On Main Street in Reeds Spring, glowing neon “OPEN” signs at pizza joints and diners beckon locals or tourists headed to nearby Table Rock Lake on Saturdays after sundown. But then, a closer look from the two-lane winding road that cuts through the town reveals a more enchanting string of lights twinkling on a steep hill at Main and High Streets—and a string of people climbing the steps to an old rock house.

Welcome to Rock House Center for the Arts. This cozy bungalow is the home and the dream of Jeanette Bair and Bruce Anderson, a place they open to the community to celebrate music and art.

Make yourself at home.

While you wait for the concert to begin, appreciate the art—including Bruce’s mosaic on the wood-burning stove amid the 1920s architecture— and have a seat at a table in the “listening room.”

As the musicians warm up on a small corner stage and everyone else partakes of the potluck, Jeanette chats about the Rock House dream and how it began.

A member of the “Medicine Man Show” plays at the festival, held the first Saturday in June each year.

She was 24 years old, a jewelry artist by way of San Diego and Kansas City, when Reeds Spring seemed to call to Jeanette in 1984. She was living in Kimberling City with her husband, who planned to establish a dental practice near Table Rock Lake. Jeanette says it was “kind of an odd town even back then—interesting characters, artists, musicians. I’ve always liked the unconventional, so I just felt kind of drawn to it.”

After her marriage ended, she opened The New Coast Gallery in a turn-of-the-century former doctor’s o”ffice and hosted a local string band called The Skirtlifters. Soon, she was hosting other musicians, offering a venue that wasn’t just a bar background, a place where people could hear the music.

Some 15 years later, after many more gallery concerts, Jeanette bought the old rock house. Built as a duplex in the 1920s, it was a rental property at the time.

Bruce Anderson and Jeanette Bair

“I thought I’d keep it as a rental property, but I wasn’t a very good landlord,” Jeanette says. “I just loved the rock. I wanted it to be made into something special, but the renters were just tearing it apart.” After years of renters damaging the place, contractors advised her to bulldoze the hilltop landmark.

Every window in the building had been broken by the time Jeanette met Bruce Anderson, a concert guest of matchmaking friends. She describes it as “almost like meeting someone you already know.”

Bruce agrees. “We’re so much alike,” he says. “I loved her spirit.”

For Jeanette, Bruce was another piece of the dream. “He’s an artist, but he’s also a construction worker and a plumber and an electrician—all those things I needed desperately.” After moving from Oklahoma to Reeds Spring to live with Jeanette, her daughter, Callista, and their dog, Darling, Bruce set to work on the house.

“It was a match made in heaven,” she adds. “For someone to come in and want to do this, where it takes over our whole house … our whole schedule of what we do is always focused around these concerts.”

Weaving through festival crowds, larger-than-life puppets prove irresistible to children.

By 2004, the concerts—like the Bair-Andersons— could move to 41 High Street.

Today, 16 shows a year in the house draw about 50 people, and bands like The Lacewings and Trout Fishing in America are booked a year in advance. The center sponsors an annual music festival on Reeds Spring’s soccer fields that drew 600 last year. Jeanette expects more than 1,000 for this year’s fest on June 2, which will feature Ozarks-bred band Big Smith.

In 2014, with a board of five and a host of volunteers, the Rock House Center for the Arts gained nonprofit status with the mission “to enrich and educate the community through the presentation and support of live music and the visual arts.” Jeanette was named to the Reeds Spring Hall of Fame in 2016, spotlighting her work as an artist, a teacher at nearby Highlandville Elementary School, and, of course, founder of the center.

She credits the community that first called to her for making her dream come true. “It grew organically, so it was kind of just a leap of faith that it would be successful,” she says. “But it’s really because of the people who love this kind of thing who keep it going. It really is that momentum of the audience that makes it successful.”

RockHouseCenterfortheArts.org has concert schedules and more.