ARTful Living

St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

Thought-Provoking Art
Summertime ARTful experiences are sometimes breezy and light, but this month the ARTS offer up some thought-provoking samplings.

Equally Represented Arts (ERA) and Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble (SATE) present Antigone, August 14-31 on Wednesdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. This marks SATE’s thirteenth year of producing theatre in St. Louis, with this year’s theme of The Season of Ritual being explored in each of its productions. Ritual is defined as “ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order, acts done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol, or those acts done regularly, usually without thinking.” But it’s clear that nothing in this production is done without thinking! For a start, just consider this alliance: SATE and ERA coproduce Antigone, offering a fresh perspective on the Sophocles classic, in collaboration with St. Louis University Theatre and Prison Performing Arts.

In 2017, Prison Performing Arts (PPA) began a collaboration with St. Louis University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts. At that time, Lucy Cashion (Assistant Professor of Theatre at SLU and ERA Artistic Director) and Rachel Tibbets (PPA Director and SATE Artistic Director) taught poetry and playwriting workshops to inmates at Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correction Center (WERDCC) in Vandalia, MO. ( I know… that’s a lot of acronyms!) In that workshop, the group studied the princess Antigone in the Greek tragedy that premiered in 441 B.C Athens.

Fast-forward to 2019: The performing ensemble includes Alicen Moser, Ellie Schwetye, Laura Hulsey, Miranda Jagels-Félix, Natasha Toro, Taleesha Caturah, Tori Thomas, with percussion by Marcy Wiegert. Miranda Jagels-Félix and Tori Thomas performed in the 2017 SLU production and Laura Hulsey performed in the WERDCC production. Laura was released from WERDCC in 2018, making her professional acting debut in this ERA/SATE production. Check www.eratheatre.org or www.slightoff.org for details; performances at The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive.

Art Saint Louis presents its Summer 2019 Exhibition: “American Conversations,” opening on August 3 with a public reception, 5-7 p.m. in the Art Saint Louis Gallery at 1223 Pine. The multi-media show features 60 original artworks by 54 St. Louis regional artists through September 5. The theme explores what it looks like to live in America in 2019. It’s a thought-provoking topic, bringing apple pie into sharp contrast with the issues facing America today. Details at www.artstlouis.org.

As part of this exhibition, Art Saint Louis hosts a free ARTful Afternoon on August 24, 1-3 p.m. The event begins with complimentary coffee courtesy of Catalyst Coffee Bar, as four featured artists with works in the American Conversations exhibition discuss their works. Following that, The Marshall String Quartet, featuring area musicians Carolyn Day, Katherine Alexander, Adam Eaton and Ed Sandheinrich, perform Antonin Dvorak’s “String Quartet No. 12 in F, The American” from 2-3 p.m. This particular work was inspired by the Czech composer’s 1892 visit to the United States. The performance finishes with “Lullaby” by George Gershwin, and “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Unger, both American composers. Learn more at: www.facebook.com/events/1037462999786615/

If you’re ready to add a physical element to your ARTful experiences this month, check out Landmarks Association’s guided walking tours. In addition to Downtown St. Louis Walking Tours, where you’ll learn loads about St. Louis architecture and history, the organization now offers guided walking tours of the Grand Center Arts District on the second Saturday of each month, through October. Downtown tours are area-specific, East or West Downtown. All tours are offered to individuals or groups of up to nine people.

Self-described as “the intersection of art and life,” Grand Center Arts District is the epicenter for the arts in St. Louis and home to an eclectic mix of architecture both grand and artistic. The architecture of St. Louis’ theatre district is awesome with such gems as Fox Theater, Powell Symphony Hall, Sheldon Concert Hall, Angad Arts Hotel, Grand Center Arts Academy and the Public Media Commons on the list. Stories of the fortunes and misfortunes of the area’s development from the early 1900’s to the present will keep you engrossed for the two and a half-hour session. The tour begins at 10 a.m., rain or shine (so be prepared for the weather!), involves walking at a leisurely pace. Tickets are just $10, with children under 12 free, but should be purchased in advance at www.LandmarksToursSTL.org. If you’re there on August 10th, maybe stick around afterward for Urban Chestnut SummerMarket, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. with indoor and outdoor vendors.