ArtFul Living

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

Art Is In The Air!

Saint Louis Classical Guitar is well known for bringing awesome musicians from around the globe for their performance seasons held at The Ethical Society, 9001 Clayton just west of Brentwood Blvd. The 2019-2020 Great Artist Guitar Series is “Celebrating Women of Classical Guitar,” kicking off the season on October 5 with a concert by Lily Afshar. The first woman in the world to be awarded a Doctor of Music in Guitar Performance, Dr. Afshar holds a long list of equally impressive international accolades. In recognition of her birth country of Iran, Dr. Afshar’s performance includes Persian and Azerbaijani ballads. Individual concert tickets are $24-28; performances begin at 8 p.m.

But this might be the year you’ll need a subscription ($89 gives you ALL of this season’s concerts) because Andrea Gonzalez Caballero brings fiery interpretations of her native Spain to the stage on November 9. Operaworld magazine has described Caballero as “the female voice of the Spanish guitar.” No passport needed to enjoy the sounds of Spain in the comfort of The Ethical Society. You won’t want to miss any of the following concerts, either! Info about the entire concert series can be found at www.stlclassicalguitar.org.

The Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, known as MOCRA, is housed in the center of the St. Louis University campus. Its founder, Father Terrence Dempsey, S.J., recently retired in spring. The torch of MOCRA’s leadership goes on to David Brinker, named the museum’s new Director. Brinker began working there in 1995, serving as MOCRA’s Assistant Director since 2005.

Said Father Dempsey, “I can think of no one better qualified to become MOCRA’s second Director than David… With his deep roots in the SLU community, and his active involvement in the St. Louis arts and interfaith communities, he will guide MOCRA to become an increasingly active center for the dialogue between art and the religious and spiritual dimensions. I am looking forward to see what comes next.”

“I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to lead MOCRA into its next stage,” Brinker notes. “Terry laid a strong foundation for MOCRA of outstanding exhibitions and engaging programs. I hope to welcome new voices and perspectives into the dialogue as we go forward.”

To honor Father Dempsey’s thirty years as a professor of Art History at SLU, MOCRA is currently hosting an exhibition entitled, “Gratitude.” A uniquely personal show of works that hold special meaning for Father Dempsey, this exhibition runs through December 15 as his thank you to the community. Some of the works are by artists with whom he shares a close connection; some speak to him of profound themes; some are foundational works in the MOCRA collection. For details on this exhibition, visit www.slu.edu/mocra.

Meanwhile, Father Terrence Dempsey remains a force in the regional arts. This month, the Gretchen Brigham Gallery, 733 N. Union Blvd., unveils an invitational show juried by Father Dempsey. “Who is God? Light of the World” is a new Midwest show, running simultaneously in California and Washington (where the show originated). Thirty-six works by eighteen artists, displayed with text, make for a thought-provoking exhibition. During the opening reception (1-5 p.m.) on Saturday, October 5, Father Dempsey will present his remarks at 2:30 p.m. Exhibition dates for St. Louis are October 1-December 1; admission is free. Learn more at www.union-avenue.org/arts.

And what would October be without a little bit of magical, family fun? St. Louis Community College at Wildwood invites everyone to join in the fun of their Howl & Prowl Fest on October 25, from 4-9 p.m. The free event promises lots of family-friendly art activities and games, with a children’s costume parade at 6 p.m. The evening finishes off with Open Mic, 6:30-9 p.m., showcasing up-and-coming entertainers (maybe you’ll even want to take a turn!). The Wildwood campus is located at Hwy 109, just west of Manchester. For details, email wwcampuslife@stlcc.edu.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra fills Powell Hall with a spooky live score to accompany “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” a film inspired by J.K. Rowlings’ book by the same name, on October 25-27. Bring the wizards in your house to experience the real magic of symphonic music. Tickets sell fast, so order now at www.slso.org.