Artistic triumph: Art auction lovingly named for its creator at Joplin’s St. Avips Ball’s ‘elegant’ 62nd gala

JOPLIN, Mo. – Carey Moen vividly remembers watching her mother, Sana Shagets, dress up to the nines for Joplin’s annual St. Avips Ball to benefit the Spiva Center for the Arts.

But at Friday’s gala, which marked its 62nd year, an adult Moen, now a mother of two herself, had the added pleasure of seeing the ball’s accompanying art auction actually named for her late mother, who created it in 1999.

“As a little girl I have very fond memories watching my Mom get ready for St. Avips,” Moen told The Heartlander. “It was one of my favorite nights of the year, and it’s very meaningful to my family and me that she is being recognized for her contributions to the charity.

“She would be proud of all the committee has accomplished over the years to preserve the arts and make a lasting impact on the community that was so dear to her and to all of us.”

This year’s chair of the ball, Kristen Ansley, chose the theme of “American Elegance” as a bouquet to the country and a nod to ball’s birth in the early 1960s, an era so embodied by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. It was at that heady time that 18 Joplin women, since grown to a committee of 40, divined the ball and created the Friends of St. Avips – Spiva spelled backward.

It also was Ansley’s inspiration this year to name the ball’s art auction after Shagets, its founder.

“It’s particularly special that Kristen Ansley chose to honor her, as my mom loved Kristen as her own,” Moen said. “Our family is forever grateful for the distinction of the Sana S. Shagets Art Auction.”

“As a family,” says Sana’s son Will Shagets, “we are both proud and honored to have such an important aspect of the St. Avips Ball named in my Mom’s honor. It was dear to her heart, and having the opportunity to celebrate her at such an important community event with close family and friends is very special to us.”

“The Friends of St Avips is one of the oldest area organizations that promotes appreciation and education of the arts in Southwest Missouri,” says Frank Shagets, Sana’s husband. “Over the past 25 years the art auction has been significantly contributory to that goal.”

Indeed it has, as has the ball itself. As the facility’s major fundraiser of the year, the St. Avips Ball has contributed some $1.4 million to the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts.

“It was very important to Mr. Spiva that we have a rich arts culture in the Joplin community,” Ansley says.

The ball had to have been just as important to Ansley, as the Joplin native governed as chair long distance the past year.

“Even though I live in Kansas City, I thought Joplin’s so important to me, Spiva Art Center is important to me, I want to stay committed and share this ball even from afar. So, I’ve traveled back and forth for the year doing this.”

As a result, the signature development of the 62nd annual ball is, itself, a signature. And the name is Sana Shagets.


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