ArtFul Living: St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

The American Arts Experience

The American Arts Experience began as a grassroots effort to raise awareness of the many, many aspects of the arts throughout our country. For 17 days this October, arts organizations and institutions present exhibitions, performances, concerts and all the other wonderful ARTful events that happen in our area collectively promoted under the banner of “The American Arts Experience.” I urge you to refer often this month to our online ARTful Happenings calendar to keep a handy list of aaaaalllll there is to do. It’s simply overwhelming! Learn more about The American Arts Experience at www.americanartsstl.org.

The American Arts Experience kicks off with the region’s favorite fall event at Missouri Botanical Garden: The Best of Missouri Market, October 3-5. Art, fine craft, local foods and beverages, music, family activities abound at the Garden as autumn weather arrives here in St. Louis. Stroll the tents, rain or shine. Meet new exhibitors and visit the perennial favorites; take home a treasure or two. The Market is a don’t-miss event. More info at www.mobot.org.

Also early in The American Arts Experience, on October 4, Laumeier Sculpture Park presents “Laune: A Dance Performance.” Even if you’ve missed it by the time you read this column, you’ve got to read about “Laune” (pronounced just like “lawn”):

Choreographer and 2015 Kranzberg Exhibition Series artist Ashley McQueen “honors the labor that goes into manicured lawns.” Through a series of performances using riding lawnmowers, McQueen’s dancers explore Laumeier’s unique relationship with the St. Louis County Parks staff and the care that goes into the landscape. Watch it happen at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., or visit www.laumeier.org to learn more after the event. It’ll change your outlook about mowing the lawn!

On October 10, Laumeier hosts the 6-9 p.m.opening reception of “Bugs,” an installation exhibition by local artist Tom Huck. Three interactive bug “springers” were designed by the artist based on his original woodcuts. Part of the Kranzberg Exhibition Series 2014, the monumental insects are Huck’s first public artwork, with a good dose of Huck’s typical mischief. On October 30, at 5:30 p.m., a Campfire Chat for the entire family will discuss the works.

On October 11, The Sheldon presents Chick Corea as part of the festival. This performer is a DownBeat Hall of Famer and NEA Jazz Master, as well as a 20-time Grammy winner (yes, that number is correct!!), the fourth most-nominated artist in the history of the Grammy has 61 nominations to his credit. Chick Corea has been in the business of jazz since embarking on his solo career in 1966. Renowned as a pianist, he forged new ground with his acoustic jazz bands and with his innovative electric keyboarding. A collaborator with such jazz greats as Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz and Stanley Clarke, Corea is himself a living jazz legend. Don’t miss the concert! Check www.TheSheldon.org for tickets, or call 314-534-1111.

Combining creativity with education is the focus of a special program at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis this fall. The Fundred Dollar Bill project, conceived by artist Mel Chin, invites St. Louisans to draw their own “dollars,” called Fundreds, at the museum. These will be added to similar Fundreds from across the United States and sent on to U.S. Congress. The goal is to raise awareness about lead poisoning, in hopes of funding more educational efforts. In conjunction with Chin’s major retrospective, Rematch (on view this fall), CAM will host Fundred drawing workshops on site and in St. Louis city and county schools. According to CAM, “This is a cross-curricular project that raises local and national awareness of lead pollution with the ultimate intention to promote real change.” Art can impact society and change it. There will be Fundred Dollar Drawing Workshops on October 3, 25, November 7 and November 5, all 7-8 p.m.

In celebration of autumnal fun, Third Degree Glass at 5200 Delmar hosts its annual Giant Pumpkin Blow and Pumpkin Death Match on October 17, 6-10 p.m. Glass artists from Third Degree take on those from Astral Glass in a firey attempt to create the biggest glass pumpkin. And one lucky attendee will win it! It’s a family-fun, free event, sure to put everyone in the Halloween mood. For details, call 314-367-4527 or visit www.stlglass.com.