There’s “LOTS” to See and Do in the Arts World Coming Up Soon

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

Have you ever noticed that vacant lot on Washington, across the street from The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts? Rather than seeing a vacant lot, the Pulitzer staff viewed it as a blank canvas. Joining with the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University for the PXSTL design-build competition, LOTS was created. Designed by Freecell Architecture, LOTS is a temporary structure which serves as a destination for activity on the formerly vacant space. During the opening celebration on May 9 (7-9 p.m.), activities will include a dance performance by students from Grand Center Arts Academy’s top dance ensemble as well as a conversation with grant recipients for community programs.

While visiting LOTS, notice the many art venues in the vibrant Grand Center area. If you care to see more and get some exercise at the same time, mark your calendar for May 31. The Tour de Museum, guided by Trailnet, leads bicyclists of all ages through St. Louis on a fun route that gives riders tours, programs and activities at some of the city’s best museums. The route includes stops at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, the St. Louis Art Museum and the World Chess Hall of Fame. The tour is absolutely free (except for the calories you’ll burn!) but registration is required. Riders register at the Kemper Art Museum on the Washington University campus, starting at 10 a.m.; the ride departs at 10:30 a.m. After a too-long winter, it’s a welcome relief to get outdoors and “do.”

So take a stroll at Missouri Botanical Garden. Sean Kenney is a certified Master LEGO builder who does incredible sculptures with those tiny blocks that the parents of young children instantly recognize. The Climatron and the Shoenberg Temperate House are the setting for the show entitled, “Nature Connect 2.0.” Giant, colorful sculptures celebrate nature in a way to charm every age, from May 24 through September 7.

This year’s Shakespeare Festival St. Louis planned to give its attendees a double-outdoor-treat with not one, but TWO of the bard’s best plays. Henry IV, Parts 1& 2, written originally as two separate plays, have been edited to fit into one evening. That play opens on May 17, directed by Tim Ocel. Henry V, directed by newly appointed SFSTL associate artistic director Bruce Longworth, opens on May 24. The productions continue on alternate evenings and each is produced to stand alone as complete evenings of theater. Two double-feature Saturdays — June 7 and June 14 –give audiences the opportunity to see both plays back-to-back during a matinee/evening performance.

According to Directors Bruce Longworth and Tim Ocel, the chance to play the whole arc, from Prince Hal in Henry IV Part 1 through Henry V, is a rare one. “Every actor wants to complete the story, and this offers the chance to do so,” Longworth said. St. Louis native Jim Butz plays the expansive role of Prince Hal/King Henry V.

“Jim totally understands the progression of the young Prince Hal into King Henry V,” Ocel said. “As a human being, he has access to all the parts of his youth, but also has the reality and sins of being a grown-up. When you couple that with being a skilled and intelligent actor, it makes for an exciting time in the rehearsal hall, and a terrific journey through a good decade of history.”

A must-see for May is Dance St. Louis’ Spring to Dance. Where else can you see cutting-edge dance performances by 30 professional companies from across the country without breaking your budget (Really? Just $15 a night?!). The lineup changes each night, so you’ll want to attend at the Touhill Performing Arts Center more than one night.

Each month, I tout all the ARTful opportunities that are offered in St. Louis, but there’s only space in our printed magazine for a shortened version of ARTful Happenings. So… ARTful Happenings has happily moved ONLINE to www.TheHealthyPlanet.com. Now you’ll see a larger, expanded list to fulfill your ARTful cravings every month. Plus, with a smart phone in hand, you’ll have that wonderful list at your fingertips anytime, wherever you go! We know you’re gonna like it!