ArtFul Living

St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

Winter Art

Happy New Year! With this issue, I begin my 15th year as Arts Editor here at The Healthy Planet. That milestone caused me to think of how vibrant the arts are in St. Louis.

I recently returned from a trip to the Umbria region of Italy. It’s not too touristy there, particularly at this time of year. Much of my time was spent studying firsthand works of art that I knew well from textbooks during my college years. Seeing these works up so close, without rush, enabled me to observe details I never before noticed. Viewing them (mostly) in the settings for which they were intended, rather than in museums, offered a significant bridge across the centuries. Oil paint, stone or clay still spoke the message that was intended by the artists who created them. The power of art always impresses. 

On January 18, Art Saint Louis opens its Winter 2020 juried exhibition, “Heaven and Earth,” with a free reception, 5-7 p.m. in the gallery at 1223 Pine. Jurors David Brinker, Director of Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) and Sun Smith-Foret, Illinois-based artist, educator and curator, winnowed the exhibition down to 61 original, multi-media works by 59 regional artists from 247 submitted works. Each chosen work was inspired by heaven, earth, heavenly bodies, visions, the skies, limbo, paradise, purgatory, hell, and more. The works are not what one might expect as traditional “spiritual art” nor are they limited to any particular faith tradition. 

Joyelle Proot, SSND, one of the exhibiting artists, said of her entry, “In considering a title for this piece, I realized these title words, Glory Revealed, describe the mission and heart of every moment, relationship and experience. Our universe is infused with glory and grandeur daily. As an artist, I desire to offer a glimpse of that breath-giving glory that causes us to stand in awe and deep gratitude.” 

Catch a glimpse of this inspiring exhibition through February 12. Art Saint Louis is always free and open to the public, Monday-Saturday. More info at www.artstl.org. And speaking of the grandeur of our planet:

In December, the ocean-focused nonprofit PangeaSeed Foundation, in collaboration with Clean Sweep Frederiksted and the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts, made waves in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands with the latest edition of their international public art program, “Sea Walls: Artists For Oceans.” This large-scale work by 12 international artists aims to bring purpose-driven art to a region still rebuilding after the devastating impacts of Category-5 Hurricane Maria in September, 2017. The murals serve as conversation starters and educational tools addressing pressing marine issues such as plastic pollution, overfishing, and the demise of coral reefs as a result of the global climate crisis. 

Said Akira Biondo, PangeaSeed Foundation’s Director, “We’re thrilled to share our ARTivism mandate with St. Croix, striking up meaningful conversations around the importance of preserving island marine resources for generations to come. We believe that public art is a powerful medium through which to nurture community-powered stewardship movement for our planet.” For more info, visit seawalls.org

We can each make a difference in our world, and art can be the vehicle. Each year, Missouri Arts Council and the State of Missouri honor those who have made a profound and lasting impact to the artistic and cultural legacy of our state. The honoree for Arts Education is St. Louis’ own William Ash, described as the “creator and continuing champion of St. Louis Classical Guitar’s pathbreaking Guitar Horizons initiatives” which began while he was director, 1980-2017. The program reaches underserved children in city public schools. Well deserved recognition for untiring work—Congrats, Bill!!

Additionally, Grand Center Arts District will be honored as a Creative Community, home to 60 organizations, 10 music venues, 16 theaters, 17 museums and galleries. Other awardees are Arts Organization: Bach Aria Soloists (Kansas City), Individual Artist: Marygrances Wagner (Independence); Leadership in the Arts: Quin Gresham (Arrow Rock), and Philanthropy: Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield (Westphalia). The Missouri Arts Awards will be presented on February 5 at 1 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda, in Jefferson City. All are welcomed to the free event. Info at www.missouriartscouncil.org