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

Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

The Art is Outdoors

This June!

Revel in the ARTful atmosphere of Missouri Botanical Garden with this year’s Sensational Summer Nights, every Thursday evening starting on June 2. From 5-8 p.m., visitors can experience the garden with all their senses: floral-inspired cocktails and light fare available for purchase at Sassafras restaurant becomes the Botany Bar during each week’s happy hour. Crafts, botanical books, and live music provided by such local artists as Llian Christy, THE Tom Hall, Dizzy Atmosphere and more. Experts from the Garden offer gardening tips and hands-on plant activities, or just stroll the grounds during these geared-to-adults evenings (Children’s Garden will not be open during these evening events). When is the last time you just PLAYED outside??? Gather some friends and gets ARTsy on Thursday evenings. Find details at www.mobot.org/sensationalsummer, or call 314-577-5100.

Opening on June 2 is the Beauty of Botanicals Exhibit at OA Gallery, 101 W. Argonne. This juried exhibition celebrated contemporary botanical arts, capturing scientifically-accurate images sure to “turn art-lovers into amateur botanists for a few beautiful moments.”

Said Steve Morris, OA Gallery partner, “As the only international juried botanical art exhibition curated by a fine art gallery in the Midwest, (this exhibition) honors not only local botanical artists, but those from around the globe. While each piece is incredibly unique, the overall mission of every artist in the exhibition is to reintroduce art lovers to the wonders of nature that enrich our lives and the world around us.” The exhibition runs through June 30; find details at www.oagalleryonline.com.

And what better way to be embraced by ART and nature than under the stars at the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis in Forest Park. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is this year’s live presentation, celebrating 16 years for the festival. Over those years, more than 670,000 people have enjoyed the Shakespearean evenings.

“This production in particular will offer audiences an unexpected level of magic and visual experiences,” said Rick Dildine, artistic and executive director of the Festival, who is also directing the show. “Peter Mark Kendall and Rats & People have created a stellar composition that exceeds anything ever produced for the Festival before. The songs written for Titania, the role played by Olivier nominee Nancy Anderson, will truly captivate audiences. In addition, Scott Neal’s unique set design will provide for some innovative staging that will create some very entertaining moments.” Creative twists in this year’s presentation include twins cast in the role of Puck.

The production runs nightly (excluding Tuesdays) through June 26 and are free with open lawn seating (bring a chair or blanket). Ticketed, reserved seating is also available online and in the park. Visit www.sfstl.com for details. The performance is also signed for those with hearing disabilities.

The nightly Green Show kicks-off at 6:30 p.m., providing a 20-minute adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, designed to introduce the characters and the plot to children of all ages, performed by members of the Shakespeare Squadron. The Green Show will also feature nightly performances by local musical acts on two side stages, as well as jugglers entertaining guests throughout the Glen on select nights. The main-stage production begins at 8 p.m. I am always amazed at the attentive St. Louis audiences—you can hear a pin drop during the performance!

Shakespeare Festival veterans know that part of the pre-show festivities include food—pack your own glorious picnic favorites or purchase gourmet goodies from the epicurean options on the grounds. This year is extra-special as 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.

To commemorate that anniversary, Schlafly 1616 will be available for purchase, a one-of-a-kind unfiltered lager crafted by St. Louis’ own Schlafly Brewery, the official beer of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. What a delightful way to spend a summer evening!

To help support Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, attend Party on Art Hill on June 12. This very special event begins at 5 p.m., includes cocktails and a seated dinner at the World’s Fair Pavilion, reserve VIP seating for the performance and complimentary reserved parking. Proceeds go directly to the Festival’s work in their schools and community presentations as well as to the performances in Forest Park. For more information, contact Linda Schulte at (314) 531-9800 ext. 102 or lschulte@sfstl.com.