ARTful Living

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

Life Is Better Because Of Art!

Art has made a mark on society throughout the ages. Whether grand artistic endeavors or small artistic touches, life is better because of art.

And I love to hear that the arts are STILL touching people everyday, in lots of unexpected ways. Sitting in traffic anytime (all the time!) along Manchester Road is far more tolerable in west county because of Manchester Arts’ initiative a few years ago to commission artists to paint the usually-ugly traffic boxes. These engaging paintings make annoying traffic delays a bit more tolerable. Yes, art can make a difference in life, sometimes brief, sometimes long-lasting.

Mark Weber is a recognized name around the St. Louis art scene. Beginning in 1988 as an adjunct faculty member at St. Louis Community College, Mark continued as a full time instructor on the Forest Park campus until, in 2008, he was tapped to build the fine arts program on the then-new Wildwood campus. Over the years, Mark has introduced many students to art, assisted many more as they sought to develop their artistic skills, and continues to do so today.

Said Mark, “I’m proud to have spent my career teaching art at STLCC. I’m excited to create this scholarship to help students achieve their artistic and educational goals.” Mark’s impact on the campus community has been profound, and I am proud to have him as a colleague.

To make sure that his efforts have a lasting impact, the St. Louis Community College Foundation is seeking donations to establish the Mark Weber Scholarship Fund. Once funded, this scholarship will support students enrolled in art courses at the College. To kick off the fund, a public reception including refreshments, lecture by Mark, and an art auction featuring 14 of Mark’s original works will be held on April 4, 7-9 p.m. on the Wildwood campus, 2645 Generations Drive, 63040. Cost to attend is just $25, with all proceeds supporting the new scholarship fund. Register to attend, or for additional info, by calling 636-422-2241 or email gtarte@stlcc.edu. Your attendance and/or donation can make a difference to future generations of artists.

From April 13 to July 13, The Luminary presents Counterpublic, a major new public art initiative to animate everyday spaces in the Cherokee Street neighborhood in South St. Louis. Twenty-plus sites, including barbershops, bakeries, parks, and taquerias in that area will host expansive art works, performances, processions, and public programs to engage the community in all aspects of art. The project was organized by Brea and James McAnally, curated by Katherine Simone Reynolds; works are by Cauleen Smith, Joseph del Pesco, Jon Rubin, Kahlil Robert Irving, Demian DineYazhi, Azikiwe Mohammed and others. For more info, visit www.counterpublic.us.

Performing arts can make a difference in the community, too.

CHARIS is a diverse chorus of women who perform music that celebrates and encourages women and the LGBTQ community. The group is diverse in its membership, programming and audience. The chorus, comprised of 25-65 women aged 16 to 66, represents a wide variety of ethnicities, economic situation, sexual orientations, abilities and disabilities. On April 26-27, CHARIS presents “Cruisin’ the Mighty Mississippi,” led by Artistic Director Stuart Chapman Hill at the Missouri History Museum’s Des Lee Auditorum. The audience will travel a musical journey along America’s greatest river, from New Orleans jazz to Memphis and ST. Louis blues, to the “Purple Rain” of Prince’s hometown, Minneapolis. Advance tickets are available for $17 at www.charischorus.org or by calling 314-664-9340, with senior/student at $13. Tickets at the door are $20, as available before each 8 p.m. performance.

And just to illustrate that art’s impact on society is nothing new, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation presents “Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt,” through August 11. Forty pieces on loan from the Brooklyn Museum’s renowned collection exhibit campaigns of targeted destruction driven by political and religious motivations.

Focusing on the legacies of pharaohs Hatshepsut (reigned ca. 1478–1458 BCE) and Akhenaten (reigned ca. 1353–1336 BCE), as well as the destruction of objects in late Antiquity, the exhibition pairs damaged works, from fragmented heads to altered inscriptions, with undamaged examples. It illustrates how the deliberate destruction of objects (a practice that continues in present day) impacts memory, visual culture and artistic ownership. The Pulitzer is located at 3716 Washington. Find details at www.pulitzerarts.org.