Harlin’s December 2020 Event Cancelled; Museum Closed Through End Of Year

Due to a lack of participation in the event, the museum’s December event, “Decorate A Tree For Charity!” has been canceled and the museum will be closed through the end of the year.

The museum will reopen for a new season of events beginning on, Friday, January 8, 2021, when we will be accepting entries for the annual Quilting, Fiber, & Textile Arts Competition Show, which opens to the public on January 15th, 2021.

Watch the Harlin’s website and Facebook page for updates on the museum’s new schedule for 2021 and announcements regarding our upcoming art and history events for the new year.

#GivingTuesday Gives A Little Bit More With Announcement of Harlin’s “Decorate A Tree For Charity” Competition Event & Holiday Display

The year began in January with our first annual Quilting & Textile Show to ever open to a Youth Category. It was to be the first of many competitive art shows that year that would now include a competition category for youth, ages 17 & under. In February, the Gala Night for our annual High School Art Show and Young Artist Showcase packed more people into the gallery than we’ve ever had for a single event before. It was the start to what we expected would be a banner year for the Harlin, with a packed event calendar and so many, many plans…..

And then in March, we were preparing to debut the entries to our Digital Art Show when the news about the coronavirus began to get serious. There had been reports in the news for weeks by then about the illness that had been attacking China, but that all seemed rather far away from our small town in Missouri. But quickly, within weeks, the highly contagious virus had spread all over the Asian continent and was already gaining ground across Europe. Americans abroad were urged to get back to the States as quickly as possible–if they could get back at all. Some countries were already employing travel bans and talking about lockdowns to contain the virus. And. while America was on alert, for many it was still business as usual…..even though coronavirus cases had already begun being reported in New York. 

This would be the beginning to a year that we will never forget…..2020: The Year We Stayed Home.

Staying safe became the goal for everyone. Those that were not needed on the front lines to fight the pandemic stayed home. Those that could not stay home–those unfortunately-deemed essential workers–bravely faced their new world with trepidation. Amidst the crisis, there was no one to come to the museum; not visitor, nor staff.

For five months, the museum remained closed while the coronavirus spread. What was once a problem that we only saw on the news eventually became a problem at our own front door. COVID came to Southern Missouri and the people around us, people we knew and loved, became sick and tested positive. Some suffered greatly, some lived to tell their tale—-but ALL of us had to acclimate to what had become the new normal: wearing face masks, social distancing, grocery delivery, and celebrating our special moments with car parades and ZOOM calls where once there would have been birthday parties and trips to see Grandma in Florida. Months later, even after the mandatory quarantines were lifted and people tried to bring back some semblance of what we once considered “normal”…….nothing seemed normal anymore. 

And, things at the museum were no longer normal either. Suddenly, all of the highly-anticipated events on our calendar were cancelled, one after the other.  When Russ Cohran passed away in February, the museum had decided to feature a special memorial night to coincide with our planned gallery show on Russ’s locally-beloved creation, the West Plains Gazette—but it was not long before it was cancelled. We had also procured the talent of the well-known and exceedingly talented artist, John P. Lasater, for a gallery show and plein air workshop that so many of our local artists were eager to experience—it, also, was cancelled. By the time the museum was able to take its first tentative steps to reopening in Septemeber, we were so financially strained after months of no visitors and no financial income that we weren’t certain how we would ever be able to make it through the rest of the year. 

But, as with so many other miracles this year, we managed to continue with the help of certain angels. In September, when we reopened with the largest portion of Broadfoot’s Pioneers on the Ozarks collection than we’ve ever been able to display, a generous local benefactor left a much-appreciated surprise in our donation box. In October, when we were struggling to find sponsors for awards, another long-time benefactor stepped in to help cover costs. As always, the generous spirit of our community came to our rescue when we needed it the most. And now, we would like to return the favor.

#GivingTuesday began as an idea in 2011 that blossomed into a movement that promotes the idea of giving back. After the gluttonous consumption of Thanksgiving and the commercialization and consumerism of the post-Thanksgiving season that includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the United Nations Foundation, along with other partnerships, established #GivingTuesday as a reminder that the greatest gift of all is giving back.

This year, after so many hardships and challenges, we are happy to still be on our feet, with our doors open and our ability to serve our community intact. And while it will still take us awhile to recoup our losses, our work in fine arts education and historic preservation will continue. But many of our local nonprofits and charitable organizations cannot say the same.

