ArtFul Living

St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

Hello? Is Anyone There?

As I write this column, the “reopening” of the metro area is beginning. 

This virus is serious indeed: many have lost loved ones, suffered through the symptoms, desperately needed income, or missed precious time with family and friends. I confess to a meltdown or two, especially as I waved through the window to my mom in a nursing home or celebrated my granddaughter’s first birthday via Facetime. Technology has provided some relief, a sense of connection to others and the world, but ART has really helped to keep society engaged, shifting focus away from the ever-lurking virus.

Perhaps you recorded some of what you experienced during this COVID-19 isolation–through drawing or painting or music. Even if you don’t feel you have a particular artistic skill, I urge you to use words to document what your thoughts are during this time. We are going through an historic time and someday it may be important to know what this time was like. 

A personal visit to the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum may have to wait awhile (the new expansion is great!) but that doesn’t preclude virtual visits. Each Friday, connect with the Kemper via #KemperConnect digital initiative to join the conversation on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. The posts follow themes set by MuseumWeek, a worldwide celebration of cultural institutions. You can also view an Exhibition of the Week or become a member to join the Virtual Book Club. Find out more at www.KemperArtMuseum@wustl.eduwww.KemperArtMuseum@wustl.edu.

Contemporary Art Museum shares Moments of Zen and throwback viewing of favorite exhibitions each week during this time. Visit www.CAMstl.org.

A recent email said, “Until we can meet safely in person, enjoy a collaborative performance via video by the musicians of the Intercultural Music Initiative.” Experience a musical change of pace with IMI/African Musical Arts at www.iMUSICi.org

Gallery hop from the comfort of home at www.ARTsy.com. There are loads of contemporary exhibitions, including even local galleries such as Bruno David (www.artsy.net/bruno-david-gallery).

Children need creative experiences as much as adults. Metro Theatre Company deserves a standing ovation for their Learning Through Play in the Arts online programming. 

Parents have told me what a tremendous help this program has been to give their children a daily dose of ARTful education. Through June 28, MTC presents its production of “The Girl Who Swallowed a Cactus” as pay-what-you-can livestream. The originally scheduled touring performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in April and May had to be cancelled, but Washington, D.C.’s loss is now our gain! Check out viewing options at www.MetroPlays.org

ArtScope’s Create Camp is postponed (as of this writing) to June 15, but Artscope in a Bag, for kids in K-5th grade, offers a themed art project-a-day, with pre-recorded videos of teaching artists, a bag of supplies for each week, and more. Details at www.ArtScopeStL.org

The Foundry Art Centre offers a similar virtual arts program, June 15-July 24. Check it out at www.FoundryArtCentre.org.

The City of Des Peres presents a free concert by That 80’s Band at 7 p.m. on June 12 as the kick-off to the Hot Summer Nights/Cool Summer Sounds series. Details at www.desperesmo.org/427/Summer-Concert-Series. Before heading off to any St. Louis-favorite outdoor concerts-in-parks, check appropriate city or county park websites to ascertain any cancellations.

Please note the following changes for June this year: Stages St. Louis cancelled its three summer presentations (A Chorus Line, Alice in Wonderland, La Cage Aux Folles). The Muny plans to open its season on July 20. Shakespeare Festival St. Louis moved its performances in Forest Park to run August 12-September 6.

When all this ends and we resume “normal” life (whatever and whenever that may be), please, please remember the organizations that have provided respite and some semblance of sanity during this time. The ARTS employed creativity rapidly to provide entertainment, diversion, education and culture when we all need it most, generally at little or no cost to the public. The ARTS need YOUR SUPPORT now more than ever. Dig into your pocket and show appreciation, no matter how little the amount is, to help maintain those who have helped us all. Donate DIRECTLY to these valuable area entities and artists.