ARTful Living: Arts In St. Louis During A Pandemic

City Lights Valerie Snyder

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

Photo Caption: City Lights, by Valerie Snyder, at Art St. Louis

As I write this column, various health-safety measures are in place at theatres, galleries and museums, with several opting for temporary closures. These include the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum. The Pulitzer is closed through March 3 for an exhibition change. Please verify with the venues for any of the following events. Be prepared to show proof of full vaccination or negative covid test (PLEASE, just get vaccinated!).

2022 brings changes in local arts leadership: Kelly Pollock, Executive Director at COCA, announced her upcoming resignation in July. St. Louis Classical Guitar Society welcomes St. Louisan Brian Vaccaro as its new Executive Director. And, as mentioned last month, Gene Dobbs Bradford leaves Jazz St. Louis to head the Savannah (Georgia) Music Festival.

And remember that The Next Set: Live from Jazz St. Louis continues on 90.7 KWMU FM or stream on St. Louis Public Radio (www.stlpr.org) every Friday and Sunday night at 8:00 pm.

Kick-start the month on February 5 when Dance St. Louis presents Tango Argentina, 7:30 p.m. at the Touhill on UMSL campus. Eight amazing dancers with a quartet of musicians, all from Argentina, bring unique choreography and improvised elements to this one-night-only performance. Wow, oh, wow! Tickets at www.dancestlouis.org

Tickets to Farewell, Gene! on February 8 are going fast. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate Gene Dobbs Bradford’s contributions to Jazz St. Louis’ success before he leaves St. Louis. Food, drinks, performances and fun await, starting at 6:30 p.m. www.jazzstl.org.

Gordon Parks has long been recognized as a trailblazing photographer, bringing the struggles of the Black community to public attention. A Choice of Weapons is a documentary film exploring Parks’ legacy through the lens of three contemporary photographers who spotlight the visionary work and its impact on future photographers. See it on February 12, 1-3 p.m., at International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, 3425 Olive. There is no cost but reservations are required, www.iphf.org

Through February 13, experience two of avant-garde filmmaker Harun Farocki’s (1944-2014)

most critically renowned works, Images of the World and the Inscription of War (1988) and Schnittstelle (Interface) (1995), at the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum on Washington University’s campus. For screening times and visit details, go to www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu

The Fabulous Fox presents two musicals originally scheduled for September 2020. Feel 18 again at The Prom which runs through February 6. Stay in those teen years because Tina Fey’s Mean Girls is up next, February 15-27. Tickets at www.fabulousfox.com.

To relive even more of those long-gone teen years, The Friends of The Sheldon bring All That Totally ‘90’s Prom to The Sheldon Ballroom, 3648 Washington, February 19, 8-11 p.m. Tickets include hors d’oeuvres, drink tickets, parking, even a tax deduction! Era-appropriate attire encouraged. Reserve tickets at www.TheSheldon.org/events/90sProm/ 

Metro Theater Company brings Last Stop on Market Street to life onstage at the Grandel Theatre in Grand Center, February 6-27. A virtual streaming version is also available, February 11-27. This Motown-meets-Hip-Hop story is a family-friendly joy ride that will leave audiences dancing in their seats! Learn more at www.metroplays.org

Art St. Louis hosts Light, a virtual exhibition through March 1. This multi-media juried show presents 59 works that explore the visual essence of light, all in a virtual “gallery” setting. See it at www.artstlouis.org. An in-person exhibition, The Conversation, continues in the Art St. Louis gallery, 1223 Pine, through February 16.

To complement Lorna Simpson’s use of Ebony and Jet magazines for her video installation Heads currently at the Contemporary Art Museum, a free special program, RE: Ebony and Jet, is scheduled for 6 p.m. on February 17, 3750 Washington. This public seminar and celebration will discuss what impact these publications have made, followed by a reception and art-making station.www.camstl.org

Webster Arts presents its Open Theme Annual exhibition in its new space at 2 Summit Avenue through February 28. From 285 submitted entries, 50 works by artists (including me!) from 15 states will be on view in the gallery, and online at www.webster-arts.org/gallery

Through March 25, stop by the Staenberg Gallery at Craft Alliance, 5080 Delmar, to view Reflection Tea: 18th Biennial Teapot Exhibition. Curated by Singapore-born Fong Choo, this exhibition focuses on being present, on experiencing tea as a loving, sharing, calming event. Details at www.craftalliance.org

In the midst of an ongoing global pandemic and world-wide reckonings around systemic inequality and injustice, humans are experiencing heightened need for coping and recovery. Salutory Sculpture is a group exhibition of work by eight artists, exploring art’s ability to aid adaption, recovery and rehabilitation. See it February 12-May 15 in the Aronson Fine Arts Center’s Whitaker Foundation Gallery at Laumeier Sculpture Park, 12580 Rott Road, www.laumeier.org. “Throughout 2022, we will explore the important role that art and nature play in an individual’s and the community’s overall health and wellness,” said Nicole Orlando, Marketing and Communications Manager at Laumeier. “Art’s role in healing is nothing new.”