By Ann Leach • Photos by Mandy Edmonson 

George A. Spiva Center for the Arts Interim Director Susan Adams is already on her way to achieving her 2022 Spiva goals. The first will be reached by year-end when Spiva takes up residence in its new home at the Harry M. Cornell Arts and Entertainment Center. 

Her second goal is to welcome a new executive director to help guide the next years of Spiva’s growth and economic impact.

“We’re in the search process now,” Adams said. “The successful candidate will be a forward-thinking, dynamic individual to lead the art center into the future.” Applications for the position are welcome, and interested candidates can visit to learn more about the duties.

And it’s the future that has Spiva staff members and volunteers excited when it comes to the organization’s big-picture planning.

“I see The Cornell as a real opportunity to strengthen the synergy between the artforms in this area and to reinvigorate our downtown,” said Spiva Administrator Jade Henning-Cantrell. “With one special hub for the arts to reside, we’ll be able to reach more people and hopefully inspire them to create in their own way.”

That’s been a standard operating procedure for Spiva since its founding in 1948: support amateur and professional artists in their creative endeavors however they express them. Spiva education director, Sara Clements, said, “You don’t need to worry about how ‘artsy’ you are or wonder if you fit into a certain demographic. Spiva loves and welcomes everyone, whether you come in a suit and tie or a green mohawk; whether you’ve been an artist for years or have never picked up a paintbrush.”

New staff member and bookkeeper Ali Carlton has been amazed to learn about the varied class offerings for all ages and said, “I also love that they showcase local artists; it is amazing the amount of talent we have in the area.”

Planning those exhibits that showcase local talent as well as nationally known artists is Exhibits Director Shaun Conroy, and he’s eager for more high-profile exhibits to come to the area. “The move to the Cornell Complex will bring that and more space for storage and our permanent collection, which has been growing faster than we can keep up with,” he said. Conroy is also hoping that having a performance space in the same building will create some synergy and new opportunities that are simply not in Spiva’s grasp in the current location. 

Henning-Cantwell said, “Spiva is a haven for creatives, lovers of art and those who want to try their hand at something new. The fact that it has been a part of our community for so long is a testament to what I know to be true: People need to feel connected by art.”

To learn more about Spiva’s offerings, visit To read about Spiva’s soon-to-be-new home, visit 

As Adams reviewed the calendar of current Spiva offerings while managing the long list of details for the move to The Cornell Complex, she said, “We look forward to partnering with Connect2Culture and other area arts-based organizations on inside/outside coordinated events on the beautiful grounds of our new home.”

The staff and volunteers are just as eager to celebrate the creative experience in their current home at 3rd and Wall streets as they look just a few blocks away to their new location. 

Conroy concluded, “It’s going to be an exciting future, and I believe something very positive for the community and its future growth.”

Upcoming events

PhotoSpiva 2022

Main Gallery

March 19-May 14, 2022

Reception: March 18, 5:30-7:30 pm

Celebrating its 46th year, PhotoSpiva 2022 delivers an exhibit of photographic excellence from artists across the country. Jurors Erin and Eric Dodson made a careful selection of work from a competition that spanned all 50 states. Every year, this competition is open to all US photographers and any type of photographic process, from traditional to digital to photo-based mixed media.

Associated events:

Juror Portfolio Reviews

March 19 | 10 am-3 pm

Juror’s Lecture and Awards Ceremony

March 19 | 7 pm

2022 Jo Mueller Small Works Auction

Regional Gallery

March 19-May 13, 2022

Good things do come in small packages. At Spiva Center for the Arts, those small packages will measure 12”x12”, 9”x12” or 6”x6” during the 24th annual Small Works Auction. Over 70 Spiva member artists donate to the auction works they created, from jewelry to collage. The exhibit is a great way to raise money to fund Spiva operations and to offer exposure for the participating artists.

PhotoSpiva Kids and Tweens

Upstairs Gallery

March 2022

Students will learn all about photography as an art form, from design principals, composition, lighting and more. Cameras are provided to the students to take home to create their own photographic art, some of which will be on display in Spiva’s Upstairs Gallery in March.