St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor


Celebrating My Fifth Year With Healthy Planet


With a new year comes a new calendar, always a good time to review the past year.

Anniversaries, however, encourage us to think over a longer period of time.

I wrote my first ARTful Living column for The Healthy Planet in the January 2006 issue. As I begin my sixth year on the job, I’m pleased with changes during the years. The Healthy Planet has always been dedicated to the “green” movement and we’re all thrilled to see those concepts become so mainstream. From my viewpoint, I’m delighted to witness the growth of the St. Louis arts scene.  St. Louis embraces the arts from Grand Center to ArtSpace in Crestwood to the expansion of the St. Louis Art Museum. A few scattered galleries have grown into art-filled areas of town. I love it!!

There’s no chance for winter blah’s with the area full of intriguing, ARTful experiences. Pull on your boots, pile on the fleece and head out for some ARTful adventures.

January 7 is opening night for Metro Theatre Company’s presentation of THE GIVER, an extraordinary play based on the best-selling book by Lois Lowry.  It’s mysterious, memorable and haunting, and it comes to life on stage for the first time in St. Louis through playwright Eric Coble’s adaptation.  THE GIVER tells the powerful story of twelve-year old Jonas, selected by the elders of his community to be the new Receiver of Memory. The old man known as The Giver has held the memory of all that has been stripped away – poverty, pain, war, strife – and now he must pass on that burden. Little by little, Jonas discovers the community has systematically given up much of what gives life its meaning: Color, music, truth and love. At the end of the story, Jonas faces a decision that will define him and set a path toward hope.  “THE GIVER is a modern classic that should be read and discussed by any thinking person, regardless of age, said Tim Wadham, assistant director for Youth and Community Services for the St. Louis County Library. “(It) brings generations together.” The play is recommended for audiences of 10 years and older, with performances through January 23, so make this a family outing to inspire discussion all winter long.

Or try a riddle: What do the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Circus Flora have in common? The answer could be “nothing,” but on January 8-9, the answer is “everything!!” These two St. Louis favorites team up to present three first-time-ever joint performances to celebrate Circus Flora’s 25th anniversary indoors at Powell Hall. Imagine live circus performance with live symphony music! Call 314-534-1700 or visit www.slso.org to reserve your special seats right now.

Make definite plans to attend the concert by Tim Callobre, presented by the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society on January 22. This incredibly talented guitarist has collected award after award (and they’re all First Place!) until he performed at Carnegie Hall for the PBS series “From the Top-Live at Carnegie Hall” as part of the White House Music Series. He began his fabulous career at the tender age of 12 when he won the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) Youth Solo Classical Guitar Competition and he’ll wow you now! You’ll hear his name for years to come, because this destined-to-be-great guitarist is only…17 years old!!! Don’t miss his performance at the Ethical Society. Call 314-567-5566 or visit www.guitarstlouis.net for tickets.

Roughly translated, Taiko means “big drums” – and that’s exactly what Taikoza delivers on January 29.  The group combines thunderous rhythms of ancestral Japanese drums with delicate melodies of bamboo flutes to revitalize an art form pulsing with energy.  And the stunning sound of the drums is but one dramatic feature of a Taikoza performance.  Dancers in vivid, traditional costumes create a dynamic aspect as powerful for the eyes as the Taiko drums are for the ears.  It all happens at the Touhill Center for the Performing Arts on UMSL campus.

On January 24, the Arts and Education Council honors its 2011 St. Louis Arts Award recipients, all individuals or organizations who achieve a legacy of artistic excellence along with businesses that enrich the arts and cultural community.

“We are delighted with this year’s honorees,” said Cynthia Prost, President of the Arts and Education Council. “They truly represent the breadth and depth of the arts community in St. Louis, as the corporations, organizations and people that make it possible.”

Congratulations to the 2011 Honorees:  Wells Fargo Advisors (Corporate Support of the Arts), Christian B. Peper (Excellence in Philanthropy), Paul Reuter (Arts Innovator), Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (Excellence in the Arts), Wayne Salomon (Art Educator of the Year), Mae Wheeler (Lifetime Achievement in the Arts), Karen Duffy (Champion for Literary Arts). Learn about the Arts and Education Council at www.KeepArtHappening.org.