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

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

Spring Into Art In St. Louis

The ARTful opportunities for this month have filled our ARTful Happenings calendar!

This month promises that spring is just around the corner (well, at least that’s what Puxsutawny Phil predicted), the “green” of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will sprout everywhere, and March 14 will mark my mother’s 90th birthday.

No artform was ever beyond my mother’s capabilies: Ruth could sew like a fashion designer, seldom using manufactured patterns. Her home was always decorated better than any professional interior designer could do. My mother instinctively understood the nuances of color, paint, texture and pattern. Meals were not only delicious but their presentation was magazine-photo-shoot quality. My mother took woodcarving classes and created some treasured works. She liked to draw. She was past 80 years of age when she took up photography, including some of her works in a three-generational exhibition with my son and me in 2009. My mother tackled every craft known to mankind, always with great results. She even sold some of her creations through a few area shops. My mother also wrote poetry; as I get older and read through her poems, I now realize how very gifted she was with written words. When I was a child, watching her dance at events such as weddings was awesome– and she made sure I was enrolled in ballet classes (although that grace-in-motion didn’t pass on to me!). Mom even tried her hand at playing the dulcimer. If it involved art of any kind, my mother was there!
Although she now deals with the limitations forced upon her, my mother still has a smile that Mona Lisa would envy. Happy Birthday, Mom!! You continue to prove that Elbert Hubbard was right: “Art is not a thing. It is a way.”

The month is filled with film as Cinema St. Louis presents the Eighth Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival. The partnership with TV5MONDE (the global French entertainment network) and Webster University Film Series results in a celebration of St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s cinematic legacy. Featured films span the decades from the 1920s through early 1990s, offering a comprehensive overview of French cinema.

According to Brian Spath of Cinema St. Louis, “The fest is annually highlighted by significant restorations, and we’re especially pleased to present Jacques Rivette’s long-unavailable epic “Out 1: Spectre.” Additional restoration highlights include Jean-Luc Godard’s “A Married Woman” and Max Ophüls’ too-little-seen “From Mayerling to Sarajevo.” Both Ophüls’ film and Louis Malle’s “Elevator to the Gallows” — with a jazz score by St. Louis-area native Miles Davis — screen from 35mm prints. Music fans will further delight in the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra’s accompaniment and original score for Carl Th. Dreyer’s masterful “The Passion of Joan of Arc.” Given recent events in Paris — the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the November 2015 attacks — we thought Mathieu Kassovitz’s prescient “Hate” was an essential choice for this year’s festival; the film will be accompanied by a round-table discussion. The schedule also includes such popular works as “Army of Shadows,” “Diabolique,” “La Cage aux Folles,” and “Rififi.” Every program features introductions and discussions by film scholars and critics.”

All films will be screened at Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium, 470 E. Lockwood. A full listing can be found at www.cinemastlouis.org. On se voit la-bas!

On March 19, enjoy Coffee & Conversation: Artistic Gardens at Laumeier Sculpture Park. Master Gardener Yvette Luedde will offer an inspirational look at gardens throughout the world. Landscape principles plus shared ideas for creating unique personal gardens and even a video-visit to Frances Whitehead’s Hortus Obscurus (The Dark Garden), 1997, provide an artful look to the outdoors. The event begins at 11 a.m., free at the Kranzberg Education Lab in the park, 12580 Rott Road.

Craving a bit of an ARTful break? The Contemporary Art Museum, 3750 Washington, offers delightful, Daily Spotlight Tours, EVERY day at 1 p.m. These 15-minute artistic bursts give a free ARTful boost to any day! Each day focuses on a different work of art. Still looking for a little more art? The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts (just next door to the Contemporary) provides exhibition tours at 1:15 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

Double your ARTful dose! Details at www.camstl.org.