ArtFul Living

St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts
Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

Welcome 2014!

With the start of a new year comes the chance to start fresh, to try new things, to make changes in one’s life. Let ART be the vehicle to bring that innovative approach to your new year. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

I’m old enough to remember when the “Wizard of Oz” was a once-a-year television treat. The neighbor kids would come over and we’d crowd around the television, eagerly waiting to be awed by Glinda the beautiful Good Witch and the vibrant colors of Oz, to be frightened by the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys, and to sing along with the Munchkins about the yellow brick road. It was thrilling. Just last month, while at the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., I was reminded of this movie’s place in the collective American psyche as crowds thronged around a case displaying “the” ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the film. Although things have changed quite a bit since that time, this month brings the opportunity to relive that delightful American fairytale in a charmingly different manner: live, through dance.

Choreographed by Ballet Memphis’ choreographic associate Steven McMahon, Dorothy wears red pointe shoes as she and her trio of friends—the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion—journey down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, each in search of something different: a heart, a brain, courage and the chance to return home. Look for all the favorites, including Munchkin played by 20 local dancers from COCA. The traditional Oz costumes—Dorothy’s blue gingham dress and Glinda’s sparkling pink gown—plus music by British composers Gustav Holst, Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughn Williams, the beautiful, fresh and heartwarming ballet captures and exudes the true magic of Wizard of Oz, January 24-25 at the Touhill Center for Performing Arts on UMSL’s campus. Ballet Memphis is recognized as one of the most groundbreaking small dance companies in America. This is a performance not to be missed! Thanks to Dance St. Louis for bringing such innovative performances to St. Louis. For details, visit www.dancestlouis.org. but hurry — these performances will sell out quickly.

You’ll also want to also snag tickets for January 25’s performance of the Festival of Four. Returning to St. Louis for a fifth time, for one night only, these awesome musicians are beloved around the world for their joyful playing of folk and traditional music of many countries, performed on a variety of flutes and fretted instruments from around the world. Chilean-born flutist Viviana Guzman studied with both James Galway and Jean-Pierre Rampal, plus performed with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project. Hailing from the Czech Republic, Radim Zenkl is truly one of the world’s premier mandolin virtuosos, winner of the U.S. National Mandolin Championship in 1992. Flamenco guitar virtuoso Guillermo Rios, a student of the legendary Sabicas, spent seventeen years performing and touring throughout the world with Spain’s leading flamenco artists. Last but certainly not least, classical guitarist Richard Patterson is a featured performer on over twenty recordings, cumulatively has sold over 1,000,000 copies. Presented by Guitar St. Louis in Collaboration with the Hispanic Arts Council, at the Ethical Society on Clayton. Chase the winter chills with some hot music! More info at www.guitarstlouis.net

2014 marks Craft Alliance’s 50th Anniversary year—congratulations to this St. Louis jewel!! With locations both in the Delmar Loop and in Grand Center, Craft Alliance offers classes and exhibitions of fine craft. The 14th Biennial Teapot Exhibition opens the year long celebrations on January 10 with a reception from 6-8 p.m. at the 6640 Delmar location. Explore the creative possibilities of the humble teapot—-you’ll never see a teapot in quite the same light again! Details at www.craftalliance.org.

While we’re celebrating anniversaries, congratulations to the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis on its 10th anniversary. The sleek structure on Washington Boulevard in Grand Center houses changing exhibits that cause us to stretch, to think, to explore art in very new ways. If you don’t know CAM, here are Ten Artist Highlights from the Past Decade:

  1. First solo exhibitions for promising new artists
  2. Great Rivers Biennial: launching local artists onto a world platform
  3. Art everywhere, even the bathrooms
  4. A good slap in the name of art
  5. Limited editions by artists, so visitors can enjoy the exhibitions at home
  6. Reimagining and redefining art
  7. Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about Andy Warhol…
  8. Artwork on the inside AND the outside
  9. Newly commissioned artwork not exhibited anywhere else
  10. The Front Room for very, very frequently changing exhibitions.

Don’t miss the opening of new exhibitions at CAM on January 24, 7-9 p.m.