ARTful Living: Here’s to a healthy, happy New Year as the calendar turns to 2022

Jill Downen

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky,
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

photo caption: Speak Truth by Jill Downen, Bruno David Gallery

January is cold, but the jazz is hot this month at Jazz St. Louis, 3536 Washington in Grand Center. Check out this lineup of concerts: The Bad Plus (Jan. 5-9); Joel Vanderheyden Quartet (Jan. 12), The Kaleb Kirby Quintet (Jan. 13), Bernard Terry (Jan. 26), Emily Wallace with the Adam Maness Trio (Jan. 27), Kendrick Smith Sextet – Kind of Blue (Jan. 28-29). Ticket info at www.jazzstl.org

And the city bids a fond farewell to Jazz St. Louis’ long-time President and CEO Gene Dobbs Bradford. He leaves at the end of this month to become Executive Director of the Savannah (Georgia) Music Festival. Vocalist Denise Thimes observed, “Gene is extraordinary. Humble. An advocate for the artists and an extreme lover of the music.” Thanks for all you’ve done for St. Louis, Gene. Wishing you all the best!

If classical is your cup of tea, Music Director Stéphane Denève and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra open 2022 at Powell Hall with performances, January 7-8, of Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. Pianist Lars Vogt performs Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 and Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Company keeps you warm with complimentary refreshments. Or, tune in to St. Louis Public Radio or Classic 107 at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 8, for live broadcast of the performance. The concerts continue with Romeo and Juliet on January 15 (8 p.m.) and 16 (3 p.m.). Tickets start at $15; details at www.slso.org

In the mood for a fancy night at The Sheldon?? The Cabaret Project’s An Evening with Tony-Winner Laura Benanti Gala promises to make January 21 memorable indeed. The New York Times described Benanti as “a thrilling voice and a wicked sense of humor.” Full tickets include valet parking, cocktail hour, 3-course dinner, premium performance seating & post show reception with Laura Benanti, but just-concert tickets are also available at www.thecabaretproject.org.

The Sheldon is also the venue for the 4th Annual Whitaker World Music Concerts. They kick-off at on January 29, 8 p.m., with Las Cafeteras. Hailing from East L.A., Las Cafeteras remixes roots music in a vibrant musical fusion. Find the full list of upcoming concerts at www.thesheldon.org

Johan Smith performs on January 15, 8 p.m., in St. Louis Classical Guitar’s Great Artist Series at the Ethical Society, 9001 Clayton. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Smith has studied music, performed, and collected awards across the globe. Ticket info at www.stlclassicalguitar.org

Everyone takes snapshots, but creating photographic images requires a special eye. Through January 22, the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum presents Common Ground: Images from the IPHF Board of Directors. United by a passion for photography, each of these ten photographers brings forth a unique perspective. Be sure to also see the exhibition of works by the 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees, on view through February 12. Included are Larry Burrows, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, David Douglas Duncan, Sally Mann, Joyce Tenneson, Joel Sartore, and Pete Souza who, by the way, was White House photographer for both Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. IPHF is located at 3415 Olive; more info at www.iphf.org .

For artist Hannah Wilke, embracing the life of the body meant both reveling in its pleasures as well as coming to terms with illness and death. The Pulitzer, 3716 Washington, presents Hannah Wilke: Art for Life’s Sake through January 16. Wilke created the featured works to document her mother’s–and later her own–long and ultimately fatal cancer. With remarkable candor, Wilke depicted both herself and her mother Selma Butter as vulnerable but fully alive, real individuals. Her photographs, sculptures, and paintings illustrate the bonds of love, empathy, and biology that connect the two women. Details at www.pulitzerarts.org

The St. Louis Art Museum unveils two new free exhibitions, Modern Japanese Military Art (Gallery 225) through February 27 and Woodlands: Native American Art from St. Louis Collections (Gallery 100) through April 24. Info at www.slam.org

If you’ve got the itch to travel, be sure to see The Places We’ll Go at Green Door Art Gallery, 21 N. Gore, January 5-February 26. The show celebrates travel with abstract and travel photography by Tricia Coyle and Greg Matchick respectively, watercolors by Ruth and Herndon Snider, and jewelry by Joe Bova Conti. Find out more at www.greendoorgallery.com

Through March 22, Bruno David Gallery presents works by five contemporary artists: Jill Downen: Speak Truth; Damon Freed: Town & Country; Daniel Raedeke: Playlist; Monika Weiss: Metamorphosis | Nirbhaya; Rachel Youn: Neither Fruit Nor Flower. More info about the gallery at 7513 Forsyth at www.brunodavidgallery.com