ARTful Living: Summer Arts Are Sizzling

Spring Church Interior

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky,
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

Caption: Interior of Spring Church, a renovated area for art.

(NOTE: While we all hope to stay healthy and well this summer, please verify any restrictions due to unexpected Covid-19 changes on the provided websites). 

Just around the corner from The Pulitzer and the Contemporary Art Museum, on Spring Avenue, is an intriguing, ghostly structure known as the Spring Church. Since 2022, The Pulitzer has been actively stabilizing the beloved community landmark to create a safe, welcoming public space, ideal for artist projects. This month, July 16-24, Pulitzer-resident artist Jordan Weber hosts All Our Liberations, the first artistic project within the structure’s stone walls since 2008 when The Light Project was presented there. Weber plans a series of programs for both formerly incarcerated individuals and members of the pubic for this endeavor. www.pulitzerarts.org

Through July 25, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum presents Nicole Miller: A Sound, A Signal, The Circus. This California-based artist and filmmaker is known for her evocative videos and multimedia installations. Describing this major new commissioned project, the artist stated that, “it explores and expands an understanding of synesthesia as it relates to the Black experience in the United States through an intricate choreography of sound, moving image, and laser-light animation,” using a 24-channel soundscape to guide visitors through the gallery. 

While at the Kemper, be sure to also view (UN)Masking Health: Counter Perspectives, and Chitra Ganesh’s Dreaming in Multiverse. www.kemperartmuseum@wustl.edu

If photography is your medium of interest, fill a Saturday afternoon (1-4 p.m.) with this documentary double feature by Robert Fink: Leaving Home, Coming Home and Don’t Blink, showing at International Photography Hall of Fame, 3425 Olive on July 16. www.iphf.org

Summer at St. Louis Art Museum includes Catching the Moment, celebrating the acquisition of some 833 works of contemporary art collected by Cardinal baseball great Ted Simmons and his wife Maryann Ellison Simmons. The exhibition cuts a broad swath of social, political and art historical issues by artists of the Simmons’ favorite era. 

Continuig that exhibition’s theme, this summer’s Art Hill Film Series is titled “Game On!” Featured films—all free—are A League of Their Own (July 8), Love and Basketball (July 15), Bend It Like Beckham (July 22) and the beloved Sandlot (July29). The party starts on Art Hill at 6 p.m.; film at 9 p.m. Bring your blanket, snacks and family! www.slam.org

Ste. Genevieve, Missouri (just 1-hour south of St. Louis) is the oldest European settlement west of the Mississippi. Now its National Landmark Historic District has been designated a National Park, but it gets even better when ASL Pewter hosts the Traditional Artisan Showcase, July 16-17. Meet some of the nation’s best traditional artists, as selected by Early American Life magazine, view their works, and maybe take home a treasure. www.aslpewter.com

Through July 10th, Jacoby Arts Center in Alton offers Rise, Artists of Color Showcase. This multi-media exhibition celebrates the diversity of the contemporary artistic community. www.jacobyartscenter.org

Continue on to the All-Media Juried Art Exhibition, July 5-29th, at Lillian Yahn Gallery, 3028 Winghaven in O’Fallon, presented by the St. Charles County Arts Council. There’s an awards-presentation/reception, 2-4 p.m., on July 10th. www.stcharlesart.org

Green Door Gallery, 21 N. Gore, serves up Abstracted, an exhibition of works by multiple artists, July 6-August 27. The public is invited to the opening reception on July 8, 5-8 p.m. www.greendoorartgallery.com

Union Avenue Opera lets Tchaikovsky’s operatic genius shine forth in the melancholic yet sophisticated Eugene Onegin, performed in original Russian, July 8-9, 15-16. It’s a cautionary tale of what was, what was not, and what could have been.

Then lighten up with Verdi’s riotous romp, Falstaff, July 29-30, August 4-5. As an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor, this opera declares, “Drink. Cheat, Scheme. Repeat. Just don’t get caught!” in Italian. Both operas are performed at 733 N. Union Boulevard. www.unionavenueopera.org

The St. Louis summer classics continue with performances at the Muny: Mary Poppins (July 5-13), Sweeney Todd (July 16-22) and Legally Blonde (July 25-31) in Forest Park. Order tickets at www.muny.org. The Whitaker Concert Series in Missouri Botanical Garden at 7 p.m. on Wednesday evenings continues all month with We Are Root Mod (July 6), Sweetie and the Toothaches (July 13), Mo Egeston All-Stars (July 20) and The Soulard Blues Band (July 27). Concerts are free, but advance reservations are required. www.mobot.org

Stages St. Louis is turning up excitement in the theatre scene this summer. Following the premiere performance of The Karate Kid in June, In the Heights arrives July 22 at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. With music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, this musical will be the topic of summer conversations. The show runs through August 21. www.stagesstllouis.org