a specific naming opportunity within the Complex on a first come, first served basis.
  • Commitment must be completed in full by December 31, 2022.

To date, a total of 277 individuals, businesses, foundations, and community organizations have committed $16,367,545 – over 93% of the expanded $17.5 million goal.

The Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex will be a visual and performing arts center that educates, enlightens, and entertains while attracting more people and activities to downtown Joplin. The multifunctional Complex will include a 470-seat highly adaptable performance hall with theatrical seating that can be converted into a flat floor configuration, a shared stage for both indoor and outdoor performances, new and expanded gallery spaces for Spiva Center for the Arts, an outdoor amphitheater/festival plaza with capacity to host 2,000 people, rooftop venues, potential office space for arts and cultural organizations, and more. Connect2Culture will manage all performance venues, while Spiva Center for the Arts will manage gallery and classroom spaces. It is anticipated that the Complex will be open to the public in late 2022.

Full details about the Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, including a downloadable Gift Form for those who would like to join the effort and available naming opportunities, can be found at Interested parties may also contact Clifford Wert, Treasurer of The Cornell Complex, at

Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex Board of Directors: Sharon Beshore (President), Clifford Wert (Treasurer), Annette Thurston (Secretary), Anne Curchin, Laurie Delano, Steve Graddy, Troy Hill, Dr. Ronald Lankford, and Angela Austin Vorhees.

Matching Gift Challenge for New Donors Webpage: