ARTful Living

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

Please note: As scheduling can be unexpectedly altered in response to COVID-19 concerns, kindly verify all listed events at the provided websites.

December delivers special traditions everyone loves. But this year is different –REALLY different. None of us needs to be reminded of that difficult fact. Rather than complete cancellation, many of the regular ARTful traditions adjustmented to the current circumstances. Memories can still be made. They’ll just be different. The realities around COVID-19 are evolving rapidly, so please check listed websites for any last-minute changes to events/exhibitions included here.

Bundle up to get outside for A Walking Xmas Carol presented through December 23 by St. Louis Shakespeare Festival and PaintedBlack STL. Inspired by St. Louis’ tradition of the grand holiday display windows downtown at Stix and Famous-Barr (Oh, remember that thrill as a child!), this 20-stop, audio-musical tour with large-scale window installations is inspired by Scrooge’s journey, along Euclid Avenue and Maryland Plaza in the CWE. The free, family-friendly, walk is self-guided, no reservations required. Details at https://stlshakes.org/plan-your-visit/ 

COCA presents a new twist on the Charles Dickens classic “Christmas Carol,” December 4-6. Performed by Chicago-based collective Manual Cinema, hundreds of paper puppets, miniatures, silhouettes are sure to delight all ages. Details at www.cocastl.org

Or, enjoy a virtual holiday reading of A Christmas Carol, provided by Metro Theatre Company at 6:30 p.m. on December 10 and at 2:30 p.m. on December 13. Emmy-nominated actress Ellis Kemper joins St. Louis artists, athletes, civic leaders, media personalities, and first responders to create a lively reading. Find more at http://metroplays.org/christmascarol

Fill your home with a jazz-party vibe from Season of Stream, courtesy of Jazz St. Louis. Just click https://jazzstl.org/sos/ to select from a long list of concerts for hours of great music. 

Crank up the bossa nova cool at 8 p.m. on December 4 when Janet Evra performs live at the Blue Strawberry, 364 N. Boyle. This vocalist, bassist, guitarist and songwriter is from the UK but is now based in St. Louis as the 2019-2020 Artist in Residence at the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. This concert, and most of the concerts scheduled there for December, can be attended either in person or live-streaming at home. Carryout dinner can even be ordered so dinner-and-a-show is complete! Of particular interest to families is the Christmas Presence concert. Terry Barber, the Chanticleer countertenor, performs a full Christmas repertoire of sacred, popular and joyous music on December 19. There’s a special family matinee at 3 p.m. with a second live concert at 8 p.m. Check out all the December concert options at www.bluestrawberrystl.com or call 314-256-1745.

Opera Theatre St. Louis presents a new 2020-21 Digital Studio, with a fun and interactive Zoom event before each premiere. These Premiere Parties begin on December 6 at 5:30 with “Carols & Cocoa” just before the Holiday Concert. Tickets are $75 per household and include a special themed delivery for your household to enjoy on the day of the event. How much fun is that for the whole family! Upcoming Premiere Parties are Pirates & Pancakes (featuring Pirates of Penzance), Boheme & Bordeaux (celebrating La Boheme) and Commissions & Cocktails (launching new works). Purchase tickets for single events or the entire series at www.opera-stl.org

The sounds of the season are delivered virtually by pianist Jim Brickman in his Comfort & Joy at Home concert, live from the Touhill Performing Arts Center on December 16. Tickets available at https://umsl.edu/touhill/ 

And while you’re on that site, add to your cart some tickets for virtual Nutcracker Extravaganza, performed by St. Louis Ballet on December 12, 13, 19, 20. No need to worry about traffic when you’re watching from home!

From now through January 9, Green Door Art Gallery presents “A Very MARY Christmas” featuring original drawings for classic Mary Englebreit Christmas Cards. The gallery’s 30 resident artists also have works in a wide variety of mediums available for just-right holiday gift purchases. Visit the gallery at 21 N. Gore in Webster Groves, or online at www.greendoorartgallery.com

At 627 E. Broadway over in Alton, the Jacoby Arts Center hosts the Greater St. Louis Art Association’s Holiday Market Showcase through January 17. Perfect for holiday shopping! Visit www.jacobyartscenter.org

St. Louis Community College at Wildwood presents First Light; An Exploration in Kitchen Photography During the Pandemic, through December 11. The included works were produced by printing on fabric, using constructed negatives and plant materials.

Through January 2, Missouri Botanical Garden presents the annual Garden Glow. Enjoy a walk through dazzling winter-lights with family, socially-distanced outdoors. Find out more and reserve tickets at www.mobot.org

This year is so different than others we’ve known. For those who lost dear ones during this awful past year, this time is especially hard. May we all come to know peace this season.