Artful Living

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonichy
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

A Creative St. Louis Symphony and Spring Art Blooms

You have to give the St. Louis Symphony credit with finding connections of all kinds to attract people to its performances. Not that the Symphony isn’t great all by itself. But within the past year, SLSO tempted audiences with live musical scores to screenings of classic films such as “Psycho,” and even a live performance of Circus Flora INSIDE Powell Hall with symphonic accompaniment—sheer genius! Yes, there’s some real creativity going on with SLSO.

Recently, The St. Louis Symphony announced its latest addition: the Powell Hall Red Velvet Cake. The cake was specially designed for the Symphony by its sole cake vendor, Sugaree. A red velvet variety was chosen as a nod to the Powell Hall auditorium, whose seats are covered in red velvet. Pat and Jimmy (Sugaree owners/bakers), started from a German chocolate cake and worked tirelessly in developing the recipe—mmmmm! The result is striking in its appearance, and an ideal complement to a performance at Powell Hall. Talk about artistic temptation!

Then work off any pounds you may pick up at the Symphony with a short stroll to nearby St. Louis University’s beautiful campus. In the center of the campus is the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, simply known as MOCRA. This hidden art trove hosts a variety of exhibitions throughout the year, featuring art with links to the world’s many religions. Now through July 31, the museum presents Miserer et Guerre, an ensemble of intaglio prints by Georges Rouault (1871-1958). Born in Paris in 1871, Rouault avoided the group movements of his era, developing instead a solitary but distinctive style of his own. Rouault’s work is consistent and immediately recognizable, marking the artist as a significant figure of twentieth-century art. Art critic John Canaday described Rouault as “one of the great printmakers of the age,” and the Miserere prints as “landmarks in the development of print techniques.” In 1891, Rouault studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and was involved with the Fauvists, including Henri Matisse. “Recurrent in Rouault’s work are judges, clowns and prostitutes,” a MOCRA release stated. These subjects were Rouault’s conveyances for moral and social critiques as well as reflections on human nature. “All of my work is religious for those who know how to look at it,” said Rouault himself. The images presented in this exhibition were created between 1914 and 1918, in a collaborative effort with poet Andre Suares. Reworked extensively by Rouault over the following years, the final works formed an edition of 450 printed in 1927, but which was not exhibited until 1948. Few complete sets of Miserere et Guerre exist in America, so it is indeed a rare opportunity to see the series in its entirety. Don’t miss it!

The start of summer is soon to be marked by the return of the Shakespeare Festival in Forest Park. All of St. Louis enjoys those professional and free performances. But, before The Taming of the Shrew can take the stage under the stars, a little fundraising is needed. On April 8, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis presents a delightful afternoon of fun at the Zodiac Restaurant at Neiman Marcus, Plaza Frontenac. For just $55, attendees will enjoy a gourmet lunch, men’s and women’s fashion show and even a sneak peek at behind-the-scenes costume plans for this year’s performance, from noon to 2 p.m. It’s sure to sell out quickly, so contact Marilyn Spirt, Director of Development and Marketing 314-531-9800 ext. 102 or mspirt@sfstl.com now for reservations.
Early April also brings MOMIX to St. Louis in Botanica. Presented by Dance St. Louis at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, Botanica is a dazzling dance fantasy, reflecting nature through sensuous choreography and the psychedelic imagination of MOMIX creator and Pilobolus co-founder Moses Pendleton. Incorporating puppetry, props, light, shadow, acrobatic feats, Botanica is a series of short dance scenes which convey the course of the day, the rhythm of the seasons. According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, “It’s the IMAX version of dance theater.” Dance St. Louis’ slogan is accurate: Prepare to be WOWed! Call 314-534-6622 or visit www.dancestlouis.org to reserve your tickets.

While we’re thinking about nature, let’s all take a breath of spring air in celebration of Earth Day. Certainly Mother Nature’s springtime beauty is inspiration to be a little kinder toward the earth, recycle a little more, drive a little less, walk a little more. Plant a flower to add your own artistry to the earth. Make plans to attend the Earth Day Festival is April 17, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., on the Muny Grounds in Forest Park—it’s family-friendly and free.

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