ArtFul Living: September is Opening Month For Many Shows

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

September signals the opening of school, the opening of a (hopefully!) cooler season and, best of all, the opening of new exhibitions and performances.

Have you ever wanted to collaborate with an artist to create a piece of art that draws public attention? What would it be like to say “That’s my face in the painting.” What about saying “Hey, that’s my shirt in the sculpture.” Here’s your chance to do just that. From now until Saturday, September 10, you can be part of Undress for Art, sponsored by Craft Alliance. No, you won’t be asked to strip, but artists Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz invite members of the St. Louis community to donate their unwanted dresses, shirts, shoes and any other clothing items to be used in their upcoming exhibition Follow the Leader. The Cuban-born artists, who call themselves Guerra de la Paz, will use the donated clothing to create a huge installation exhibition which opens at CA’s Grand Center location on September 16. What a way to be artistic and practical (by cleaning out your closet) all at the same time!  Any clothing not incorporated into the work will be donated to Goodwill Industries. The public is also invited to watch as the artists “sculpt” on site with the items from September 7 through September 15. Donate your old clothing by Sept. 10 at either Craft Alliance location: 501 N. Grand or 6640 Delmar. Now that’s participatory art! Learn more at www.guerradelapaz.com. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with Innovations in Textiles.

A truly exception exhibition, Reflections of the Buddha, opens on September 9 at The Pulizer. Pan-Asian images of Buddha from across the centuries are being loaned for exhibition in St. Louis, many for the first time. The serenity of The Pulitzer itself offers a most appropriate setting for this exhibition, which runs through March 9. Details at www.pulitzerarts.org.

The annual Taste of St. Louis invites you to munch on treats from St. Louis’ best restaurants while you shop for great art in all price ranges. This year’s event is September 23-25 downtown at Veterans Memorial. Admission is free; purchase the munchies and drinks you prefer, watch local chefs compete in culinary competition, listen to live music—and be sure to pick out a piece or two of original art. Visit www.tastestl.com for details.

It’s no secret that one of my favorite annual events in St. Louis is Dancing in the Street on September 24 from 1-9 p.m. There’s just nothing that can compare to dozens and dozens of dance companies kicking up their heels on Grand Boulevard all day and night long—and the event is free! Four outdoor stages host the live performances from 1-6 p.m. with open dance from 6-9 p.m. This year’s national act is Quixotic Fusion from Kansas City. Prepare to be awed by their aerial and site-specific performances at the Grandell Theatre at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Find the complete list of dance companies at www.grandcenter.org.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Best of Missouri Market at Missouri Botanical Garden. Vendors, artists, plant growers and food producers from across the state create the once-a-year market under  big white tents on the evening of Friday, September 30 (new this year!) plus all day Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2. In addition to the regular Market activities, there will be a special art exhibit, “Best of Missouri Painters,” presented by Kodner Gallery.  The theme for the painting exhibit is “Missouri Trees,” and will run through November 13 in Ridgeway Center. The Market is a tasty, lively, artsy atmosphere so come early and go home late. You’ll love it!

Fifty years ago, a wonderful group of talented women singers came together to lift their collective voices as St. Louis Harmony Chorus. The group continues to entertain and to instruct local singers in the fine art of barbershop style, 4-part acappella music. In celebration of that half-century mark, the Chorus performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 1 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in a program aptly titled “SOLID GOLD.” Guest performers include the world-renowned quartet Ambiance as well as River Blenders from Chesterfield. “Wait until you see their completely costumed and choreographed acappella version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller!” said  Tina Knipp of the Chorus. Reserve your ticket now at www.touhill.org before the performance sells out.