ART Makes The World A Better Place

By Michelle “ Mike” Ochonicky
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

The arts make us more expressive, more understanding, more inclusive. See if you don’t agree:

Bryan Haynes is a well-known, local artist recognized for his works depicting Missouri scenes. He’s done some great historically-inspired paintings of the Lewis and Clark journey. But there’s another reason to recognize Bryan Haynes. In August, Bryan collaborated with pediatric patients at Rankin Jordan Pediatric Hospital in the art therapy program sponsored by Kodner Gallery. Regular readers of this column may remember that a few years ago, the funds I raised during my participation in the St. Louis “GO!” Half-Marathon were contributed to this worthy art program. Allowing children to express themselves through art is important, but it’s especially meaningful to those struggling with illness. The final product created by the children at Ranken Jordan with Bryan’s guidance will be presented to the hospital in November. Bryan’s own work can be viewed in his solo show which opens October 5 at Kodner Gallery in Clayton.

Starbucks Coffee again teams up with Music for Lifelong Achievement (MFLA) on October 1 to “Keep the Music Playing” by collecting used instruments for disadvantaged students throughout the region. Donated instruments will be repaired and provided to local schools and community music programs for young musicians who could not otherwise afford an instrument. MFLA, a nonprofit organization based at the Sheldon Concert Hall, is committed to “Keep the Music Playing” in the lives of young people throughout the metro area. Since 2010, over 500 musical instruments have been collected, refurbished and distributed to area youth. So, clean out your closet or attic. Let an instrument that’s collecting dust at your house sing again in the hands of an aspiring young musician. You’ll get a tax-deduction, more room in your closet and help to “Keep the Music Playing” for future generations. Drop off instruments at Starbucks; the drive continues through November 4.

Collaborations can be wonderful things, especially for the arts. October 5 through 21 is the third annual American Arts Experience-St. Louis, connecting artists from across mediums. The aim of the grassroots “event” is to link a variety of ARTful events, to draw attention to the quality and breadth of the arts in our area. Similar collaborations are taking place across the U.S. during this time, too.

“In a tough economy, we felt it was challenging to create a traditional festival, where organizations must relocate to a different space,” said Paul Reuter, founder of the festival and executive director of The Sheldon. “But with the American Arts Experience, artists get to work in their own environments, which gives them more creative freedom.”

Just a few of the events scheduled during this time include the Best of Missouri Market at Missouri Botanical Garden, Native American exhibits at the St. Louis Art Museum; a new initiative by Dance St. Louis; a musical tribute to Rosemary Clooney at the History Museum; a world premiere play at COCA; and that’s just a start! Take in some of the ARTful Happenings, listed fully at www.TheHealthyPlanet.com, to help celebrate the ARTS in our area.

Speaking of celebrations, happy birthday to some ARTful favorites marking special milestones this month: ten terrific years of fiery, colorful ART for Third Degree Glass Factory and 100 wonderful years of performance excellence for The Sheldon Concert Hall. Congrats! You’ve helped to make St. Louis a more ARTful place!

The Healthy Planet also extends a warm St. Louis welcome to Gretchen Wagner, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts’ newly appointed curator. She most recently served as assistant curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Said Wagner, “A space for both speculation and contemplation, the Pulitzer provides a distinct platform for curatorial experimentation and the innovative presentation of art representing a diversity of disciplines, formats, and geographies. There is extraordinary potential here to engender new experiences and provide audiences with opportunities to encounter and engage with works unlike at any other institution.” The Pulitzer is located at 3716 Washington, open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.