ArtFul Living

with Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky

“We are many but we are one”… the variety of ART

Opening on September 20 is the Quilt National 2013 exhibition at St. Louis University Museum of Art on Lindell. This biennial show includes work by artists in 27 states and 7 countries. The 85 works selected for Quilt National 2013 were chosen from 851 submitted works, showcasing the best of the best in a truly beautiful setting.

The artistry done with needle and thread in this touring exhibition is impressive—definitely not the kind of quilts Grandma made! Work by two Missouri artists (Luanne Rimel of St. Louis and Pan RuBert of Springfield) are included. The reception runs 6-8 p.m.; the exhibition remains through October 27. For info, call 314-977-2666.

September 11 is a date deeply etched into the nation’s history. The day will be remembered in a most special way at Third Annual September 11th Interfaith Commemoration in Music, An Appreciation of Religious Diversity, on September 8. The free program is presented by Art & Faith St. Louis, a collaborative of St. Louis arts and faith, and has drawn standing room only crowds every year.

“Through the common language of music, this event brings together the Arts and Faith Communities of St. Louis in their shared search for peace, understanding and respect in order to build a more harmonious St. Louis,” says Carolyn Losos, Chair, Arts & Faith. Senator John Danforth elegantly explained the concept behind the event in his opening remarks at the inaugural concert in 2011. “From our earliest days, the great challenge of America has been to create a common bond, and hold together a diverse people. We are many, but we are one.”

The impressive musical line-up features renowned Grammy-winning soprano Christine Brewer, Grammy-winning jazz pianist Peter Martin, St. Louis Symphony Concertmaster David Halen, and the St. Louis Children’s Choirs. Additionally, musical representatives from Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Mormon, and Muslim faith groups will participate. Sister Mary Jean Ryan, founder of SSM Health Care, will provide opening reflections. The Pipe and Drums Corps plus the St. Louis County Police honor guard will present the colors; Charles Glenn will sing the National Anthem.

The concert begins 5:30 pm, Sunday, September 8 in the historic Sheldon Concert Hall at 3648 Washington Blvd. For more information, visit www.artsfaithstl.org.

Tapestry of Com-munity Offerings (TOCO) assists children and families in need through green and community partnerships in order to build a strong, diverse, sustainable future. One of the programs this group hosts is TOCO Sponsorships in the Arts, which gives students the means to participate in dance, music, and other artistic endeavors by providing monthly lessons, teachers and equipment. Most of the children in the program have recently suffered the loss of a parent. The goal is for these children to flourish and see an improvement in the quality of their lives. TOCO achieves that goal through the operation of a resale shop and grass-roots events fundraising.

September 27-28 is the 12th consecutive year for the TOCO Family Festival, featuring music, art activities, food and camping – what a combination! The focus is family fun, so pack up the kids and head to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, by Six Flags in Eureka. Over 26 bands are scheduled to perform over the weekend. There will be a Campsite Decorating Contest, Costume Contest, Parade Float Decorating Contest, Collective Arts Project, Kids’ Concerts, performances and workshops by St. Louis Music & Science Teachers and more. For tickets or info, visit www.tocofestival.org or call 618-257-TOCO (8626).

Wouldn’t it be fun to peak into the personal sketchbooks of DaVinci or Rembrandt or Warhol, to hold those books in your hand? That’s the concept behind The Sketchbook Project, organized by the Art House Co-Op in 2006. The project seeks to “to create a collection of work that represents the current state of artists worldwide,” according to co-founder Steven Peterman.

Artists from around the globe are provided with sketchbooks each year, a theme for focus, and asked to fill the books. Completed sketchbooks then go on a continental tour for one year. “It’s like a taco truck or a music concert, but with sketchbooks,” quips Steven. The books land in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library in New York, currently 27,747 books representing artists from 130 countries. The new 2013 additions to this vast collection were here in St. Louis in August. But, if you missed seeing them in person, 13,992 sketchbooks from previous years are archived in the Digital Library at www.thesketchbookproject.com . “We lost track on how many coffees we drank,” Sara Peterman added. This project might be organized by artists, but they revel in statistics! I’m proud to be one of the Sketchbook artists.