Help Preserve George Kieffer Murals in Fox Theatre on Give Ozarks Day 2017
Are you a die-hard Missouri State Bear, Drury Panther or Civil War buff? If so, now’s your chance to vote for your favorite mural at the historic Fox Theatre in Springfield while helping to preserve the artistic and cultural heritage of our region.
For Give Ozarks Day 2017, the History Museum on the Square invites all Missouri State and Drury alumni and Civil War enthusiasts to help us preserve three George Kieffer murals on display in the historic Fox Theatre, now part of the History Museum in Downtown Springfield, MO.
Painted in 1949 to commemorate the reopening of the Fox after it had been destroyed by fire, the murals depict the administration building at Missouri State University, the Stone Chapel on the Drury University campus, and the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.
The murals are beginning to show some wear and tear nearly 70 years after they were created. Restoration will ensure that visitors will continue to enjoy the murals for years to come and reminisce about going to the movies at the Fox in days gone by.
The cost to restore the murals will total approximately $15,000.
Murals Celebrate the History of Springfield
According to a blog published in 2010, the Fox Theatre murals demonstrate Kieffer’s “craftsmanship, his care of the art and the subject matter, and of his favorite season, autumn.”
- Missouri State Administration Building. With “Cornerstone laid Aug. 10, 1907 — Completed in 1908” appearing in hand-painted type, the mural depicts the iconic building surrounded by cottonwoods and maples with students milling about the young campus in period dress.
- Stone Chapel of Drury University. Kieffer depicts the oldest stone structure in Springfield, named for benefactor Valerie G. Stone of Massachusetts. The mural displays the chapel in its “nostalgic splendor amidst a balmy autumn afternoon” as pedestrians stroll by on the sidewalk.
- Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Kieffer captures the turmoil, ghostliness and anger of this bloody conflict as Confederate riflemen fight off the blue-clad Federals beyond the creek.
Remembering George Kieffer: A “Forgotten” Springfield Artist
The self-taught Kieffer was born at Pierce City in 1905. Listed in various city directories over the years as a painter, decorator and commercial artist, he painted signs for a source of steady income while creating murals in several buildings throughout the city and Ozarks region.
In addition to the Fox Theatre murals, his best-known works also appear in the main hall of Burge Hospital on north Jefferson Avenue and various locations within the Silver Dollar City theme park.
His love of the Ozarks led Kieffer to turn down an offer from fellow Missourian Walt Disney to come work in the latter’s animation studios in Los Angeles.
Which Mural is Your Favorite?
Now you can vote for your favorite Fox Theatre mural while helping us preserve Kieffer’s important contributions to the Ozarks’ artistic and cultural heritage.
All you have to do is make your donation, share with your friends, and stop by the History Museum to vote for one of these timeless murals.
For Give Ozarks Day 2017 on May 9, the History Museum on the Square will offer free admission to all visitors from 10:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.