ArtFul Living

St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

Arts Events Could Be Impacted By COVID-19

As this goes to press, the coronavirus has been declared a pandemic and, in efforts to protect the public, events are being cancelled or postponed across the region. Things are changing by the moment so, before heading to any ARTful events listed in my online ARTful Happenings calendar, I urge you to first check the individual websites provided for each event. 

Cecilia Nadal, Executive Director of performing arts organization Gitana, is a well-recognized leader in the arts in St. Louis. She now encourages the art of writing as the coordinator for the first-ever Arnold Krekel and James Milton Turner Essay Competition, sponsored by Missouri Humanities Council, Visit Hermann, Deutschheim State Historic site and Cross-Cultural Strategies Inc. These organizations have joined efforts to engage youth in the exploration of the seldom-mentioned role of German immigrants and their fight against slavery during the Civil War. Judge Arnold Krekel, a businessman, legislator and lawyer from St. Charles, was one of those immigrants who signed the Emancipation Decree Abolishing Slavery I Missouri. James Milton Turner was a freed African American and education advocate who helped the Colored Infantry Division of the Union Army to start Lincoln University. All 9th-12th graders attending Missouri schools are invited to submit 600-1200 word essays, to compete for $300 and $150 in cash prizes to the first and second place winners, plus a cash prize for the teacher who encourages the most students to enter the contest. Deadline is April 20; complete submission details available at www.mohumanities.org/german-heritage or www.gitana-inc.org

Saint Louis Ballet presents the iconic Swan Lake at the Touhill, April 3-5. Additionally, a special 1-hour performance is scheduled for April 3 at 11 a.m. geared just for “little swans.” With the same emotion, dance and music by Tchaikovsky that has enamored generations of ballet lovers, this particular performance is offered for children and for those who may have shorter attention spans. A specially crafted narration helps audience members to follow Gen Horiuchi’s “Swan Lake, A Shorter Tale.” More at www.saintlouisballet.org

Movement reaches new heights (literally and figuratively) when Diavolo performs “Architecture in Motion,” also at the Touhill on April 11, 7:30 p.m. The inventive genius of Artistic Director Jacques Heim and his incredible daredevils brings dance, acrobatics and gymnastics together to explore the relationship between the human body and its surrounding architectural environment. Presented by Dance St. Louis, find more at www.dancestlouis.org

Certainly, all of us are eager to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature! A MONUMENTAL sculpture exhibit, “Origami in the Garden,” debuts at Missouri Botanical Garden during the Chinese Cultural Days, April 25-26. Created by Santa Fe artists Jennifer and Kevin Box, this traveling exhibition captures the delicate nature of this ancient paper art form in museum-quality metals.

Over 20 large-scale sculptures include flying birds, emerging butterflies, floating boats, and soaring paper airplanes are placed throughout the Garden, with “crown jewel” Master Peace, a 25-foot sculpture of 1,000 stainless steel origami peace cranes. 

A collaborative composition with world-renowned origami artist Te Jui Fu is “Painted Ponies,” made of colorful folded and cut paper in the Japanese technique known as kirigami. Cuts made in the paper are used to make the pony’s legs and ears. On the back of the large pony, look for the Chinese character of Fu’s last name which means “teacher,” enclosed by a box symbolizing Kevin Box’s last name — amaze your companions with that bit of artsy-trivia!

Other artists collaborating in this exhibition are Beth Johnson, Michael G. LaFosse and Robert J. Lang. Said Kevin Box, “Botanical gardens are the most beautiful living, outdoor museums of the world. There is no better place for the exhibition of a sculptural art form like origami, that originates from paper and the plants that form it… The natural and yet scientific setting of a botanical garden makes it the ideal setting for the exhibit that brings together art, science and nature to entertain, educate and inspire our senses.” The exhibition remains through October 11. Details at www.mobot.org

I am delighted to celebrate my precious granddaughter’s birthday as she turns 1-year old on April 20. Happy birthday, little Esther!! A bib will prove absolutely useless once she spies that birthday cake.