Donna Korando

Arts & Culture, Voices Editor

Donna Korando started work in journalism at SIU’s Daily Egyptian in 1968. In between Carbondale and St. Louis Public Radio, she taught high school in Manitowoc, Wis., and worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the copy editor and letters editor for the editorial page from 1973-77. As an editorial writer from 1977-87, she covered Illinois and city politics, education, agriculture, family issues and sub-Saharan Africa. When she was editor of the Commentary Page from 1987-2003, the page won several awards from the Association of Opinion Page Editors. From 2003-07, she headed the features copy desk.

She was part of the original staff of the St. Louis Beacon where she worked with features and commentary articles, combining her experience at the Post-Dispatch. Those areas remain her focus.

In addition to a journalism degree from SIUC, Donna earned a master of studies in law from Yale Law School. Her son and daughter took to heart her advice to go away to college and live far from St. Louis. Two cats rule the house.

Ways to Connect

Wesley So and Susan Polgar
Provided by Susan Polgar

The vibrancy of chess in the St. Louis area continues to grow. For example the U.S. Championships return to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis on May 8.

But one of the bright spots – the strength of the university programs here – recently received close scrutiny. While Lindenwood and others are building strong teams, Webster University brought in the chess world’s version of John Calipari or Coach K: Susan Polgar and her team of grandmasters left Texas Tech University for the St. Louis suburbs in 2012.

Louise Bradshaw
Ray Meibaum | St. Louis Zoo

The St. Louis Zoo has received a $1.5 million gift from the Saigh Foundation that will, in essence, create an endowed chair for the Zoo’s education department.

That department is headed by Louise Bradshaw, who will become the first Fred Saigh Director of Education.

In an interview with St. Louis Public Radio, she said this provides a lot of security for the zoo’s wide-ranging educational programs.

“We’re able to reach over 1.7 million guests with the Zoo’s conservation education messages,” she said.

Billy Peek, Coco Soul, Gavin DeGraw, Miss Jubilee, Ralph Butler, Javier Mendoza
file photos

Nothing quite signals that the weather is heating up than the beginning of free outdoor, neighborhood concert series throughout the St. Louis area.

Tonight, April 25, the Ferguson concerts kick off with Samba Bon. Tuesday, April 29, is the beginning of the Twilight Tuesdays series at the Missouri History Museum. The featured group there is FatPocket.

Finding Vivian Maier
movie Facebook page

Finding Vivian Maier,” a documentary opening Feb. 25 at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema, tells the story of a woman who worked as a nanny in New York and Chicago. She also took thousands of photographs that were never published and only discovered fairly recently.

Her story piqued the interest of the art world. The quality of her work has sustained it.

Pam Hogg, Black dress with collar
Courtesy of Pam Hogg

Let’s start with the assumption that this weekend will actually be the start of spring. It does not matter what the calendar says, that really was frost a few days ago.

And perhaps you have extra family around because of Easter or Passover. Here a couple of ideas to get everyone out of the house.

Wole Soyinka

An international flare can be found in St. Louis this week.

The Black Rep is presenting “The Trials of Brother Jero” as its last offering of the season. The show will run April 9-27 at the Emerson Performance Center at Harris-Stowe State University. For details and information go to the website

Provided by the production

Ah, first Friday and galleries are open. There are lots of things to see, including Carmon Colangelo and others at Bruno David, Maurice Meredith at Portfolio, Gail Cassilly at the Bonsack and the formal opening of the Shearburn Gallery. The Vaughn Center is hosting the Faces Project, which showcases portraits of child victims of gun violence.

Hap Phillips and Nita Turnage’s work can be seen at SOHA Studio and Gallery; and the Creative Exchange Lab is putting up a show that examines the redevelopment of Old North St. Louis.

old Millstadt Water Tower
Frank Butterfield, Landmarks Illinois

Three southern Illinois structures are among those identified as endangered by Landmarks Illinois. This year’s list includes the Hamilton Primary School in Otterville (Jersey County); Hotel Belleville, which last was used as a retirement home by the Belleville diocese; and the Old Millstadt Water Tower.