While our community struggled to fight the coronavirus, many of our local charities used their resources to keep us afloat. They distributed food to people who couldn’t feed their families. They provided resources like diapers and clothing to families that could no longer afford to buy their own. They kept so many of us going when we felt like we could no longer go on. And now their resources are so depleted that they themselves are facing the reality of no return. 

So, on this #GivingTuesday, the Harlin Museum would like to invite the businesses and organizations of our local community to help us give back to our local charities in a very special way: by combining one of the most beautiful symbols of the season–the Christmas Tree–with the generous spirit of the season of giving in a unique holiday event.

Beginning today, we are accepting entries for our Decorate A Tree For Charity competition. Any local business, organization, or other entity can enter the competition to decorate a Christmas Tree in our Hathcock Gallery’s Magical Holday Forest and choose a local charitable organization or nonprofit for their tree to represent. To win the competition, their tree must accumulate the largest amount in votes—and to vote, every person must make a monetary donation—one donation, one vote. Voters can cast their vote with a penny and voters can cast their vote with a much larger donation—its all up to them—but, when the total amount of donations is tallied, it’s the amount in the donation box that will determine the winner of the 2020 Holiday Spirit Trophy!

We know that there are many in our community that are still struggling financially, which is why admission to the holiday forest display (and the opportunity to have your photo taken with Santa Claus!!) will be available to visitors for free. But every penny DOES count, and at the end of the competition, all of the “votes” accumulated will be donated to their respective charities and the participants in the competition will be featured on our social media and in the local press. It is our hope that many in our community will be inspired by the Christmas spirit (and the competitive spirit) to help us end this difficult year on a high note by joining in the fun and helping our community by competiing to raise funds for those who strive to help us all.

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” ―Eleanor Roosevelt

Rules & Guidelines for participants who wish to decorate a Christmas Tree can be found HERE. Online entry forms can be completed HERE (scroll to the bottom of the page to find the form). Participants will need to schedule their gallery time to decorate their tree by contacting Vicki Warren-Martin by email at or by phone at 870-706-7863. If you need assistance finding a charitable organization to represent, you may also contact Vicki at the email or phone number above. 


Winners of Harlin Museum’s 45th Annual Fall Art Show Announced

With three separate divisions and multiple class and category distinctions, the Harlin’s 45th Annual Fall Art Show has been a generous opportunity for Ozarks artists to put their best talents on display..

Due to the museum’s precautionary coronavirus closure from March to September this year, the museum was forced to cancel its annual digital art show and was also unable to host its annual photography show during the closure. That’s why this year’s 45th Annual Fall Art Show was really a mega-show with 3 divisions (Fine Art (2D & 3D), Photography, and Digital Art), 2-3 classes per division (Novice/Advanced, Youth/Adult), and multiple categories—with the most being in the Fine Art 2D Division at five categories defined by medium: Oil Paint, Acrylic, Graphics, Watercolor, and Mixed Medium.

Offering up some of the most creative pieces our gallery has ever seen, the artists who participated in this year’s competition were varied in their exemplary talent. Out of the 79 total entries received from 17 artists in Southern Missouri (West Plains, Mountain View, Dora, Licking, Cabool, & Mountain Grove) and 2 from Northern Arkansas (Cherokee Village & Elizabeth), 17 of the competing artists won an award for their work— rounding out the number of distinctions awarded to a total of 42 prizes in all.


The winning entries of our 45th Annual Fall Art Show are:

