The Thomas Hart Benton Symposium was created to honor artistic genius, Thomas Hart Benton, a native son of Neosho, Missouri.

The goal of the Symposium is to provide area high school students with an opportunity to explore various cultural and artistic topics.  Each year a new topic will be presented.

This year’s Symposium will explore Native American culture and contributions. 

In Addition, artist Charles Banks Wilson, who is famous for his American Indian art, will be honored during the Symposium.

Featured speakers:

• Chief Glenna Wallace of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, noted Chautauqua performer and Native American Historian

• Ms. Carrie Wilson, daughter of Charles Banks Wilson and a noted authority on Indian history, culture and contributions to U.S. Society.

• Charles Banks Wilson, along with “From the Ozarks and Beyond” producer Paul Wannenmacher, will explore Mr. Wilson’s artistic work and his insight into Native American culture.

A portion of the soon to be released Charles Banks Wilson documentary will be shown.  During the Symposium, filming will take place that will be used to complete the “From the Ozarks and Beyond” documentary.  This public television documentary will be released to the public in early 2009.

The students and teachers will enjoy an Indian lunch, brown bag style, consisting of:  Beef Jerky, Trail Mix of nuts and berries, fruit, and Indian Fry Bread. 

The walking lunch will tour the Murals in downtown Neosho including the Newton County Court House, the Neosho United Methodist Church and Neosho City Hall.  Each location will feature an area historian who will explain the elements in each mural and answer questions.

The Grove Indian Choir will entertain students with music performed in their native language.

 The end of the Symposium will feature Native American dances with narration explaining the history and significance of each dance.  Student involvement will be encouraged in a portion of the dances.