Artful Living

Art Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

I get a lot of submissions for things to include in my ARTful Living column. Between issues, my email inbox fills up and is generally overflowing. (I’m sure trees rejoice now that we have become a paperless society!). So, I sort through all those submissions, making my selections of what to include in my column based on the same question every month: Is this art?

Sometimes the answer is clearly yes; sometimes it’s clearly no. But sometimes I’m not sure. I know, no matter how sophisticated your artistic background may be, every now and then you too may also be less-than-sure of what is and what isn’t art.

Elbert Hubbard once said, “Art is not a thing. It is a way.” With that in mind, I decided to include some clearly-art and a few is-this-art? events to help you to find the way of art. It’s all listed in my ARTful Happenings calendar.

When I received info from the St. Louis Science Center about some August events, my first thought was, “Not my department!” But, after I read further, I’m thinking that this is truly creative stuff. See if you don’t agree:

On August 3 from 6-10 p.m., the Science Center presents Nano Art. It’s a chance to get creative with science. Visitors can explore microscopy, the science and art of using microscopes to create images that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The photography exhibit “uncovers the hidden beauty of the very small,” the Science Center staff explained. If you use a macro lens for photography, you’ll understand this. Now think macro-macro lens.

In addition, the first Friday of every month offers activities and demonstrations throughout the Science Center, plus a free science fiction movie at 10 p.m. Fun! Free public telescope viewing is available in the James S. McDonnell Planetarium for twinkling natural art. Following the 10 p.m. OMNIMAX showing, there’s dancing at the Fizz Factory, with music by DJ Micro. Who says artists and scientists can’t find things in common?!

August 11 is Cheap Date Night at the Planetarium for the over-21 crowd. From 7-10 p.m., watch a classic sci-fi film, sip drinks, view a simulation of the Perseid meteor shower, and learn about the Greek myths associated with the Perseus constellation. All for just $10 a person. Get tickets at the door or in advance by calling 314-289-4424.

Through September 7, The Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles presents Ka-Pow!, an exhibit of comic book art. Curated by cartoonist and illustrator Phil McAndrew, the exhibition is free and open to the public. For info, call 6636-255-0270 or visit www.foundryartcentre.org.

On a serious note, Art Saint Louis presents Waiting, August 13-October 4, an exhibition of the watercolors by Muriel Eulich and the writings of Mary Ellen Havard, author of Breast Cancer: One Illness, Two Women, Four Seasons. According to Robin Hirsch, Gallery Director, this exhibit showcases “the truth, pain and beauty of the powerful women who fight breast cancer… Together, these artists of paint and page have created a unique viewing experience…..While no two women’s journeys with breast cancer are the same, both artists explore the pain, the struggle, the anguish { along with} the beauty and liveliness of those with breast cancer.”

I paused to count the number of friends I know who have battled breast cancer, and the number is upsettingly high. Maybe share this exhibition with women you know, too. Opening reception is August 11, 6-8 p.m. Art Saint Louis is located at 555 Washington Avenue. For details, call 314-241-4810 or visit www.artstlouis.org.

Each summer, I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to work with young artists in several different summer enrichment programs. I came to a lifelong career in art partly as the result of a professional artist visiting my school. So I consider this my way of giving back, maybe inspiring some budding Picasso to pursue a career in the arts. At the very least, I hope to instill an appreciation for art in those students. I’ve been teaching these workshops and courses for many years. The students I work with are different every year. They are diverse, of varying ages and abilities. It’s fun to watch them develop their own style. I am always surprised at what they create from purely innate ability. They remind me that art really is a way, sometimes it’s the process that makes the end result so artistic, and truly the eye of the beholder determines what is “art.”

In what museum will you find the painting featured this month? I think Katie’s mom hung it in the breakfast room for now. It could be worth a fortune once she grows up!