By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky

Healthy Planet Arts Editor



Handmade works make heart-filled gifts. They tell the recipient that you really care enough to seek out that so-special, one-of-a-kind gift. Skip the malls this year to make your gifts true expressions of creativity.


Mark your calendar now for December 3 and 4 as well when The Foundry Art Centre will hosts Big Red Box, a show and sale of gift-able holiday items Friday and Saturday, December 3 and 4.  Over 20 Juried artists from The Best of Missouri Hands (the best in the state!) will present their work in the festively-decorated Foundry, located on the north end of historic Main Street.  Free gift-wrapping, refreshments, and entertainment are all part of the event.  This year’s shoppers will be delighted by a free performance of classics and holiday favorites performed by The St. Louis Classical Guitar Society on Friday evening, December 3 from 7 – 9.  Shopping hours for the event are Friday, December 3, 4pm – 9pm and Saturday, December 4, 10am – 5pm.  No sales tax is charged on purchases made during this event, so you’ll save $$$ on purchases made here. Buying direct from the artist allows you to get “the whole story” about how your special selection was created. Won’t that make for a great story at your holiday party?   The Big Red Box is in its 5th year and is family-friendly and fully accessible, with lots of adjacent free parking on the private lot.  The Foundry Art Centre is located at 520 North Main Centre in St. Charles, Missouri, just 5 minutes from the I -70 Bridge.  For info, call 636-255-0270 or visit www.foundryartcentre.org.


Following the great response to last year’s inaugural event, PHD Gallery hosts “GIFTED 2010,” on December 4 &5 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. The gallery, located at 2700 Cherokee Street, will be filled with works, in all price ranges, of over a dozen noted local artists. Original oil paintings, textile art, scrimshaw, ceramics, jewelry, photography and limited edition prints from names such as Mark Weber, Jim Sabo, Ruth Ann Reese, Casey Rae, Marsha Sanguinette & Susan Nanny, Nick Prinster, Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky (oh, that’s me!), Janet Mueller, Noel Leicht, David Lancaster, Raymond Houston, Mark Florida, and Jerry Breakstone. While you’re there, check out the 27th Annual Antique Row Cookie Spree with its music, festivities and old-fashioned yuletide charm . Find details at www.phdstl.com or call 314-664-6644.


Along with the visual delights of the season, there are concerts galore this month. If it’s true that music stirs the soul, you won’t want to miss filling your holidays with festive sounds. Check out my ARTful Happenings to find the perfect concert to put you in the spirit of the season. Please remember that we only have room to print some of the events that occur each month. You’ll find a FULL listing of EVERYTHING that’s going on at www.thehealthyplanet.com/dec2010-_arthappenings.htm.


I must, however, note one special performance this month: On December 17, the St. Louis Art Museum presents “Here I Stand,” by rising operatic star Lester Lynch in an  “Art After 5” Concert in the Grigg Gallery. Recognized for a voice that is commanding and rich, Lester Lynch will perform a tribute to the music of legendary singer, activist, athlete and actor Paul Robeson (1898-1976). The performance is free but sure to be crowded, so arrive before it starts at 7 p.m. Get there early enough to view the current featured exhibition, Joe Jones, Painter of the American Scene. Details at www.slam.org.


Do you miss those beautiful blooms in your garden? Take in “Holiday Rooms in Bloom” at the historic Samuel Cupples House on the campus of St. Louis University! The area’s premiere florists decorate the rooms and areas of this magnificent Richardsonian mansion with fresh blossoms for the season. Doors open at 5 p.m. on December 9. The Cupples House Christmas tree will be illuminated at 5:45 p.m., featuring Tom Sudholt of Classic 99 fame. Holiday music performed by Decadence, the SLU music department a capella group make the night special indeed. The mansion will also be open on Friday, December 10 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., until 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 11 and until 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 12. More info at http://cupples.slu.edu or call 314-977-2666.


I wish every Healthy Planet reader a joyful, peace-filled holiday season. No matter what holiday tradition you observe, I hope you find reason to celebrate the specialness of this time with those who mean the most to you.


See you at First Night’s FANTASEA in Grand Center on December 31!