Downtown Joplin is getting another splash of color thanks to a new four-panel mural being painted under the Sixth Street viaduct.
Spearheaded by associate professor Burt Bucher, in conjunction with the Downtown Joplin Alliance, the murals showcase three different lions as well as a familiar-looking lantern.
“We’re using Missouri Southern as a platform, but I didn’t want this to be a marketing project,” says Bucher, who has worked on the project along with students. “Each lion will represent a famous alumni or member of the community.
“But this isn’t about painting a pretty picture. It’s about cleaning up the space. The lantern isn’t just an academic symbol, but it’s about bringing light into the darkness – an illuminated, clean space.”
Lauren Weiss, a junior art major, says she’s excited to see the project join the ranks of the city’s other murals.
“I was happy to see the murals coming up all over Joplin after the tornado,” she says. “It’s really helped a lot of places.”
Like Bucher, she sees the new project as having a larger meaning than beyond the lions and lantern as symbols of the university.
“It doesn’t have to be solely related to Missouri Southern,” Weiss says. “The lions can also mean having pride in your town.”