ARTful Living

St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

How Did It Get To Be July Already?
For the past few months, writing this column has been surreal: the ARTS are participatory, so closely connected to the audience. Yet, from the beginning of social distancing, it has been the ARTS that have held us all together, given us diversion, made everyone feel that things were as normal as possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to the artists!!!

As this goes to press, things are starting to open up gradually, as we transition into the new normal. When “all this” is eventually over, please remember WHO kept you entertained in creative new ways. SUPPORT those artists, theatres, organizations, etc. who tapped into their amazing creativity under terribly stressful circumstances to make life a bit more bearable. 

Some things are vastly different this summer: For the first time since the inaugural season in 1919, St. Louisans will not gather in Forest Park at the Muny. Initially, the season opening was postponed but, by June 8th, it was clear that public safety required that the entire season had to be cancelled. “The sad reality is that there is simply no way to overcome the obstacles this pandemic has presented while ensuring the safety of our audience, staff, artists and community,” Muny Board Chair Louis A. Cella said. Muny President and CEO Denny Reagan lamented, “It’s… more than entertainment. It’s a reunion, a celebration, a tradition…{this is} tremendously difficult and disheartening.” This cancellation incurs a $4 million deficit for the beloved St. Louis institution. Season ticket holders are asked to forego refunds if at all possible (please!). Although the 35 regular employees are retained, some 800-900 seasonal employees are out of work for this year. Managing Director Kwole Coleman stated, “Historically we’re proud of employing so many people in this community; this is yet another one of those difficult results of this pandemic.” 

Another of Forest Park’s summer staples is expected to go on this year when Shakespeare Festival St. Louis performs “Much Ado About Nothing” (originally to open on May 27) in the Glen near the Art Museum, August 12-September 6. The space of the outdoor glen allow people to socially distance. The festival is always free, but it would be really nice to make a donation at www.stlshakes.org

Creativity is the essence of the ARTS: St. Louis Ballet offers its intensive summer courses for ages 7-21 virtually this summer. Info at www.stlouisballet.org

Through July 26, Metro Theater Company streams its performance of “And In This Corner… Cassius Clay.” Details at www.metroplays.org

Opera Theatre of St. Louis offers a performance a day at www.opera-stl.org. Bravo!

Engage the entire family in SOLID (Science of Learning Instrument Design) Music Project. Through July 31, the Sheldon challenges students and parents to “build a musical object that can produce and change sound.” Two winners (based on functionality, creativity and artistry of their instrument) will receive a Friends/Family Membership to the St. Louis Science Center or 4 tickets to an upcoming Sheldon Performance. Learn the details at: www.thesheldon.org/solid/

While Missouri Botanical Garden has opened (with reservations), the Whitaker Music Festival has been cancelled for this summer. Still, some outdoor concerts can be socially distanced. FatPocket performs in the Hot Summer Nights, Cool Summer Sounds Series at Des Peres Park, 12325 Manchester, July 10, 7-9:30 p.m. More info at www.desperesmo.org/ 427/Summer-Concert-Series

The St. Louis Art Museum has reopened! View the new restrictions before you visit at www.slam.org

Thank you, Contemporary Art Museum, for great virtual art lessons for all ages. Find them at https://camstl.org/programs/cam-at-home/art-at-home/.

If you can’t actually travel this summer, how about a virtual visit to distant museums? A few of my personal favorites are:

Tour the Louvre in Paris, without brushing up on your French, at www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne#tabs

A virtual tour of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. allows you to click on colored dots to read wall texts, listen to audio tours and more at www.nga.gov

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City showcases provocative interviews with 100+ artists in the award-winning online series, “Artist’s Project.” See it at http://artistproject.metmuseum.org.

For an ARTistic diversion: View a weekly-featured painting in the collection of the Mulvane Art Museum (Topeka, Kansas). Then download the outline provided, and color your version of it! https://files.constantcontact.com/ f11029ed301/60af76e8-b697-4adf-bf96-cf8a495d2540.pdf.

I dedicate this month’s column to my most faithful reader, my mom, who passed away June 10.