Fine Art Division

















Class: Novice     Medium: Oil

1stMrs. Mouse with Purple Berries by Juanita Walker

2nd – Rusty Chevy Truck by Juanita Walker

3rd Pots by Juanita Walker

HM – Abandoned by Juanita Walker







Class: Novice     Medium: Graphics

1stBirds by John Cash

2ndAt Home In A Tree by John Cash

3rdRare Day In October by John Cash












Class: Novice     Medium: Mixed Medium

1stUnidentified Flying Colors by Trent Young

 2ndPicasso Inspired by Trent Young

3rdChristmas Presence by Trent Young









Class: Advanced     Medium: Oil

1stSunday At Simms by Lee Copen

2ndWildflower Hill by Lee Copen

3rd Bunny by Joyce Stewart

HM – Rocky Slope by Lee Copen








Class: Advanced     Medium: Acrylic

1stForce Of Nature by Lanie Frick

2ndLion In Bed All Day by Raymond Popp

3rd She Speaks by Lanie Frick

HM – From Here Begun by Raymond Popp







Class: Advanced     Medium: Watercolor 

1stBlue Jay by Jennifer Beach

2ndOld Mill by Carrie McIntosh

3rdDream Roses by Carrie McIntosh

Honorable Mention – Water Lily by Carrie McIntosh









Class: Advanced     Medium: Graphics

1stButterfly Stampede by Raymond Popp

2ndRBG by Jennifer Beach

3rdTeagan by Jennifer Beach

Honorable Mention – Squirrel by Sheila Donley

Honorable Mention – Horse by Sheila Donley



























Class: Advanced     Category: Mixed Medium

1st – Song Of India by Erica Humphreys

2nd – Scotty by Randy Connell

3rd – Dead Fall Leaves by Trent Young










Class: Advanced     Category: Sculpture

1stSteam Locomotive by Bob Lee

2ndSpeed Boat by Bob Lee

3rd 2-Wheel Motorcycle by Bob Lee

Honorable Mention – Wheel Motorcycle by Bob Lee



























Class: Adult     Category: Color/ Monochrome

PHOTOGRAPHY DIVISION – OVERALL DIVISION WINNER: Winding Road To Christchurch by Brent Humphreys of West Plains, MO








Class: Adult     Category: Color/ Monochrome

1stTopaz Mill by Methven Swanson

2ndStrike by Randy Connell

3rdHe Said, She Said by Erica Humphreys

Honorable Mention – Morning Light by John Latecki

Honorable Mention – Bone Inspector by Erica Humphreys



















The show is available to view in the museum’s Hathcock Gallery on Saturdays only (12pm-4pm), from October 10th – 31st, 2020.

Congratulations to all the entrants, for a fantastic show, and to all the winners, for their exemplary work! 






FREE GIVEAWAY!! Enter for you chance to win a copy of L.L. Broadfoot’s Pioneers of the Ozarks!



In honor of our grand reopening, the Harlin Museum is giving away a free copy of L.L. Broadfoot’s, Pioneers of the Ozarks book. Here is what you need to do to enter for your chance to win:

  1. Come to the museum during our L.L. Broadfoot: The Collection exhibit.
  2. While at the show, check-in to the Harlin Museum on Facebook (@HarlinMuseumWP) and post a photo of yourself at the exhibit.* 
  3. That’s it! You are entered to win!

The winner will be chosen on October 3rd, 2020 from all eligible entries. Please contact the museum at or (417) 256-7801 with any questions.

  • If you aren’t sure how to check-in to a location using Facebook, you’ll find some helpful instructions HERE. 


L.L. Broadfoot: The Collection on Display at Harlin’s Grand Re-Opening

When the Harlin Museum reopens for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown for public safety shuttered our doors in March 2020, visitors will be delighted to find that our first gallery show will feature pieces from the well-known Ozarks-native artist whose name has become synonymous with capturing the unique people of the Shannon County hills—and beyond.  L.L. Broadfoot: The Collection will be on display September 12th through October 3rd, 2020,  in the museum’s Hathcock Gallery. New public hours through the end of the year will be Saturdays only, 12 pm – 4pm, and also by appointment. 

Call for Artist Submissions to Harlin Museum’s 45th Annual Fall Art Show Competition




The Harlin Museum of West Plains, MO is set to host its 45th Annual Fall Art Show this year and is calling for art submissions from all Southern Missouri and Northwest Arkansas regional artists. Entry dates for the show’s competition will be Friday, October 2nd, and Saturday, October 3rd from 12 pm-4 pm at the museum. The show’s entries will be on display in the museum’s Hathcock Gallery, October 10th – October 31st, 2020.

Due to the museum’s recent closure over the summer months, the categories for this year’s show have been expanded to include art forms whose regularly scheduled shows fell during the coronavirus lockdown of non-essential businesses. The categories this year will include Fine Arts (2D & 3D entries) for Novice, Advanced or Youth, Digital Arts (Still or Animated) for Adult or Youth, and Photography (Color or Monochrome) for Adult or Youth.  The show’s final categories and prize amounts will be determined by the entries received and there will be a Best of Show awarded for each of the three main categories. All entries will be evaluated for artistic quality, integrity, technique, and presentation. Entries must meet given guidelines for acceptance into the competition portion of the show.

Those who are interested in entering the competition can find entry guidelines for the three main categories attached to this email, as well as on the museum’s website at https://harlinmuseum.com/45th-annual-fall-art-show/.  Any questions regarding eligibility or other inquiries can be emailed to the museum at or you may contact the museum directly at (417) 256-7801.

We ask that all available artists please join us in continuing this artistic autumn tradition.e look forward to seeing what you have been working on!

