ArtFul Living

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

The St. Louis community is rich in the arts. 
Now it’s up to us to keep those ARTS viable.

Jessica Henthoff, Artistic/Executive Director of Circus Harmony (www.circusharmony.org ), may have described this time perfectly in a recent message she sent: “We feel like we are walking a tightrope. Under normal circumstances, we know how to walk a tightrope, however, the length keeps getting extended.” We can all relate to that imagery. But local ARTS nonprofits and artists themselves need support now more than ever, to recover or just to hang on. Please consider supporting some of the following, by purchasing a ticket or work of art, or just by making a flat-out donation. 

From August 1 through September 10, Art Saint Louis at 1223 Pine presents STORYTELLERS, a juried exhibition of 50 artworks by 47 artists from Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. The works are inspired by written word (poetry, literature, nonfiction, etc.), exploring and interpreting the theme. A closing reception is scheduled for September 10, 5-7 p.m. 

Running August 15 through September 15 is Art Saint Louis’ online-only juried exhibition, THIS MOMENT. St. Louis region artists present works that reflect upon the impact, significance, complexity, profundity and meaning of this moment, as individuals, as a community, as a nation. Details for both exhibitions at www.artstl.org

The Jacoby Arts Center reopens with an exhibition through August 15. BALANCE showcases works by four area artists: Jerry C. Williams (ceramics), Mark Witzling, (abstract), Diane Tessman, (fiber), and Garry McMichael, (realism). A short ride to 627 E. Broadway in Alton, but phone to ascertain hours 618-462-5222 or visit www.jacobyartscenter.org

Through Oct. 17, MASTERWORKS: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE COLLECTION is on view at the International Photography Hall of Fame, 3415 Olive. Visit in person or online; purchase tickets (required for either way) at www.iphf.org

Contemporary Art Museum has reopened, with limited capacity, with current exhibitions Liz Johnson Artur: DUSHA, Derek Fordjour: SHELTER, Marina Zurkow: THE THIRSTY BIRD, and ArtReach: Vashon High School through August 23. More info at www.camstl.org. CAM is located at 3750 Washington, next door to The Pulitzer.

So, while you’re in the area, cross the street to see The Pulitzer’s PARK-LIKE, a green space where visitors can meander along grass paths or enjoy a moment of solitude amongst the plantings. Designed by Chris Carl of Studio Land Arts of Granite City, IL, the space uses both native and non-native plants , found building materials, seating and play space with sustainability in mind. Open sunrise to sunset, visitors are asked to observe social distancing guidelines. Learn more at www.pulitzerarts.org

Continue your outdoor ART experience at Jeske Sculpture Park in Ferguson on August 8 and at Laumeier Sculpture Park, 12580 Rott Road in Sunset Hills, August 9 through December 20 with PERIPHERY TO CENTER, an outdoor exhibition of works by Nigerian-born, Philadelphia-based artist Odili Donald Odita. Widely acclaimed for his use of color in hard edged, abstract paintings, this exhibition presents newly commissioned work in the form of colorful flags, intended to forge connections between North and South St. Louis County. Both locations are free, open until sunset. More info at www.laumeier.org.

Although St. Louis Shakespeare Festival made the difficult decision to cancel this summer’s performances, there’s still a lovely opportunity to experience the magic of a midsummer play with A LATE SUMMER NIGHT’S STROLL, nightly (except Mondays) through September 6. Groups limited to 10 or fewer with scheduled times to assure social distancing are led on a 90-minute walk through the most iconic spots and hidden gems of Forest Park, beginning at 5 p.m. ARTful moments along the walk include music, dance and visual art, putting the guests at the center of the story as they experience a night of lyrical transformations. Like the Festival, the walks are free and open to the public, but reservations are required at www.stlshakes.org

Missing the Muny this summer resulted in a weekly hour (7-8 p.m.) on the deck for my husband and me to watch via laptop the MUNY MAGIC online series presented each Monday. Thank you, thank you, Muny for providing a sense of being at the beloved St. Louis amphitheatre (and we look forward to the 2021 season!). Catch up on any you missed at https://muny.org/virtualmunymagic/.

The Rep invites young writers (grades 4-12) to actually become playwrights themselves with WISEWRITE DIGITAL PLAY FESTIVAL through August 31. All the elements of creating a play are learned first at www.repstl.org/wisewrite, and students are then asked to submit one for inclusion in the festival, with professional actors performing the submissions over Zoom through August 31!

Dance St. Louis announced that Michael Uthoff will return as Artistic Director, the title he held, in addition to being Executive Director, from 2006-2016. The internationally renowned choreographer, producer, teacher and dancer will manage Dance St. Louis’ artistic endeavors and programming, education residency, community engagement, and co-curate forthcoming seasons. Executive Director Rich Dee noted, “’Dance St. Louis’ Board of Directors and I are excited to partner with Michael to present world-class dance in our city. Michael’s innovation, knowledge, and artistic vision are superb. He and I worked together for six years and share a great synergy,… just what we need to move forward artistically.” Preview the new season of dance at www.dancestl.org.