By Kathleen Swift

Collaboration is defined as the action of working with someone to produce or create something. It sounds so simple, yet when the collaboration involves the soul and spirit of friendship, and the deep sympathies of two hearts for art, the products become more than just something produced.

artCentral in Carthage, Missouri, brings together the work of Lori Marble and the late Jo Mueller in the exhibit “p-i-e-c-e-d TOGETHER” from October 1 through December 4, 2021. The exhibit, underwritten by Old Missouri Bank and with special support by Sharon and Lance Beshore, represents 10 months of work in a mixed-media conversation. Alice Lynn Greenwood-Mathé, director at artCentral, describes the process as “two best friends doing what they love best. They created together.”

“We had been close friends for years,” said Marble. “Our conversations and day trips often centered around art and literature. There was a weekly email showcasing new artists we would discuss. We visited local art centers, museums and studios of various artists. Birthdays were very special. We would create gifts for each other – accordion sketchbooks of paintings from me, a drawstring jewelry pouch from Jo. Creativity and the love of language and authors was integral to who we were as friends.

“When Alice Lynn asked me to consider participating in this year’s ‘Two Friends’ exhibit at artCentral, I knew instantly it was Jo that I wanted to join in the work. The concept of pieced together was a natural extension of how we communicated – finding colors and shapes and literature to inspire a month’s worth of creation. Had we been able to see it to fruition together, I think we both imaged each month’s effort being worked collaboratively as well as revealed to each other at the end of each 30-day cycle, simultaneously inspiring and surprising each other.

“For this installation, I focused on mixed media: Stablio all pencil, acrylic paint, Posca pen, a sprinkling of pastel and a few recycled pages from vintage books. Jo could do just about anything. In the ‘p-i-e-c-e-d TOGETHER’ exhibit, you’ll see examples of her incredible talent in pottery, wire working, watercolor, colored pencil, Zentangle®, pen and ink, jewelry making, paper weaving, and sewing.

“This show is personally impactful on a number of levels: first, by the time the exhibit closes, it will represent a solid year of creative focus. Second, it will culminate in this beautifully large and enjoyable extension of our friendship. Before she passed on, Jo curated each month’s color triad, repeating shape/pattern and inspirational quote. Third, I’m ready to experience the exhibit, and its central tribute to Jo, through the eyes of others. I feel as if I’ve been keeping a secret I’m finally ready to share,” said Marble.

During the same time as the “p-i-e-c-e-d TOGETHER” exhibit, artCentral will hold its SMALL WORKS|GREAT WONDERS Silent Auction. The auction consists of 40-plus 5×7 canvas works created by local artists donated to support artCentral. All images are posted on the website www.artcentral.org and on Facebook @ArtCentralCarthage for viewing and bidding. Greenwood-Mathé remarked, “These are original art works that are priced to be pocket friendly for holiday gift giving.”

In addition, artCentral is making available a limited edition of Scarlet Amaryllis from Amsterdam cultivated to bloom for the holidays. To order your amaryllis before they sell out, call 417.358.4404 or email artcentral@artcentral.org.

Be sure to make “p-i-e-c-e-d TOGETHER” and “SMALL WORKS|GREAT WONDERS” a part of your holiday experience.