Design Competition for Cunningham Park Mural

June 27, 2012
University Relations & Marketing
JOPLIN, MO (SNS) – The design that wins a contest sponsored by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce will become a part of the fabric of rebuilt Joplin.
The winning design will provide the image for a tile mural that will encompass the entire back wall of the pool house at Joplin’s Cunningham Park.
The contest began with graphic art students at Missouri Southern State University being asked to submit designs for the mural.
Chamber representatives then narrowed the submissions down to three.  The finalists are Sarah Hall, Eldorado Springs, Emma Gustavsson, Joplin, and Debrah Schmidt, Monett.
This Friday, June 29, following a 10 a.m. news conference in Cunningham Park, the three designs will be placed on Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce website and the Chamber’s Facebook site.
Chamber members then will vote on the best design.
The three are students of Devon Estes, assistant professor of art at MSSU.
“This is something very meaningful to these students,” Estes says. “It’s not often the opportunity comes along to have a design concept result in something that could be seen by so many people.”
Chamber member Becky Brill, grant coordinator for the Joplin City Manager’s office and chairperson for the Cultural Affairs Committee for the city, says art is only one goal of the project.
The other goal is to link Missouri Southern students to the community.
“We realized our mission is to help prepare the next generation,” Brill comments. “A lot of local students do very well and then leave the city. We wanted to help the winner and others see how a design actually becomes a product.”
Brill says the project can only be accomplished with the assistance of Images in Tiles, LLC, an international company based in Joplin.
Images in Tile owner Paul Whitehill says he wanted to get involved for a number of reasons:
“This is a public art project and I am a firm believer in public art,” he says. “It is a way to commemorate an occasion, mark a historic event, basically for generations to see what our community was doing at the time.”

“We’ve been involved in these types of things all across the nation, he adds.
“So, being involved in a public art project right here in Joplin is important to us.”
Images in Tile has mastered the technology to create rich images in hotels, corporate offices, themed restaurants, sports complexes and other businesses and home designs.
Whitehill says he is impressed with the synergy of mixing public art, the opportunity to work with MSSU in a local park for the overall benefit of the Joplin community.
The company, a primary manufacturer of specialized tile murals, provides architects and designers the ability to design and create tile murals not available in the traditional marketplace. The company utilizes the latest evolution in dye-sublimation inks, coupled with digital technology to achieve excellence in its custom tile and stone murals.
Tiles made by Whitehill’s company are baked in kilns at superheated temperatures to keep them from fading in the sun. Whitehill says the Ultra-Violet (UV) light stable project  in  Joplin will last many decades.
The equipment and its use will be paid for by a grant from monies donated to the “Joplin Tomorrow Fund” which was established after the Joplin tornado.
Brill says the “ghosting image” will overlay photographs to be submitted by citizens.  Completion of the project could take several months.
Once done, the mural will become a lasting part of the city of Joplin