ArtFul Living

With Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky

The Arts Gets Creative On Tight Budgets


Everyone struggles today to squeeze pennies but nonprofit arts institutions and organizations are real masters at making money go a long way.


At a time when finances are especially tight for nonprofit arts entities, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra has come up with a creative way to raise funds with Parties of Note. These innovative events are each very different, with a variety of times, locations and even pricing. Hold the Martini—But Not the Olives is an olive oil tasting and cooking demonstration at 6 p.m. in West County Shopping Center, for just $35. Shop ‘Til You Drop runs 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Galleria; for $75 you can enjoy a shopping tour of boutiques via a private limo, with a 3-course lunch at Jimmy’s on the Park. Or does Mausoleums, Mozart and Mojitos at 2 p.m. on August 8 intrigue you? It’a private tour of Bellefontaine Cemetary with two historians, mojitos and appetizers! There are a lot more memorable adventures to choose from; call 314-286-4468 or check the website at www.slso.org/pon. These fun events fill quickly, so don’t delay!


To help stretch those arts budgets, many nonprofits depend upon volunteers to operate. The Sheldon is currently seeking volunteers for the 2010-2011 season. It’s the perfect way to get closer to the performing arts, without having to dance, sing or act! The Sheldon opened its doors on Washington in 1912 as the home of The Ethical Society but, in 1988, it became a nonprofit concert hall run by The Sheldon Arts Foundation. There’s a volunteer position to suit everyone, from seating patrons at concerts and welcoming guests to the art galleries to office duties. Interested? Contact www.thesheldon.org or call 314-553-9900.


There’s a terrific live theatre conveniently located in ArtSpace (the former Crestwood Court Mall). Avalon Theatre’s season tickets go on sale August 16 at prices that won’t deplete your savings. Offerings for the 2010-2011 season include The Good Doctor by Neil Simon (November 11-21), The Price by Arthur Miller (February 3-13), and Agnes of God by John Pielmeier (April 28-May 8). Easy parking, level walking, intimate theater—such a deal! Visit www.avalontheatre.org or call 314-351-6482.


What can $15 or $20 buy? A whole evening of ARTful fun!! The St. Louis Artists’ Guild and ArtDimensions join again to present ArtD Tour. “If you are a connoisseur of art or just getting into the art scene, ArtD Tour is a great way to seen an abundance of art, galleries and museums in one night,” stated ArtDimensions Director Davide Weaver. ArtD Tourists hop to galleries and museums, via shuttles and buses to experience art, local food and wine at every stop. Check-in at the St. Louis Art Museum, watch artists at work, then board a bus for this artistic excursion. Select from two routes. Tickets for seats on a school bus are just $10 in advance ($15 on tour night), or ride in the lap of luxury aboard an air-conditioned shuttle for $20 ($25, tour night). Shuttle tickets include entry to the after-party (additional $5 for bus-riders) with music by DJ Chili C. Maybe even purchase a piece of the art created that evening by artists. Details at www.artdimensions.org or www.stlouisartistsguild.org.


Missouri Artisans Association/The Best of Missouri Hands, a statewide arts organization, just announced expansion of member benefits at a time when other groups are cutting back. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, MAA/BOMH leads the field in providing services to artists. General membership, a basic level open to anyone, is just $30 a year and includes benefits such as group health insurance, an online library, MAA Learning Center for online courses, a Marketplace advertising service for members, discounted shipping, hotel lodging and even vehicle rental programs—and that’s just part of the list! Visit www.bestofmissourihands.org to learn more.


Craft Alliance just announced new participants in their Artist-in-Residence program at the Kranzberg Arts Center.  Ceramicist Rachel Akin, fiber artist Mindy Sue Wittock and metalsmith Gwen Oulman-Brenna provide a chance for visitors to observe and learn firsthand from these artists. Just north of Lindell on Grand Avenue, this new, additional location for Craft Alliance is worth a visit.


Congrats to Philip Hitchcock of phd Gallery on Cherokee Street. The New York Times included this gallery as a don’t-miss location in a recent Travel section feature, 36 Hours in St. Louis. You shouldn’t miss it either!