ArtFul Living

St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

With Valentine’s Day at its center, February is the month of love — and we truly LOVE the ARTS!!

Each year, Missouri Citizens for the Arts, the statewide arts advocacy organization, invites art lovers from across the state to convene at its annual Citizens Day at the Legislature. Wednesday, February 6 is a full day of opportunities for citizens to hear informational updates on arts funding, attend live performances and—most importantly — visit with their legislators, reminding them of the importance of the arts in our state. The event finishes with the presentation of the Missouri Arts Awards, prestigious recognition given by Missouri Arts Council to particular individuals and groups who have made a noticeable impact on the arts in the Show-Me state. This year, my friend Cecilia Nadal will be honored for her Arts Leadership at the public ceremony in the Rotunda of Missouri’s Capitol.

For the past twenty-two years, Cecilia has led the strategic vision of Gitana Productions, using music, drama and global education as vehicles for cross-cultural engagement. Through its innovative presentations, Gitana has brought together diverse members of our community to share artistic experiences. To name just a few of Gitana’s powerful use of the arts to raise social consciousness are: “Peace Concerts” in economically-distressed neighborhoods, immigrant/refugee youth programs of dance, music and drama, original stage plays dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, domestic violence in the South Asian community, the acclaimed “Black & Blue” as the first play following the Ferguson protests to address the conflicts between community and police, and the list goes on.

Said Cecilia, “It is important that the public see how it is possible for an African American producer to bring the world to St. Louis while also bringing diverse segments of the community together with acceptance of our similarities and differences. I have not done this alone but with the support of each of these communities whose leadership teams welcomed our genuine interests in their culture.” Congratulations, Cecilia, on this well-deserved honor for your tremendous leadership in the arts in our community. The Missouri Arts Award ceremony is free, open to the public, 1-3 p.m. the State Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City. Learn more about Gitana at www.Gitana-Inc.org. Details for Citizens Day at the Legislature can be found at www.mo4arts.org.

Dance St. Louis continues its 53rd season of world-class dance by bringing the very best in British dance to the Touhill Performing Arts Center on February 27. Company Wayne McGregor was founded in 1993 by multi-award-winning British choreographer Wayne McGregor. The ten-member company is known for its hyper-flexibility, what the New York Times best described as “signature elasticity.”

For the past 25 years, McGregor has been at the cutting edge of contemporary arts with an extensive portfolio of works and creative collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science. His innovations have radically redefined dance in the modern era. McGregor has choreographed for such ballet companies (Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet), film (Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire, Mary Queen of Scots), music videos (Radiohead, The Chemical Brothers), and that only begins his list of credentials. He remains the Resident Choreographer for The Royal Ballet.

British daily newspaper The Guardian gave “Autobiography” five stars, calling it a “mesmerizing, inimitable show” and “miracles of poise and expertise.” The program features an original electronic score, dramatic set design and large-scare projections. Dance St. Louis’ presentation of Company Wayne McGregor’s program entitled “Autobiography” marks the Midwest premiere of this piece. Learn more at www.dancestlouis.org.

Because The Healthy Planet lands on newsstands around the first of the month, or sometimes just a day or two after, I want to be sure you don’t miss the upcoming, annual ART in Bloom, with its preview on February 28, and exhibition March 1-2. The St. Louis Art Museum invites local floral designers to interpret works of art throughout the museum’s collection, all in flowers. Simply wonderful!! If winter has gotten through to you, this is the sure-fire way to restore your ARTful joy! The event is free but there are a variety of special events in the auditorium, etc. that do require advance tickets. These events generally sell out quite early, so avoid disappointment with details available now at www.slam.org/event/art-in-bloom-2019.