ArtFul Living

With Michelle “ Mike” Ochonicky – Healthy Planet Arts Editor

Spring Cleaning & Renewal Of Artful Endeavors

Being cooped up all winter certainly gave me time to clean out the coop!
I have a walk-in closet that you couldn’t walk in. Clearing out that space led me to discover a whole new wardrobe in hiding. Hello, new clothes! My cleaning-out impulse built momentum as I attacked every drawer, every cabinet, every closet in the house. By the time I got to my art studio, I was at full speed. Although bits of paper, dried up markers and stubby pencils had to go, I also found some forgotten goodies. Several blank canvases I’d been saving, along with a few wonderful ideas for paintings, inspired me to create some new works. Ah, the smell of oil paint………….It’s revitalizing to have new art to hang on the walls. Certainly gives the place a fresh look.

So, how are things in your coop?
Maybe, if you also cleaned out a few closets, there’s a musical instrument collecting dust at your house. Let it inspire a new generation of musicians. Music for Lifelong Achievement (MFLA) and Horns to Havana collect and send musical instruments to students at schools in and around Havana, Cuba. During March, bring any used musical instrument to The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., during normal business hours, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or you can bring it along when you attend a concert there.

Got a guitar that doesn’t get strummed anymore? The Public School Guitar Initiative is a wonderful outreach program of St. Louis Classical Guitar Society. Providing an opportunity for students to participate in structured musical activity, the Guitar Society collects new, used, or even damaged guitars. The guitars are refurbished and donated to St. Louis area schools. Although classical guitars (with nylon strings) are preferred, the Guitar Society is able to exchange even donated steel-stringed or electric guitars for classical instruments. Footstands and music stands are also appreciated. Of course, donations are tax-deductible. If you don’t have a guitar, consider donating the cost to purchase one for this program. Please call www.guitarstlouis.net or call 314-567-5566 for more info.

There’s nothing like a new piece of art to enliven your space, whether you purchase it or make it yourself. St. Louis will be littered with art (pardon the paper-pun!) March 16-19 when printmaking artists from around the world attend the 2011 SGC International Conference, hosted by Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. Galleries throughout the region will host exhibitions, special events, sales, demos, workshops and more than can be listed here. Follow the link below to find what catches your interest: http://sgci2011.samfoxschool. wustl.edu/node/5166.

If you’re an artist in need of more room, here’s the opportunity for you: The Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles is accepting applications for studio artists. The Foundry Art Centre is a dynamic atmosphere. The artists’ studios are located on the mezzanine level, with glass-fronted studios providing natural light. Studio spaces vary, and artists may opt to share space of larger studios with other artists to defray costs. Artists have 24-hour access to the studios—great for night-owls! Selected by a jury panel, artists can rent studio space for one year, renewable for up to three years. The next jury meets in May, so apply soon. Details and application forms can be found at www.foundryartcentre.org.

If, instead of cleaning out, you prefer to get out for an evening, plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day just a wee bit early with McPEAKE, one of Ireland’s best-known musical families, featuring a distinctive blend of traditional, folk, acoustic and contemporary music. McPEAKE members have performed alongside such musical greats as John Lennon, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, The Chieftains, Bono of U2 and Riverdance. Featured will be Francis McPeake IV, one of the few authentic uilleann pipers in the world today and the fourth-generation of this family described by The Belfast Telegraph as “an Irish national treasure.” Gitana Productions (www.gitana-inc.org) brings this world-class group to St. Louis for one performance only on March 11 at 7:30 p.m. Call 314-721-6556 to reserve your ticket (just $15; $12 for seniors and students) for this sure-to-sell-out night at Union Avenue Christian Church, home of the Union Avenue Opera. Erin go Bragh, and Happy Spring, too.

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