Beshore awarded Martin Luther King Drum Major of Service Award - KOAM TV 7

Beshore awarded Martin Luther King Drum Major of Service Award


Connect2Culture is pleased to announce Sharon Beshore, Connect2Culture Chairman, has been awarded the Martin Luther King Drum Major of Service Award by the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Southwest Missouri. A ceremony honoring Beshore was held on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 16, 2017 at the Independent Living Center (2639 East 34th Street, Joplin, MO).

This distinguished award goes to volunteers who perform extraordinary everyday acts of service with reliability and commitment, but who seldom receive recognition.

Jo Mueller, past executive director of Spiva Center for the Arts, introduced Sharon as “an extraordinary woman with an extraordinary drive to engage in causes that have a positive, lasting impact. She is that rare volunteer who follows instinct and passion, always working toward a better future for her community, her state, and its citizens. Watching her, we can’t help but realize that it’s true: one person can make a very big difference. Her diligence, integrity, vision and passion inspire people, and without saying a word, remind us that we, if we choose, can make a difference too.”

Sharon is best known locally and across the state as an arts activist. Ten years ago she received the statewide Arts Advocacy Award from Missouri Citizens for the Arts. In 2008 she was a nominee for First Lady Melanie Blunt’s First Lady Awards and that same year was named one of the Joplin Tri-State Business Journal’s Most Influential Women. In 2013 she received the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Arty Award for contributions to the arts. In the next few months, Sharon will be recognized by Kansas City’s Business Magazine, Ingram’s, as one of 50 Missourians You Should Know, Class of 2017.

Sharon’s ongoing arts and community volunteer service includes:

  • Executive Board of the Missouri Arts Council and Cultural Trust, 12 yrs, two as chair;
  • Missouri Citizens for the Arts Board, 13 yrs; Advisory Council since 2016;
  • Spiva Center for the Arts Board 17 yrs (1997-2014); Spiva Center Endowment Trustee 10 yrs;
  • More than 30 yrs involvement with Friends of St. Avips, Spiva’s sister organization;
  • Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Cultural Affairs Committee 9 yrs, 3 as co-chair;
  • Co-chair for the first Art in Public Places Project in 2010, organizing and fundraising for the Route 66, Joplin, MO mural by Anthony Benton Gude, now hanging in City Hall near Joplin at the Turn of the Century painted by his grandfather, Thomas Hart Benton;
  • Project Manager for two additional Art in Public Places Projects, neighborhood and community based murals ­– East Town’s Belonging to All the Hands Who Build, 2016 and The Butterfly Effect: Dreams Take Flight, 2011;
  • Membership on the Philanthropy Committee for Freeman Health System 9yrs;
  • Autism Advocacy Committee for the Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism 10 yrs;
  • Led the effort for successful recognition of Joplin as the 2012 Creative Community by Missouri Arts Council;
  • Board & Executive Committee of Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion 7 yrs;
  • Stephens College Board, 2012-15;
  • Kansas City’s Mid-America Arts Alliance Board and Advisory Board 2008-2010;
  • Boards of Lafayette House (3 yrs), Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School (11 yrs), and the Missouri International Piano Competition (4 yrs).

“We think that Sharon’s years of service to the arts in Joplin and other charitable organizations makes her a very deserving recipient,” said Shelly Goerz, Director, RSVP of SW MO.

Sharon is a founding member and current Chair of Connect2Culture, the non-profit community arts agency founded in 2009 to “enhance community through culture.” C2C is an umbrella organization that offers support services to local arts organizations and works to provide resources to increase community involvement and audience development for the arts. Currently, C2C leads an initiative supporting development of an Arts & Entertainment Center in downtown Joplin. The formation of C2C and its growth are among Sharon’s proudest accomplishments.

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