Rural Missouri - July 2017 - 23
photo courtesy of
The Mayﬁeld Cultural Center
train during the
days when the
college still was
Mayﬁeld Cultural Center
Desserts - which vary daily but may include
chocolate fudge triple layer cake, rhubarb pie or
strawberry shortcake - ﬂy off the shelf. "If we put
on Facebook that we've got 100 percent rhubarb
pie, no strawberries, there are people who will drive
up here just to get a piece," Scott says. "If business
is slow, we know a rhubarb pie will pick things up."
In time, the center hopes to offer cooking classes
to help train local chefs for existing restaurants and
what they hope will be a need for more dining destinations to feed the tourists who venture to this
remote but beautiful region of Missouri.
There's something going on here just about
every day, especially workshops hosted by
talented artists. In one recent class, Carleen Johns, a juried member of the Best of
Missouri Hands and a former art teacher
at Puxico High School, taught participants how to make fairy garden containers. Carleen also has led classes in painting and jewelry using ﬁne silver clay.
It's open studio on Thursdays when aspiring artists can bring their creations for help and inspiration from others. Most of the time these sessions
attract ﬁber artists such as Teri Vila from Grassy, a
member of Black River Electric Cooperative.
"Everyone is doing something different today,"
says Teri, working on a gossamer scarf made from
Above left: Instructor Dan Beeson shows off waltz steps while his students practice with
imaginary partners. Ballroom dancing is one of the many cultural opprtunities provided by the
center. Above: Brian Derton prepares food for the lunch crowd in the center's Mayﬁeld Cafe.
He hopes to one day offer culinary classes to ﬁll the need for chefs in area restaurants.
mohair yarn so ﬁne it resembles cobwebs. "We feed
ideas off of each other. We don't charge anything, we
just want to share what we know."
Teri learned to crochet from Sheila Teeters of
Marble Hill, a member of the Gateway Knitters club
who enjoys the Thursday sessions. "When other people do the same things we learn from each
other," Sheila says. "If anyone else drops in, we are
happy. This place just gives the whole community
so many great opportunities."
There have been watercolor painting classes,
stained glass dragonﬂy workshops and Raku pottery instruction. Brian has offered several cooking
classes, teaching how to make chocolates, sourdough biscuits and cream pies. Most of the classes
have a fee, which varies based on the materials, but
many other events at the center are free.
The Tuesday evening ballroom dance classes are
really catching on, too. Before the classes started
several residents of Marble Hill made the long drive
to Cape Girardeau to learn dance from Dan Beeson
at the Cape Ballroom. Now Dan does the travelling,
giving lessons in the beautiful chapel at the center
for just $5 a session.
"I never thought I would like ballroom dancing,
but then I tried it and I like it," says Evie Counts,
one of the dance students. "We don't wear the fancy
dresses and just go in our jeans and have a lot of
fun. Most of us are beginners and the lessons aren't
too fast paced."
Will Mayﬁeld College couldn't withstand the economic woes caused by the Great Depression, but it
did survive to help educate future generations on a
variety of topics. In just two years of operation, the
cultural center has seen more than 19,000 visitors
and should top 20,000 this summer. Current fundraising efforts include a GoFundMe page set up to
pay off the remaining $40,000 of debt incurred in
turning the 133 year old Mayﬁeld Hall into a functional cultural center.
"Very slowly things are coming together," Scott
says. "I hope it all happens in my lifetime and I get
to see it prosper and come to fruition. But everything is in place for it to happen."
The center is located at 209 Mayﬁeld Drive in Marble Hill. For more information call 573-238-8515 or
search for The Mayﬁeld Cultural Center on Facebook.
Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/willmayﬁeld-heritage-foundation.
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JULY 2017 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP