Artful Living

With Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky

Healthy Planet Arts Editor


Summer just goes hand-in-hand with nature


The beauty of the great outdoors fills the season with color, texture and light.

Haven’t we all been impressed by an outdoor view and thought “I should paint that!” or “I wish I had a camera with me!” What better way to experience summer than through the pairing of natural outdoor beauty and art?

Opening July 8 is an exhibition combining the unique beauty of our confluence rivers with a handpicked group of the best plein air artists in the region. Kodner Gallery presents “Our Great Waterways: The Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers” with an opening reception from 6:30-10 p.m. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of works in this exhibition will go to the St. Louis Confluence Riverkeeper organization, founded by conservationist Mike Bush (Visit www.stlriverkeepers.org for more info about this group).

“Each year interest in conservation significantly increases, “ said David Kodner, co-owner of the gallery located at 9650 Clayton Road. “We believe this is an ideal time to recognize the artists who have been immersed in the plein air movement recording the beauty of our natural resources.”

The selected artists represent the best Missouri talent in the plein air (paintings done on site, outdoors) movement. Throughout the seasons, these artists worked to capture the rivers in a variety of settings and surroundings. The list of artists is impressive, including Richard and Theresa Allison, Bixby Childress, Charlie Edelman, Jim Harris, Bryan Haynes, Catherine Mahoney, Billyo O’Donnell, Joseph Orr, Joan Parker, Kevin Robb, James Godwin Scott and Dan Woodward. In addition to this list of American painters is Yingxue Zuo, a native of China where he was a professor at the College of Fine Art at both Northeast Normal University and Hainan Normal University. Currently, Zuo is Chair of the Art Department at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park.

“What really excites me about this group,” noted David Kodner, “ is that each artist brings his or her own unique style to this exhibit, and the result not only captures the dynamic beauty of our region, but also conveys the importance of our natural resources, a cause we share with the Riverkeeper organization.” The exhibition continues through August 1. Visit www.kodnergallery.com for more details.

Summer is certainly synonymous with summer concerts. Many parks in our region offer summer music series, but Parties in the Park is an area favorite. The “party” on July 13 begins at 5 p.m. on Meramec in Clayton, between Forsyth Boulevard and Maryland Avenue. Admission is always free, but you’ll find food vendors to satisfy any after-work hunger, along with drink specials to quench your thirst. Music by Griffin and the Gargoyles goes until 8:30 p.m. so plan to stay awhile. For details, call the Clayton Chamber of Commerce at 314-726-3033 or visit www.partiesinthepark.org.

Thursdays @ the Intersection happen every Thursday evening this summer in Strauss Park, just across from the Fox Theatre in Grand Center. There’s live music each night at 6 p.m., followed by a free film at 8:30 p.m. For a listing of who’s performing and what’s being shown, check out www.grandcenter.org.

With the celebration of America’s Independence Day this month, we are again reminded of those who currently serve in our nation’s military. This summer, as part of the Blue Star Museums program, Contemporary Art Museum offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 2011.

“The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is honored to be able to offer free admission to our country’s military personnel and their families as a gesture of thanks for everything they do for us,” said Director Paul Ha. “St. Louis is home to several military facilities and we are proud to participate in this important national partnership.” For details about the Contemporary located at 3750 Washington, visit www.camstl.org.

“Blue Star Museums may be the program at National Endowment for the Arts of which I am proudest,” commented NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “Blue Star Museums recognizes and thanks our military families for all they are doing for our country, and simultaneously begins young people on a path to becoming life-long museum goers.”

Over 1,300 museums across the United States are participating in this year’s program. To see the complete list, visit www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

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