Courtesy of Tokyo Institute of Technology

The Kemper Art Museum is hosting the very interesting “On the Thresholds of Space-Making: Shinohara Kazuo and His Legacy.” The exhibit, which runs through April 20, includes photos, original drawings and sketches. It is the first U.S. museum exhibit on an architect who helped reinvent architecture in Japan.

Dan Dreyfus | St. Louis Symphony

Fred Bronstein, who has led the St. Louis Symphony since 2008, is leaving to head the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

Wm Morrow

When I saw that Tim Townsend had written a book centered on the Lutheran chaplain at the Nuremberg trials, I knew I would read it.

The Rev. Henry Gerecke ended his career in Chester, Ill. There he was assistant pastor of St. John Lutheran Church and the chaplain at the state prison and mental hospital. I graduated from the church’s grade school and relatives work at that prison.

But I have no personal memory of Gerecke. He died the year before we moved from the farm into town. And when we lived on the farm, we went another direction to church.

Jazz Player II Acrylic on canvas. 1990. Artist: Wadsworth A. Jarrell
Provided by SLUMA

Art historian and curator Adrienne Childs will lead a discussion on the details and history of the artwork in “Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 25, at the Missouri History Museum. She will also talk about the artwork at 11 a.m. March 25 at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art. The exhibit runs through May 18. Included in the exhibit are more than 60 works from such artists as Romare Bearden, Thelma Johnson Streat and Wadsworth Jarrell.

Voting booths
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

The news focus on Tuesday's Illinois primary has largely been on statewide or congressional races. However, issues and local races are also important. For those in the area who are looking for a clean list of what they will find on their ballots, different counties have different options.

Provided by the St. Louis Art Museum

The names in the exhibit opening March 16 at the St. Louis Art Museum are all well known. Painters Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet and Berthe Morisot are all represented along with photographers Gustave Le Gray and Charles Marville.

“Impressionist France” – which will be up from March 16-July 6 – presents images of France created between 1850 and 1880.

Provided by STL250

Got cake?

If your area is slated to get one of the celebratory STL250 cakes, but you haven’t seen it yet, never fear. The sweetness is on its way.

As cake artist (and pastry chef) April Morrison explained, the weather disrupted the cake plans as it did much else this winter. She is finishing her 11th cake and has found the experience to be enlightening.

Brent Jones, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

The first street of St. Louis wasn’t a street at all, just a towpath, according to the St. Louis-French association Les Amis, which provided the information for the duplicate street signs that are appearing downtown. Houses fronted that towpath, and three named streets ran behind the homes:

Philip Slein Gallery

According to the release from Philip Slein Gallery, Gary Stephen has had more than 70 solo shows and has received awards from the Whitney Biennial, the National Endowmen of the Arts and others. His work is now at the gallery at 4735 McPherson Ave through March 29.

To find out more, we went to a 2010 article by David Carrier in Art Critical about Stephan’s “Transcending Suburbia” show.

David Robertson conducting at Powell Hall.
Scott Ferguson

The St. Louis Symphony has announced that David Robertson’s contract as music director has been extended through the 2017-18 season. Robertson came to St. Louis in 2005.

Donna Korando | St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

Nebula sent the email: "When internationally acclaimed street artist Faring Purth arrived in St. Louis last week looking to paint, all signs pointed to Cherokee as a vibrant creative district that embraces public art. With generous support from the greater St. Louis community of art lovers we pulled together funding and a boom lift to make it happen. A few days later in 20 degree temps, the form of a giant 80’ mural is taking shape on the South wall of Nebula."

Who is Faring Purth?

The obituary headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch read, Trebor Tichenor: The man with the backwards name. His father, Robert, gave him a gift of distinction by inverting his own name for his son. His mother gave him an equally lasting gift: ragtime music.