Two-Day #PleinAir Workshop with Award-Winning Artist, John P. Lasater IV, Coming September 2020

MUSEUM NEWS: Plein Air Painting Workshop with John Lasater IV, September 2 & 3, 2020

Deadline to register for the John P. Lasater IV 2-Day Plein Air workshop by August 30th, 2020.

August 7, 2020

Join award-winning representational painter, John P. Lasater IV, for a 2-day Plein air painting workshop this September, hosted by the Harlin Museum.

Workshop activities begin Tuesday evening, September 1st, with an Artist Meet & Greet at Harlin Museum of West Plains (participants will be notified of event time upon registration confirmation) at which participants will view a presentation given by the artist. Students will then meet the artist on location at Mammoth Spring State Park, Mammoth Springs, Arkansas, for the Plein air instructional workshop sessions on Wednesday & Thursday, September 2 &3, 2020, from 9 am – 4 pm each day.

The cost to attend the workshop is $300.00 total for both days. Payment must be made in full to Harlin Museum by the first day of the workshop. Students are responsible for bringing their own art supplies to the workshop, as well as a bag lunch or any other desired refreshments. The general supply list for John’s workshops can be found on his website at https://www.lasaterart.com/page/17524/workshop-supply-list.

All questions may be directed to the Harlin Museum via email at or you may phone/text the workshop’s coordinator, Vicki Warren-Martin, at 870-706-7863.  Registration to reserve a seat may be completed online by clicking the link HERE and completing the Bookings instructions at the bottom of the page.

WORKSHOP VENUE/LOCATION: Mammoth Spring State Park, 17 US HWY 63, Mammoth Springs, AR 72554

LUNCH/REFRESHMENTS: Students will need to bring their own drinking water, bag lunch, and/or other refreshments

INSTRUCTOR: John P. Lasater IV

WORKSHOP HOURS: 9 am to 4 pm both days

SUBJECT: Plein air painting instruction

COST: $300.00 per person, total, for both days

REQUIRED SUPPLIES: View the basic supply list for John’s workshops on his website HERE.

Museum Desk, (417) 256-7801,
Vicki Warren-Martin, (870) 706-7863,

Before the Catron, there was the Grand #OperaHouse…..

Original Opening Ball Invitation; Grand Opera House, West Plains, MO, November 1885

DISCOVER YOUR OZARKS: West Plains Grand Opera House

August 3, 2020

Written & Photographed by V. Warren-Martin

In its illustrious history, West Plains, Missouri has seen many of its citizens come and go—and with every departure, tokens of this notorious Ozarks town have gone along for the journey. As luck would have it, one extremely rare such token found its way back to where it’s origin story began.

It showed up in the museum’s mailbox with a postmark from San Bernadino, CA, where it had ended up in the hands of the Needles Regional Museum in Needles, California, a mere 1,452 miles away from its’ Southern Missouri home. Inside, tucked between two vintage postcards, was an original invitation to an Opening Ball at the Grand Opera House, West Plains, Missouri, dated Friday Evening, November 6, 1885.

In 1885, West Plains was well on its way to becoming one of the storied boomtowns that developed out of the transcontinental US railroad construction of the late 19th Century. The Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railway Company arrived in West Plains in 1883 and brought with it, over the next several years, a deluge of people looking for opportunity and community in the now more readily-accessible midwest.

While many of us who grew up in West Plains are aware of the beautifully restored building widely known as the Catron Opera House, built in 1893 for O.H.P. Catron & Thomas Johnson, there is little knowledge to be found regarding the Grand Opera House.

It is recalled to have been located on the 200 Block of E. Main St., approximately in the current location of the Historic Post Office’s eastside parking lot. During its time, it is said that the building was occupied by a machine shop on the first floor, with the theater-like Opera House space upstairs—later, McFarland’s Undertaking would occupy space in the same building. While it’s highly unlikely that the Grand ever hosted an actual opera performance, as the term opera house was a common name in those days for any large theater-like space where the citizens could gather, it is likely that with the population hub West Plains became in that era, such a space would have been the setting for many a community event, performance, dance, meeting, and celebration as the first such space of its kind in West Plains, MO.

