ArtFul Living

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

August in St. Louis is Never Cool… Except For the ARTS!

After frying though most of June and July, we’d all appreciate a little bit of “cool.” The weather this month may not provide that but the ARTS definitely will.

The Texas Room, organized by Louis Wall, is a collaborative resource for immigrants and refugees in St. Louis that uses music publishing and performance to enable artistic dialogue across social borders. Immigrant and refugee artists were invited to share their personal journeys and reveal the inspiration behind their musical practices in a project that resulted in an intriguing sound installation. It consists of multiple stories spoken by the artists in their native languages. I listened to some of the recordings once, twice and, compulsively, a third time– and still am drawn to them. Whether the actual words are understood or not, the works traverses the globe and the emotions they present are readily comprehended.

Inspired by Mona Hatoum’s Terra Infirma exhibition currently at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Washington Avenue, members of The Texas Room will present live readings and musical performances in the gallery on Friday, August 10, at 7 p.m. The featured artists include Claudia “Coco” Nkurunziza from Burundi, age 16, singing in Kirundi; Lemke, a 30-year old rapper from Cameroon via France will perform in French; Jacob Chako, singer and songwriter, age 17, from Democratic Republic of the Congo, performs in Swakili. Bertha Nyirandagirwa Mihigo, age 45, also of the Congo, will perform in Kinyamulenge. Accordionists Mensur Hatic, age 56 from Bosnia and Esti Fernandez, age 45, each will perform in their native tongues. Nepalese flutist Dal Magur, age 46 with Iraqui singer Khaled Hussein, age 61, and 50-year old Kenyan pianist Lawrence Gitau will each speak in their native languages of Nepali, Arabic, and Swahili, respectively. Even if you don’t speak any of those languages, you’re sure to understand.

To learn more, visit pulitzerarts.org, give a listen at soundcloud.com/thetexasroom/reposts, or simply attend the event on August 10.

The current exhibition at Art St. Louis, located at 1223 Pine, is Menagerie, a juried exhibition featuring artworks about or depicting animals, beasts, critters, creatures of any kind—real or imagined. Sixty works by 54 regional artists are included in the exhibition on view August 4-September 30, plus there’s a special event on August 25 that promises to be a fan-favorite. A free Artists Saturday Gallery talk begins at 10 a.m. complete with complimentary coffee tastings courtesy of Catalyst Coffee Bar. Artists whose work is shown in Menagerie will be present to discuss the techniques they employ to create their works, maybe demonstrate or show samples of additional work. Guests will stroll the gallery with the artists as they chat about the works. What an ARTful way to spend a Saturday morning! Additional info at www.artstlouis.org.

St. Louis Artists’ Guild is the oldest art guild west of the Mississippi, founded in 1886. The organization has been located in several different places since then but its home is now at 12 Jackson in Clayton, in the iconic, mid-century modern building that originally housed the Famous-Barr department store. It’s a good setting for the many exhibitions that the organization presents throughout the year with 20-foot ceilings over 5,000 square feet of gallery space. Currently up is “For Every Positive There Is a Negative,” a national juried exhibition “exploring the concepts of positive and negative space through artistic, emotional, and social interpretations. For every negative there is a positive, for every action, there is a reaction, and for every balance, there is a counterbalance,” said the guild’s call for artists. The interaction of positive and negative work to provide us with what we see. The exhibition was judged by Missouri’s own Tom Huck, a recognized artist whose detailed woodcuts employ the interplay of positive and negative space.

Find out more at www.stlouisartistsguild.org.

Just across the mighty Mississippi is Jacoby Arts Center, at 627 E. Broadway in Alton, Illinois (and I know we have lots of Healthy Planet readers there, too!). From August 1-September 9, stop in to see First Time Exhibition, presenting multi-media works by artists who have never before exhibited in a gallery. Discover a new favorite emerging artist! For more info, visit jacobyartscenter.org.