Hannibal Selected as Missouri’s 2019 Creative Community
Hannibal, MO – Since 1983, the Missouri Arts Council and the State of Missouri have been honoring our state’s arts heroes—the people who make the arts happen. The annual Missouri Arts Awards celebrate people, organizations, and communities that have made profound and lasting contributions to the cultural and artistic climate of the state. Honorees are selected by an independent panel in six categories: Arts Education, Arts Organization, Creative Community, Individual Artist, Leadership in the Arts, and Philanthropy.
The City of Hannibal was selected as the recipient of the 2019 Missouri Creative Community. Hannibal has long been renowned as the town where Mark Twain grew up, whose people and places inspired his tales of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. In the 1990s, Hannibal also became a magnet for artists. They were drawn to this northeastern city of 18,000 people by its affordability, welcoming atmosphere, the beauty of its Mississippi riverfront setting and Victorian buildings, and the active cultural life spearheaded by the Hannibal Concert Association, Hannibal Art Club, and Hannibal Arts Council.
Anchored by the cultural tourism draw of Twain sites such as the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, Hannibal’s ever-growing array of arts organizations and businesses includes Alliance Art Gallery, Ayers Pottery, AVA Goldworks, Bluff City Theater, Gallery 310, Hannibal History Museum, Mississippi River Gallery, Studio 57 Productions theatre troupe, Hannibal Writers’ Guild and many more.
The calendar of arts-driven festivals and events is year-round and extraordinarily varied—for instance, the Hannibal Folklife Festival, Music Under the Stars outdoor concerts, plein air River Bluffs Paint Out, Brew Skies Music Festival, Second Saturday Gallery Nights, and Big River Steampunk Festival. There are workshops, book signings, lectures, jazz evenings at local restaurants. From the Hannibal Arts Council’s home base on Main Street, the Council produces a raft of gallery exhibits and community arts programs.
As Hannibal celebrates its bicentennial, the arts are contributing $5.09 million to its economy every year. “I am awestruck,” says fiber artist and writer Bella Erakko, “by the explosion of artistic energy in this town.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Hannibal Mayor Jim Hark accepts the 2019 Missouri Creative Community Award on behalf of the City of Hannibal. The 2019 Missouri Arts Awards were presented in a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Also pictured are Barth Fraker of Springfield, Vice Chair of the Missouri Arts Council and Trust Board and Missouri Arts Awards Selection Committee Chair and Sharon Beshore of Joplin, Chair of the Missouri Arts Council and Trust Board. (Photo: Lloyd Grotjan, Full Spectrum Photo)