The Spiva Center for the Arts‘ family is joined in sorrow at the passing of former Executive Director, Mary Jo Mueller. Jo (as we knew her) led Spiva for more than 12 years, before her retirement in September of 2015. During that time, she expanded Spiva’s membership base, community outreach programming, and educational classes, as well as presented diverse exhibits, from Motorcycles as Art to Norman
Rockwell: 323 Saturday Evening Post Covers. Jo was instrumental in growing Spiva to include a Regional Gallery and Gift Shop. Despite the loss of her own home in the 2011 tornado, Jo responded quickly with such healing and timely projects as Dear World: From Joplin with Love, Photos from the Storm, and Rebuilding with heART.

Among other significant recognitions, Jo was the recipient of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Arty Award and the Missouri Arts Council Leadership in the Arts Award in 2016. She served on many not-for-profit boards of directors, including Connect2Culture and Joplin Public Library. Jo was an accomplished artist, remaining an active member of Spiva Center for the Arts after her retirement, not only exhibiting
her work, but in providing limitless support to the subsequent directors and staff.

Jo will be lovingly remembered for her beautiful smile and laugh, her grace, and her abounding love for sharing the arts. She enriched the lives of our community and of all of us who were lucky enough to have known her.