Category Archives: Community Engagement

L&P Donates Masks to Local Students

Leggett & Platt recently made a donation of 200 medium respirator masks, 725 large respirator masks, and 250 filters to Franklin Technology Center Adult Education and High School students in Joplin, Missouri.

Attending the donation are (from left) Vanessa Gile, Commodity Manager at L&P; Nikki Medley, Effectiveness Coordinator at FTC; Dave Rockers, FTC Director; Joe Flynn, Tech Teacher at FTC; Doug Donnel, Collision Repair Instructor at FTC; and Dustin Riner, Maintenance Supervisor at L&P.

This photo and article were originally published by The Joplin Globe | Roger Nomer.

Community & Culture: Spiva Center for the Arts

Last week, we introduced you to one of the exhibitions currently on display at the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts. L&P has a long history of supporting the arts in our community and are a corporate sponsor of their organization. The show, scheduled to run through March 13th, is a perfect representation of the importance of this philanthropy — educating all of us about the history of the Joplin community, while also highlighting the accomplishments and work of African American artists, musicians, athletes, and poets.

Spiva’s Main Gallery exhibit, Route 66: Crossing Cultural Lines, showcases more than 100 works by some of America’s premier painters, sculptors, textile artists, poets, and photographers. These works highlight the significant role that Route 66 played in cross-pollinating cultures throughout our country.

“The artists are presenting their interpretations of the stories associated with the highway,” says curator Sara Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin. “These experiences include professional baseball, territory bands, jazz musicians, civil rights crusades, military bases, or hopping in that big red truck to search for that perfect place to go camping and fishing. Art is a powerful tool of the truth, and these artists serve as our custodial documenters of our past.”

Fiber artist and designer, Kim Newton, is one of several artists featured in the exhibit. Kim has been recognized as one of the top 100 African Americans in corporate America, having served as Senior Vice President of Consumer Experience of the Hallmark Brand, where she’s enjoyed a 20-plus year career. She’s also been named to the 2017 class of The Henry Crown Fellow by the Aspen Institute and serves as a member of The Executive Leadership Council, The Network of Executive Women, African-American Artist Collective, The Links, Inc. and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Kim Newton is an accomplished Fiber Artist and Designer. She is featured above with two of her textiles – a depiction of Langston Hughes, a Joplin native and poet, novelist, fiction writer, playwright, and Harlem Renaissance pioneer (left); and a depiction of an African American woman using real jewelry as a 3D element of the piece (right).

Kim’s grandmother taught her traditional quilting when she was 22. She evolved to a modern approach to the craft, putting herself and her experiences into the storytelling. Instantly recognized as unique, she had the opportunity to feature her quilts in her first show at 28, and eventually secured her first solo show in May of 2020. She works almost exclusively with Indonesian batik fabric because of their color vibrancy, symbolic meaning, and workmanship. She believes the variation of the fabric brings movement to and enhances the emotion of her pieces.

Click here to take a virtual tour of the Spiva Center for the Arts exhibition.

Community & Culture: Spiva Center for the Arts

This textile by Sara Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin, titled “Outside My Picture Window / Mayfair 33502”, is displayed with a list of the streets of East Town, Joplin. The artwork represents the historic African American community where the artist was raised and nurtured. The exhibition at the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts is open through March 13th.

Anyone who has visited L&P’s Corporate Office has seen the extensive collection of paintings which grace our hallways. Two of our former CEOs, Harry Cornell and Felix Wright, were passionate collectors of fine art. This appreciation led to Leggett & Platt’s long history of supporting the arts within our local community. The current exhibition at the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts is a perfect representation of the importance of this philanthropy — educating all of us about the history of the Joplin community, while also highlighting the accomplishments and work of African American artists, musicians, athletes, and poets.

The show, scheduled to run through March 13th, features three unique exhibits, curated by nationally acclaimed fabric artist and Joplin native, Sara Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin. Her own work is featured in one of those exhibits, entitled Journey: Legacy, East Town.


According to Ms. Thompson-Ruffin’s artist statement, East Town is an exhibition curated in a mixture of textiles designed to engage the viewer in a visual conversation. Many of these textiles are accompanied by poetry written by Sonia Sanchez, a writer and educator considered by many to be the leading female voice of the Black Revolution.

“This collection is a touchstone of accounts, experiences, and contributions of Joplin’s East Town,” says Sara. “It shares a people’s journey, facing the hardships and adversities of building a viable community during a time when African Americans were not welcomed to live in or around Missouri and its surrounding areas.”

The work also highlights the rich resiliency of Joplin’s historic African American community, where she was raised and nurtured.

“The African American residents of Joplin persevered through all adversities. They used their talents, gifts, and education to build a strong and vibrant community in spite of all the challenges that besieged them,” shares Sara. “We are all the legacy of their gifts.”

Photo Gallery: Fun at Joplin’s Third Thursday

Third Thursday is Joplin’s trademark cultural event when thousands of people fill Main Street Joplin to enjoy local art, music, entertainment, and food.

Last Thursday, Leggett & Platt once again sponsored the festivities and joined the fun. With the help of over 40 L&P volunteers, we took over the 400 block of Main Street in downtown Joplin and set up a product petting zoo, obstacle course, and mattress painting. One of our very own tractor-trailers parked in the middle of the street, ready for guests to hop inside and take a look around. We were eager to greet visitors and tell them more about the unique things we do at L&P.

If you stopped by, thank you! We were glad to meet you. We’re proud to be part of this community, and we can’t wait for the next opportunity to get out there and do some good. We’ll be back, Third Thursday!