ARTful Living: Hot August Provides “Cool” Arts

Works by Ken Paradise

by Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Healthy Planet Arts Editor

“Hot, August night, with the leaves hanging down and the grass on the ground smelling sweet.” Neil Diamond’s lyrics accurately described August. It might be hot, but there’s a LOT of ARTful things to do this month, to keep you ‘way cool!

Performances continue through the month, as the Muny’s 2022 season finishes with The Color Purple, August 3-9, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, August 12-18. It’s St. Louis’ summer tradition, so grab your tickets to these last two shows. 

The Republic of India celebrates its 75th year of Independence through Amrutha Mahotsava, “the joy of freedom.” To mark this anniversary, Soorya Performing Arts presents Samarpan, an historical dance-drama that represents the freedom struggle against the British colonization of India. The performance is colorful, deeply moving and truly unforgettable. Just one night only on August 13, 6 p.m., at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. www.sooryaperformingarts.org 

Union Avenue Opera, 733 N. Union, offers up a cool summer performance with Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music (in English, of course) on August 19-20 and 26-27 at 8 p.m. Who doesn’t love Sondheim, right?

The St. Louis Art Museum continues Catching the Moment: Contemporary Art from the Ted L. and Maryanne Ellison Simmons Collection of 190 items gathered by the St. Louis Cardinal and his wife over the years. The exhibition runs through September 18. Plus, beautiful Chinese Silk Textiles of the Ming and Qing Dynasties is on display through December 18. www.slam.org 

If you happen to be at the Art Museum on August 13, check out Missouri Botanical Garden’s monthly pop-up, held there as part of its Green Living Festival. These info-events have been held at various cultural spots throughout St. Louis all summer. Learn from experts about the environment and sustainable practices at this family-friendly event. www.mobot.org 

Laumeier Sculpture Park, 12580 Rott Road, showcases Forest Through the Trees, August 27-December 11. The indoor and outdoor exhibition brings together artists from St. Louis and around the world, each working in their own diverse mediums. According to Communications Manager Nicole Orlando, “Their observations range from representation through landscape to conceptual experimentation where the tree is treated as both subject and object.” www.laumeier.org 

Norton’s Fine Art, 2025 S. Big Bend, hosts an exhibition of works by Ken Paradise, through August 13. Largely self-taught, the artist offers intriguing views of everyday life in acrylics and oils. www.nortonsfineart.com 

Art Saint Louis presents Nourish, a virtual exhibition of 29 original visual artworks exploring food and food cultures by 26 St. Louis regional artists from Missouri and Illinois, online at www.artstlouis.org , through September 1 (I need to go get a snack…..). Concurrently, (all the) Feels, an exhibition about emotions and feelings, runs through September 8 in the gallery at 1223 Pine. 

Through October 22, check out two awesome photography exhibitions, 2022 IPHF International Photography Contest Exhibition and Silver Seas: an Odyssey – The Underwater Photography of Ernest H. Brooks II. Both are at the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, 3415 Olive. www.iphf.org 

Throughout August, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival takes A Midsummer Night’s Dream to 24 parks (!!) all across the region, for free performances in Fairgrounds and Carondelet Parks, Ferguson and beyond. See the complete list at www.stlouisshakes.org

What are you doing on August 10th? The Gateway Guitar Quartet returns for their monthly performance at The Cheshire Lobby (every second Wednesday of the month), free and open to the public. Enjoy beautiful music by a classical guitar quartet, 7-9 p.m., plus the ambience of the famed Cheshire Inn’s Fox & Hounds Tavern, on Clayton just west of Skinker. www.stlclassicalguitar.org 

On August 27, Crossroads Arts Council in Wentzville hosts Paint Historic Wentzville. Watch as artists of all ages paint en plein air (outdoors) at various sites around the downtown area, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. It’s fun to chat with the artists, watch them work, and maybe even purchase a masterpiece before the paint dries! www.crossroadsartscouncil.org 

On the third Saturday of every month through December, check out the Gazebo Artists Market at Gazebo Park, 4 East Lockwood in Webster. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. there is live music as various artists display and sell their work, along with a special youth art tent for under-18 artists. Cool idea! www.webster-arts.org