Walk around the heart of our city, and you’ll pick up a distinctively creative vibe. You’ll see murals adorning buildings (and even storm drains). Blocks interspersed with galleries. Throngs of theatergoers. You’ll sense you’re some place special—and you are. The Missouri Arts Council awarded Springfield, Missouri, the Creative Community Award in recognition of our support of the arts. Countless visual artists, writers, musicians, dancers and filmmakers work in and around Springfield. Our city has a flourishing symphony, ballet and opera, as well as a variety of historic and state-of-the-art live performance venues. We’re an annual host to a multitude of arts and cultural festivals. And our universities continually enrich our community through their exceptional fine arts programs. Whether you’re creatively inclined or simply appreciate art, you’ll be inspired in Springfield.
Springfield has dozens of private art galleries, as well as a public art museum housing nearly 9,000 art objects representing thousands of years of culture. On the first Friday of every month, downtown galleries and local businesses open their doors for Art Walk, a free event featuring revolving exhibits of the best local painters, photographers, sculptors and mixed media artists. Festivals throughout the year like Artsfest and Cider Days also attract hundreds of regional and national artists to display their works.
For a midsize city, Springfield offers a rich and varied experience of live performance arts. The Springfield Regional Opera and Springfield Ballet work to develop area talent and provide an array of classical, contemporary and holiday productions. The Springfield Symphony Orchestra delights audiences in the acoustically magnificent, 2,264-seat Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts from September through May. Juanita K. hosts an annual season of Broadway musicals, children’s productions and national performers. The newly renovated Gillioz Theatre (once home to Vaudeville acts, silent movies and Springfield’s first “talkies”) now hosts our opera and attracts a variety of Broadway shows, film festivals and national acts. Springfield Little Theatre gives both adults and children a chance to perform on the stage of the historic and beautiful Landers Theatre.
If your inner artist needs a creative outlet from time to time, Springfield, MO has plenty of studios for aspiring potters and painters. Or couples just looking for a different type of date night. Springfield has an AR Workshop that sells DIY kits, leads woodworking classes and hosts kids parties. Both the north and south sides of town have pottery studios. Firehouse Pottery is nestled in quaint Galloway Village, and Artistree Pottery opened in the historic Rountree neighborhood in 2020. Feeling more adventurous in your artistic pursuits? How about making some fused glass art at Creative Escape Glass. No experience necessary—just an open mind and willingness to work with your hands!
The Springfield region has no shortage of venues for seeing your favorite recording artists in concert. JQH Arena on the campus of Missouri State University has hosted performers from Matchbox Twenty to Carrie Underwood to The Eagles. The O’Reilly Family Event Center on the Drury University campus has recently hosted groups like the Avett Brothers, Kelly Clarkson and Sheryl Crow. And the architectural acoustics of the Juanita K. Hammons Hall have provided an amazing sound experience for a wide range of artists for 20 years. An hour to Springfield’s south, you’ll find the Black Oak Mountain Amphitheater in Lampe, Missouri. This spectacular outdoor venue attracts performing groups from all over the nation—most recently, the venue featured the hit rock band Journey.
If you prefer the silver screen to the stage, the Springfield area has plenty of great places to catch the latest action flick, comedy or epic romance. In Springfield, Branson and the surrounding communities, you’ll find thousands of conventional movie seats, two I-Max® theaters and a one-of-a-kind theater complex featuring reclining leather seats, pull-out tables, dinner service and an indoor/outdoor bar and lounge. The Moxie Cinema downtown offers a community-supported venue for indie and foreign films, as well as free children’s movies and programs during the summer.
When driving or strolling through Springfield—especially in center city—there’s a good chance you’ll pass a striking sculpture or masterful mural. Public art is sprouting up all over town and bringing ambiance to our streetscapes. Thanks to Sculpture Walk Springfield, 3-D art now lines the sidewalks of downtown Springfield. Take the walking tour or venture out farther to snap a pic at some of the city’s most Instagram-worthy public art spots. The city’s murals are multiplying, and you’ll find them on buildings, in recreation centers and along greenway trails.