On The Wings Of Butterflies: How art helped the community of Joplin recover from devastation

I hope that people who visit will learn of the strength within my community in the face of disaster.

If you are experiencing emotional distress or other mental health concerns after a disaster, the Disaster Distress Helpline is here for you 24/7/365:


Or, text 1-800-985-5990.
For TTY Users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 1-800-985-5990

The May 22 tornado that hit Joplin, Mississippi was the costliest in U.S. history—damaging 40% of the city and destroying 20% of it, including 7,000 homes. More than 1,100 people were injured, and 161 lost their lives. Those who survived faced a long road to healing, and art played a critical role in that process. After the storm, many local children said they’d been protected by “butterfly people” during the tornado—and the idea permeated new art throughout the city. Two local artists created a free-standing mural of an enormous butterfly to symbolize the rebirth of their city.