Visiting the complex
The complex is located in the heart of Joplin’s downtown district, complete with historic buildings reminiscent of a vintage postcard.
The modern, three-story Cornell Complex — with large panes of glass to let natural light in during the day and radiate light out at night — appears a beacon.
The facility’s state-of-the-art Beshore Performance Hall is one of its defining spaces. With tiered seating for 435 attendees that also can be converted to a flat-floor configuration, its state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems are acoustically designed to support performances with or without amplification. The multifunctional stage also links both the indoor seating and an outdoor amphitheater with room for 1,500.
In its role as the Joplin community’s performing arts presenter, Connect2Culture will present more than 16 performances for the inaugural season at the Cornell Complex. The 2022–23 season features a variety of performances, including: Christmas with the Annie Moses Band, an ensemble of Juilliard-trained siblings; Call of the Wild: Illustrated Edition, the classic children’s book brought to life on stage; Second City Swipes Right: An Incomplete Guide to the Ultimate Date Night, performed by the popular improv troupe; and Jessica Vosk, a singer and actress who is well known as Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway.
“We get significant underwriting so we can lower the ticket price to our performances and make them accessible and affordable,” Beshore says.
Spiva has many exhibitions scheduled for its four galleries at the Cornell Complex, including an exhibition of 91 lithographs by Thomas Hart Benton opening March 4. PhotoSpiva, the longest-running photographic competition of its kind in the United States, opens March 18.
Adaptability is key in many spaces of the complex to make it an effective setting for a wide range of arts events, as well as receptions, trade shows, galas and other special community gatherings. The facility also is filled with outdoor terraces and classrooms, offices, shared spaces, and galleries.
“The Cornell Complex is designed to accommodate just about any type of performance or exhibit,” Wert says.
By Kaitlyn McConnell, writer in residence for the Community Foundation of the Ozarks