All the Arts holds speed-dating event between artists and institutions with bigger hopes

Jan 10, 2016

The publication All the Art continues to try and fill voids they see in the St. Louis art scene. This weekend they tried to bridge the gap between art makers and organizations that show art. 

“It just gives us the chance to be able to make the connections that we need, that we might not know that’s available to us, so I think this is really beneficial to everyone,” said Jacqueline Craig, 27, creative head director of First Friday Art Walks, Old North, who will soon open Art C Gallery.

Jacaueline Craig poses in front of one of her paintings.
Credit Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Saturday, Sarah Hermes Greisbach and her editorial partner, Amy Reidel, held a three-hour event titled “Connect the Dots: An Art-oriented Matchmaking Event for the St. Louis Region” to bring those two camps into closer dialog. More than 100 people showed up for the event at the Thomas Dunn Learning Center next to Marquette Park in the Dutchtown Neighborhood. The location was selected because the learning center offers its space for classes and workshops at either low prices or free of charge. The event aimed to increase artists’ understanding of what galleries, venues and museums are looking for in terms of local artwork. Artists from various neighborhoods and disciplines were also invited to provide 15-minute presentations on their work.

“Our hope is that each person that’s here will be bold and brave and introduce themselves to someone and find something that they need and find ways in which they can assist others,” said Griesbach.

The speed-dating-esque event let artists sit face to face with administrators and curators to discuss their work and whether it fits with certain institution’s anesthetics and goals. Artists and administrators talked about application and grant processes as well as additional support programs that exist in the St. Louis Region. The event featured art education programs and cooperative groups as well. 

Artist Peter Martin, 44, is from St. Louis and said this type of event was indicative of a change in the arts community over recent years. He said there seems to be a specific push to make relationships between artists and venues more transparent over recent years.

Artists and organizers were happy to meet each other and discuss their work.
Credit Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Gina Alvarez, 41, Executive Director VSA Missouri and Living Arts, supported this theory. She said the event was likely the first like it that she’s ever attended. 

“This is one of the first that I’ve participated in to this degree. It reinforces that St. Louis is a culturally vibrant community and there’s a lot to offer in terms of the arts,” said Alvarez.

Some felt the event got to the heart of the art scene’s largest issues: how to promote more local art while supporting it financially or strategically.

For Greisbach, there’s even more at stake.  She hoped the event can be a launching pad for the arts organizations to come together and form an arts lobby group to compete with other interests in the city. 

“We should be able say when the idea comes up to build a new stadium, ‘No, you know, we have some alternative ideas that make a lot more sense, that support St. Louis much more than another sports facility ever could,'” she said.

All the Art organizers intends to make Connect the Dots an annual event in the coming years.