City of Springfield, Missouri

Funding Received: 2013
Springfield, MO
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
January 7, 2014

Art of Space installation woven from thousands of pieces of wood; photo by Pam RuBert

Early December brought several days of freezing rain and snow that forced the cancellation of Springfield businesses, schools, and the Art of Space opening reception for the installation of “Woven Lignon/Pick Up Stick Pavillion.”


Night lighting creates patterns and shadows throughout the ideaXfactory; photo by Kelly Rosen O’Neal

The rescheduled opening was again hit by winter storms, but many people braved the weather on December, Friday the 13th to explore the curvilinear forms created from thousands of wooden sticks woven together to form igloo-like enclosures. Inspired by Jonathan Brilliant’s coffee stir stick installations, these sticks are on a larger scale, cut on table saws from lumber and assembled by Art of Space volunteers led by architect Gerard Nadeau. Boxes of coffee stir sticks were available within the pavilion to allow visitors the fun of building their own constructions using the same techniques of weaving.


Visitors have fun building their own constructions with stir sticks; photo by Pam RuBert

After the snow melted, construction began outside the ideaXfactory on a sculpture using even larger wood slats. Sculptor Russ RuBert is leading this installation project to prepare for the downtown “First Night Springfield” family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration of the arts. The construction will function as a tunnel leading to the front of the ideaXfactory and the streetscape beyond and required many helping hands to assemble and move sections of the installation.


Ladders create a temporary support during construction; photo by Pam RuBert

Recent Wins
-- After twenty-three years of First Night Springfield! downtown New Year’s Eve celebrations, there was some question whether to continue the tradition due to recent financial troubles for the creator of the concept and franchise-holder, First Night Boston. However Boston’s mayor and many other U.S. cities have vowed to continue the tradition. Locally Springfield found much grassroots arts and sponsorship support for 2014, including from the ideaXfactory.

-- Street improvement work progresses on Mill Street. Old sidewalks on both sides of the street between the ideaXfactory and Missouri State University’s Brick City Department of Art + Design are being removed to make way for new sidewalks and street lighting.

-- Railroad deliveries to downtown lumber yards, commercial and industrial customers are being rescheduled for early mornings or alternative routes. Springfield Public Works have found underground surprises including steam tunnels, old utilities, and coal chutes that complicate the process, but now that MSU classes are over for winter break, construction crews have picked up the pace.


Mister Eclectic, a cute re-sale boutique recently opened in a vacant storefront next to LemonDrop gallery and across the street from the ideaXfactory


On December 19, Springfield City Manager Greg Burris spoke about Peter Kageyama’s book “For the Love of Cities” as part of the “Speaking of the Arts” series at the Creamery Arts Center sponsored by the Springfield Regional Arts Council and Missouri Arts Council. Greg who met Kageyama at a Creative Cities conference, has continued to correspond with the author, and has bought many copies of the book for young leaders in the Springfield community.

The talk was thought provoking and open to dialogue from the audience. Cities need to be more than livable—they need to be loveable. So what makes cities loveable?


Burris asked the audience to measure Springfield in terms of the top three things that Kageyama says make people love their cities:

3. Aesthetics (parks, trails, public art)

2. Social offerings (coffee shops, events, festivals)

1. Openness (tolerance of diversity, opportunity, chance to make a difference)

Greg and members of audience agreed there have been huge changes in Springfield in recent years. Currently the City of Springfield leadership team is compiling a “City Like No Other” list of awards and little-known achievements that make our city special.

However it was agreed that the area where Springfield needs the most work is category 1. Greg said the City of Springfield Field Guide 2030 will be approved in the next few weeks, and unlike the previous Vision 20/20 Strategic Plan which dealt with objects such as parks and parking garages, the Field Guild deals with '"squishy things" such as diversity and early childhood development. He challenged the audience to join him in the talent recruitment business and said the City of Springfield should be the fertilizer for ‘co-creators” to make our city more loveable.  We are indeed fortunate to have this kind of visionary leadership for our city.