ArtFul Living

With Michelle “Mike” Ochonick
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

As flowers explode with color in May, so does the ARTS scene in St. Louis!

One look at the ARTful Happenings calendar will prove how many opportunities to experience the arts fill this month.

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts presents the first exhibition devoted exclusively to Donald Judd’s multicolored works, opening on May 10. “It is my intention to create more awareness for this body of work, which embodies Judd’s most comprehensive and complex approach to color,” says curator Marianne Stockebrand. “Bold and striking color combinations work to express industrial color in three dimensions. I am happy that we can present a range of his color interests through a selection of works so different in size, structure and color combinations.”

Donald Judd was an American painter, sculptor and writer, born in 1928 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. He designed furniture, made prints, founded the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. Judd died in New York City in 1994.

Curator Marianne Stockebrand was director of the Chinati Foundation from 1994-20110.
To mark the opening of the exhibition, Tyler Green, editor of Modern Art Notes and producer and host of Modern Art Notes Podcast, is taping a live-audience interview with Marianne Stockebrand on Friday, May 16 at the Pulitzer. Learn more at www.pulitzerarts.org.

The month is filled with great performing arts, but nothing says “It’s May” like Spring to Dance. It’s awesome! Dance St. Louis treats the metro region to nonstop performances, May 23-25 by thirty professional dance companies. Different dance companies are presented each day at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on UMSL’s campus (free parking, too). The diversity of dance styles — from tap to ballet to cutting-edge contemporary — is sure to offer something to please everyone.

“What’s unique about this year’s SPRING TO DANCE® is that 16 of the companies are new to the festival,” says Michael Uthoff, artistic and executive director of Dance St. Louis. “So while there are some returning favorites like Chicago Human Rhythm Project and MOMENTA, there are also new participants like Camille A. Brown from Durham, North Carolina and Robert Moses’ Kin and others from San Francisco.”

Dance demonstrations in the lobby begin each day at 5:30 p.m.; theatre performances begin at 6 p.m. Oh, wow!! At just $15 per day (that’s right: a day-full of performances for just $15), you’ll want to go every day. Want to know more? Visit www.dancestlouis.org.

And you definitely will want to take in a performance during the 13th Annual Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Forest Park is the gorgeous outdoor setting for this year’s production of the Bard’s beloved comedy, “Twelfth Night,” May 24 through June 16. I’m proud to say I’ve never missed a year!

The Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra, a St. Louis group that composes and records soundtrack music for silent films, will create the music for the Festival. “Music is such an integral part to the storytelling in ‘Twelfth Night,’” said Rick Dildine, executive director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. “Rats & People have been using music to tell stories for quite some time. I was amazed at their inventiveness, quirkiness, and skills. They are the perfect group to help bring live music to Shakespeare Glen.”

This year, a change in the positioning of the stage will wrap around the center picnic section, bringing the actors (and raucous fun!) closer to the audience. Hanging lanterns and other special lighting will add to the atmosphere. Pack a picnic and chairs, or buy a gourmet meal and rent chairs there–either way, it’s guaranteed to be an evening you’ll love. For more information, please visit www.sfstl.com or call 314-531-9800.

The month closes out with the 27th season of beloved Circus Flora, May 30-June 23 under the air-conditioned Big Top in Grand Center. This year’s performance is based on Georges Melies’ classic film, “A Trip to the Moon.” Guaranteed to soar, whether to the moon or just to the top of the tent, Circus Flora is a treat for the entire family. Not your ordinary circus, mind you! For tickets, call 314-289-4040 or visit www.circusflora.org.

To moms, Happy Mother’s Day! To graduates, Congrats! And to my husband, Happy Birthday!