JOPLIN, Mo. — There are three new reasons to visit a popular four state park.
Three new bronze statues have been added to Rotary Sculpture Garden in Joplin’s Mercy Park. Sculpture Board Chairman Bob Headlee says COVID-19 has caused the project to be about a year and a half behind schedule, but as far as the new additions, he says better late than never.
“So we’re getting back on track now, we’ll start working next on finding additional donors for new sculptures, so what you’ll continue seeing is every year is new sculptures as you come out to the park and enjoy not only the park but Rotary Sculpture Gardens sculptures,” said Bob Headlee, Rotary Sculpture Board Chair.
But there’s more to setting the objects in place than you might expect.
“Most of the sculptures all have an anchor which is a nut welded into the sculpture, we put a piece of all thread into, we mark the holes, drill them, then fill them with high strength epoxy to anchor them permanently into the ground,” said Dave DeDecker, Sculpture Services of Colorado.
There are now 15 sculptures in Mercy Park, ranging in price from $15,000 to $150,000. And Patrick Tuttle says the bronze statues are adding to the community’s growing public art reputation.
“Yeah, it a draw, the arts are really an impact, people have additional things to do while they’re in town and that’s kind of one of the things we look at is to not just get people to Joplin but get them here to stay longer uh come back more often and come back more frequently,” said Patrick Tuttle, Dir., Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The additions include “Wishing on a Star,” “Joyful Empowerment” and “Bridge of Brotherhood” which was donated by Lance and Sharon Beshore, which features boys of three different ethnicities.
“And the boys are building the bridge together and the children can identify with the children in the sculpture, so that’s real important, it’s thrilling to see it in the setting of the Rotary Sculpture Garden, it looks even better than I expected,” said Sharon Beshore, Donated Sculpture.
If you’d like to learn more about sponsoring a sculpture in Mercy Park in the future, click here.