She played in Letty’s Collegiate Syncopators in the 1930s and required him to learn piano.

Provided by SLAM

Word from the Art Museum sent me looking for more information.

First the release: “The Saint Louis Art Museum presents Anything but Civil: Kara Walker’s Vision of the Old South. Kara Walker, the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur fellowship in 1997, is internationally renowned for her black-paper cut-out silhouettes of the American South. The free exhibition opens in Galleries 234 and 235 on Feb. 26.”

Jill McGuire and Kelly McMahn with cakes
Bill Greenbaltt | UPI

Cakes – lots of cakes – will be distributed throughout the area. Finding the pieces of public art can be a fun family project.

NOTE: Because of the unloving weather on Valentine's Day, the Burning Love Festival will be held from 6-9 p.m. Feb. 18. The event will still include vendors, entertainment and the Burnin’ Love 25 foot Heart of Fire.

Burning Love | Feb. 14 | Art Hill

(Yes, there will be tents and warming stations)

4:30 – Family friendly crafts & activities

Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
Provided by the foundation

In a recent conversation with my daughter, who works in the arts, I said that I liked to know about the artist before seeing his or her work.

She disagreed, saying that the art should be experienced on its own by each person. Expectations could cloud the impressions created.

I understand her view, but coming into something cold makes me feel vulnerable (which I’m sure she would say is a good thing) and the journalist in me wants to have done homework.

Richard Hayman
St. Louis Symphony

Richard Hayman, whose corny jokes and flashy suits became essential parts of the Pops at Powell and Queeny pops concerts, died Feb. 5. He was 93 years old and, according to the Miami Herald, was in hospice care in New York.

Hayman came to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as its principal pops conductor in 1976. And as a release from the symphony notes, he also was a highly regarded arranger and composer.

John Cage

Last week, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra took over the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.

That symphony musicians play at the Pulitzer is not news. Ensembles have been bringing new works to the Grand Center neighbor for some time. But this time it was the entire orchestra and the work was a major piece by an American composer that had not be presented in this country before.

Bob Uecker, Rick Hummel and Robert Duffy were honored by the St. Louis Press Club on Jan. 21.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

On Tuesday night, the Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis honored Rick Hummel, Post-Dispatch baseball columnist, with its Media Person of the Year award, and it bestowed Lifetime Achievement Awards on Bob Uecker, baseball announcer, and Bob Duffy, campaign director of St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon.

Was there a theme for the evening? Sports, sports, arts? Commentators? People whose work often touches those things that bring enjoyment to others?

OK. But what makes these folks stand out?

the jefferson statue in the Missouri History Museum
Chris Yunker | Creative Commons

1866 -Missouri Historical Society created. The private organization was started to save “from oblivion the early history of the city and the state.

1913 - Jefferson Memorial Building dedicated. It was built at the site of the main entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair with proceeds from that event.

1988 - Missouri History Museum joins the tax-supported Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District (1987 election). It retains its own board for day-to-day operations and a subdistrict board is added to oversee tax money.

Antonio French

First, a tribute to those who are trying to work as the snow piles up. But for many, though, it's been a day at home. Reports have come in of cookies baking, chili in Crock-Pots and books being read by people curled up under warm throws.

We asked staff and friends to send us photos if they ventured out — some stayed in and took their photos; others didn't venture far, except for the intrepid Robert W. Duffy. To share your pictures, email to

sign for medical marijuana
Wikimedia Commons

With the start of the new year, hundred of laws are taking effect in Illinois. The marquee issues include marijuana, cell phone use, sex education and littering. But all sorts of laws will become enforceable, dealing with everything from special license plates to health-and-safety requirements. For a comprehensive list, go to the Quincy Journal.

view of studio
Thomas Crone for the Beacon

The move of community radio station KDHX from the former bakery on Magnolia Avenue to the newly rehabbed building in Grand Center was completed Sunday. The "Songwriters Showcase" broadcast from the old station from 10 a.m. to noon.