The front cover of the once folded 4 ¾” x 3 ½” ivory invitation, now in two separate pages that both still feature the finest line of gold-gilded splendor along the outside edges of the paper, announces in a red and black mixture of plain font and occasionally elaborate script,

Front Cover of Grand Opera House Opening Ball Invitation













Closeup of front cover shows the printer’s mark for Gazette Steam Print

Below the decorative typeface, in the bottom lefthand corner of the invitation’s cover page in tiny, plain type is the faded printer’s mark:

Gazette Steam Print






Inside Front Cover of Grand Opera House Opening Ball Invitation

The inside pages of the invitation feature, on one side, the names of the multiple committee members who played a part in organizing the ball that November night. Many prominent and long-standing Howell County family names appear on the function’s Committee List of those who came together to provide their neighbors, family, and friends with a night of music, dancing, and merriment:

R.G. Green, J.W. Arbogast, J.W. Simms, J.H. Chandler, J.H. McFarland, J.P. Harlin, J.B. Tillman, W.K.Davis, O.A. Shuttee, T. F. Drew, W.T. Smith, J. Hirsh, JNO. Smith, F.G. Whitney, JAS Lewis, G. Humphreys, Bert Cremeens, W.B. Green, W.T. Harlin, M.B. Chandler, T.P. Woodworth, C.H. Humphreys, F.E. Parker, & J.H. Fredrick.




Inside Back Page of Grand Opera House Opening Ball Invitation

Also included, on the facing inside page, can be found the order in which the many different types of dances planned for the evening would be played:

  1. Quadrille
  2.  Schottische
  3. Quadrille
  4. Varsovienne
  5. Quadrille
  6. Waltz
  7. Schottische
  8. Quadrille
  9. Polka
  10. Quadrille
  11. Waltz
  12. Quadrille
  13. Schottische
  14. Quadrille
  15. Opera Reel
  16. Quadrille
  17. Waltz
  18. Polka
  19. Waltz
  20. Quadrille
  21. Waltz
  22. Quadrille
  23. Schottische
  24. Varsovienne
  25. Quadrille
  26. Home Waltz

A truly intriguing artifact whose overall good condition certainly belies the many years that have passed between the time it was originally printed and now!  And, while we have yet to find any additional records pertaining to the era of activity regarding the Grand Opera House of West Plains, we know there are likely some out there—and we encourage you to let us know what you find!!.

We are certainly grateful for this long-kept and well-preserved piece of history that gives us a glimpse into our town during one of its most abundant periods of growth, promise, and hope. May the West Plains spirit of community that those citizens celebrated 135 years ago remain alive in our hearts, today and always.


Post-publication note:

With the assistance of Sarah Wittenauer over at FGS-Surveyors / Riggs & Associates, Inc., we have found the location of the Grand Opera House platted on a June 1893 map of downtown West Plains, MO, located in the University of Missouri’s Digital Library archive. It shows the building to be located due east of the spring (now located beneath the Historic Post Office building) with a machine shop on the 1st floor and the opera house on the 2nd, across the street, and up from the Commercial Hotel.


Youth Art Camp Session Dates Announced for Summer 2020

As public spaces reopen and we all begin the transition to our new normal, we have decided to dip our toes in the proverbial waters by announcing dates for our upcoming 2020 Youth Summer Art Camp sessions with Ginny Thomason. This will be an ideal opportunity for us to start small as we work towards reopening for public events and gallery shows.

The camp will have two sessions, Tuesday through Thursday, 10 am – 12 pm, on June 30th – July 2nd, 2020 and then again on July 21st – 23rd, 2020. The cost to attend is $10 / camper per day (snack and supplies included) and pre-registration is required; please register for the first session by June 29th.

To register your camper or for more information, please contact our Art Camp instructor, Ginny Thomason, at 417-257-3987 or email her at .

Due to the current ongoing public health issue with Coronavirus, extra safety precautions will be taken to protect all attendees in accordance with the guidelines given by health authorities and #westplainsmo officials. We encourage all patrons to approach us with any concerns so that we may serve you better and make your experience a positive one.

We look forward to seeing you all again!!

COVID 19 Quarantine Delays Harlin’s Spring Art Show

Due to the current guidelines in effect for public safety during the coronavirus/COVID 19 quarantine, we are temporarily postponing the Harlin Museum’s 2020 Spring Art Show until we are safely able to open to the public. As soon as safety protocol allows for public gatherings, we will return to our calendar of shows & exhibits as planned. This means that we will NOT be accepting entries for the SPring ARt Show today.

Please watch our website and social media pages for further announcements regarding rescheduled entry dates and show dates—and also be sure to sign up for our informational emails regarding future museum events!  To sign up, simply send an email to with the subject line “Add Me” to receive future notifications about museum events, exhibits, and workshops.

We ask that everyone stay safe and please look after one another during this difficult time for our community–and continue to allow art to inspire you.  We look forward to seeing what you’ve been working on while you’ve been at home!