Art in Springfield: Free and Fantastic!

Dated: June 21 2022

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Art in Springfield: Free and Fantastic!

Photo provided courtesy of Springfield CVB

Beauty is in the mind of the beholder. And if your mind is open, you’ll find beauty—or something thought-provoking, anyway—nearly everywhere you look in Springfield, Missouri.

There’s not enough space here to detail everything in the Queen City worth noting, but let’s explore a couple of artistic jewels, shall we?

Oh, and much of the art around us won’t cost us a dime to see.

The Springfield Art Museum

Photo provided courtesy of Joy Robertson

First off, let’s explore the museum that started back in 1926 as a women’s art study group. The local art enthusiasts dreamed of sharing a permanent art collection with residents outside the group, and by 1928 their efforts began to pay off. It was incorporated as the Springfield Art Museum and began hosting traveling collections from New York, St. Louis, and beyond. In 1946 the study club deeded the Springfield Art Museum to the city, and it’s been growing ever since. The museum’s permanent home in Phelps Grove Park has grown to offer hands-on classes, an auditorium, event space, and a constant rotation of art exhibits from across the United States and the world.

And because we just love a good opportunity to name-drop, what does Yoko Ono have in common with the Ozarks? An artistic connection in the form of broken dishes.

Note: If you don’t recognize the name Yoko Ono, please Google and continue when you’re all caught up as to how the Japanese multimedia artist—and widow of Beatle John Lennon—has been influencing the Avant-Garde art scene since the 1960s. 

Yoko Ono: Mend Piece promotes communal mending as an act of healing. It is participatory art that’s hands-on and unusually satisfying. Visitors walk into a room full of shattered dishes and literally do all they can to put some of the pieces back together. They use whatever means necessary to repair the damage… tape, twine, glue, scissors. 

The effort is billed as the ‘power of collective action’ and, frankly, it is darn powerful. It utilizes the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, which embraces the idea that the once-whole pieces were broken but are now repaired. They are perfectly imperfect due to the efforts of someone who took the time to right a wrong. Participants are encouraged to display their efforts on nearby shelves for other visitors to admire and contemplate.

Yoko Ono: Mend Piece is on display now through July 10th at the Springfield Art Museum. For more information on this exhibit and all the other goings-on at the Museum, click here:

Sculpture Walk Springfield

Photo provided courtesy of Sculpture Walk Springfield

On your way to and from the museum, look around you. Not all museums have walls. 

As you traverse downtown, you may have noticed a bronze Humpty Dumpty reading a book. You’d have to work to miss a giant purple cupcake, a stacked trio of melting popsicles, or a larger-than-life cluster of Valentine Candy Hearts. Downtown Springfield has fully embraced Sculpture Walk since it came to town in 2016. It started a few years earlier when two local women visited two very different cities—Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Mexico City, Mexico. Both noticed that their walks through urban areas were made more pleasurable by the presence of large, beautiful, and often whimsical works of art by a series of rotating artisans. The women brought the idea to city leaders, and Sculpture Walk was born. 

In April of 2016, the group installed 13 sculptures in downtown Springfield. Since then, a constantly-rotating collection of larger-than-life installations have stopped downtown dwellers in their tracks for observation, contemplation, and loads of sharable selfies.

2022 brought Sculpture Walk Springfield its largest collection yet, with 41 sculptures. For a current guide, artist information, and printable map, click HERE.

Magnificent Murals

Photo provided courtesy of Springfield CVB

Speaking of Instagrammable art, nothing compares to the Queen City’s collection of vibrant murals. They’re unique, they’re quirky, and they’re as fun to find as they are to share.

Let’s start at 438 East St. Louis Street on the west wall of The Discovery Center. This iconic Springfield mural is huge and is a must-snap for visitors and locals alike.

Artist Susan Sommer is known for her stunning murals of wildlife and sports. A muralist for years for Springfield’s own Bass Pro Shops, Sommer has left her mark all over town, perhaps most notably with her mural depicting wild horses at 4005 South Avenue, on the back wall at Alamo Draft House. You can also find her stunning underwater scene at 615 West College Street. Learn more about her incredible work HERE.

Historic Commercial Street is ripe with mural art, starting with "Coneflower Sunset" by Artist Linda Passeri. You won’t miss it, on the west wall of Footbridge Trading Company, just across from the C-Street City Market pavilion. Further west, look for the “Do Good” mural and take that message to heart. Keep your eyes peeled for several others in and around the historic avenue… we don’t want to spoil any surprises. But for a more definitive guide, click HERE.

Impressive free art opportunities, aren’t they? And remember… If you find yourself Instagramming on a mural hunt, don’t forget to include the hashtag #417StreetArt.

About Murney Associates, Realtors®

No one loves the Ozarks more than Murney Associates. Our real estate agents are here to help you navigate one of the most important decisions you’ll make. We encourage you to look at our market updates which highlight real estate trends in Springfield, MO, and the surrounding area, as well as our rankings in home sales. Thanks to our clients for making Murney Associates, Realtors the number one real estate agency in Southwest Missouri.

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