ArtFul Living

With Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky

Healthy Planet Arts Editor


Art & Fine Craft Are A Part Of Everyday Life


We take a lot for granted, don’t we? Sometimes, we simply overlook what’s right in our backyard. That attitude changes this month.

October 1-10 marks the first-ever American Craft Week. This is a national grassroots celebration intended to raise awareness of handmade fine craft. The movement has grown as nationally-recognized organizations from coast to coast jumped on this bandwagon to tout functional American art.

Think of the pottery, carvings, glass, metal, fiber, and the many other beautiful handmade items that elevate your everyday life from ordinary to ARTful. Is it an intricately woven sweater? A colorful blown glass vase? A fanciful wrought iron gate? A ring on your finger?

Art doesn’t just hang in museums! And anything labeled “krafty” should never be confused with fine craft! Art and fine craft are a part of everyday life—and so they should be. Throughout history, art in all its various forms has provided the daily beauty that enhances life.  Visitors to Pompeii crowd to see the preserved mosaic floors of the ancient city.  European castles and cathedrals continue to draw visitors who marvel at woven tapestries and carved stone. Tourists in Morocco bring home prized leatherworks with delicately-embossed designs.  How can you celebrate American Craft Week? Visit www.americancraftweek.com to learn more. Support your local artists. Enhance your life with a useful, beautiful item….or two. Visit www.bestofmissourihands.org to locate Missouri’s best in fine craft.

Bringing that concept to embrace all the arts, the American Arts Experience is scheduled for October 1-17. This is a region wide celebration of arts and culture, sponsored by The Sheldon.

It all kicks off on September 30 with “State of the Arts Live and Uncut-The American Arts Experience,” 7:30-10 p.m. at The Sheldon Concert Hall. An exciting multi-media event will be broadcast live on HEC-TV (Charter Channel 989 and 118-26), AT&T U-Verse (Channel 99) and live-streamed at www.hectv.org. It’s an all-star line-up to feature St. Louis arts organization and performers.

You’ll also find numerous other special events listed in the ARTful Happenings calendar occurring October 1-17 throughout the region, from downtown St. Louis to Chesterfield, offering you the opportunity to experience American arts.

Part of the American Arts Experience is 60×60 Dance, co-presented by HEARding Cats Collective and The Sheldon On October 3 at The Sheldon Concert Hall. The event will also be broadcast live on HEC-TV’s State of the Arts Live.

Created by New York-based composer and new music impresario Robert Voisey, 60×60 Dance is a masterfully coordinated multimedia collaboration of surprising diversity. This incredible work combines 60 unique 60-second music compositions, each by a different composer, with 60 St. Louis choreographers for a continuous one-hour concert of music and live dance. The event/performance/concert (every term is appropriate!) showcases the finest dancers and choreographers in St. Louis and is best described as “an evening of magical abstract expression.” Visit www.thesheldon.org to learn more.

Got an old musical instrument that’s just collecting dust? “Keep the Music Playing” is a wonderful program that St. Louis-area Starbucks stores sponsor to encourage disadvantaged students throughout the region. Through October 15, you can drop off any new or used musical instrument at area Starbucks. As part of the Music for Lifelong Achievement (MFLA) Instrument Drive, the donated instruments will be repaired and distributed to local schools and community music programs for aspiring music students who could otherwise not afford an instrument. Over the past six years, the MFLA/Starbucks drives have collected over 500 instruments, all of which were recycled into St. Louis City and County school districts and music programs.

If you really don’t think you’ll ever play that tuba or drum set again, recycle it at Starbucks! As a thank-you, donors will receive a free Starbucks coffee beverage, and all donation is tax-deductible. Find out more at www.supportmfla.org or call 314-533-9900 ext.19.

Although St. Louis is packed with Artful activities this month, check out “Just a Short Drive” for ARTful fun on the ‘other’ side of the river as well.