Some St. Louis arts professionals are cooking up a new publication, following a proven recipe: “Sauce” magazine.
“All the Art” is set to debut with a short stack of 500 copies in April. Backers expect to begin their first full distribution of 10,000 copies on Sept. 1. They plan to pay for the soft launch with a crowdfunding campaign. They hope advertising sales will fund the full launch of the quarterly publication.
Part of the reason for emulating the 13-year-old “Sauce” publication is its slick look, according to “All the Art” managing director, artist and art educator Amy Reidel.
“Sauce magazine is visually striking. It’s put together so that you want to pick it up,” Reidel said.
“All the Art” executive editor Sarah Hermes Griesbach also likes “Sauce” for its ability to nudge readers into novel experiences.
“Sauce readers go to new restaurants, they try out new recipes, they look for types of coffee and beer and wine that they would not seek out otherwise,” Griesbach said. “And we want to do the same thing for the arts community.”
Crossing Delmar, I-270 and the Rivers
A local, independent magazine dedicated to the visual arts is long overdue in St. Louis, according to Griesbach, an art educator and critic who wrote freelance articles for the St. Louis Beacon.
“We would like to be able to create a platform for a rich dialogue about what’s going on in St. Louis in the visual art world, but we would also like to bring new voices into that mix,” Griesbach said.
Even the name reflects a mission of inclusion, she said. Calling it “All the Art” is a commitment to write about newcomers, well-known artists, small galleries and large institutions. Griesbach says the magazine will be distributed in communities including Edwardsville, Ferguson, the Central West End and St. Charles.
“Our readership will cross the Delmar Divide, it will cross 270, it will cross the rivers, a readership that truly brings together voices about St. Louis,” Griesbach said.
The magazine’s writers and photographers will also represent a wide cross-section of the St. Louis area. They will document St. Louis-held exhibitions, including those of art-of-town artists, something that will encourage more artists to exhibit in the Gateway City, Griesbach said.
It will also cover the local exhibits of St. Louis artists, of course, and also document their showings in galleries outside the area. Articles will include informational pieces as well as criticism. "All the Art" will not preview exhibits. Neither will it include a calendar of upcoming shows but it will provide links to existing calendars.
The content of “All the Art” will appear on its website as well as in print.
Can It Succeed?
"All the Art" began to garner a number of supporters last summer, in its early planning stages. Students of Mike Swoboda’s class at St. Louis Community College, Meramec, will provide the graphic design.
Fort Gondo art gallery, 3151 Cherokee St., will act as a fiscal sponsor for the publication until it establishes its own 501(c)3 status. That relationship includes no financial or other support but allows the magazine to apply for grants.
Fort Gondo co-owner Jessica Baran has for years pushed for more critical writing about the work of local artists. Such writing creates a record of artists' work. It makes their efforts matter. Providing written documentation is also a critical component of grant applications, Baran said.
Baran is especially pleased that “All the Art” will be an independent entity, not associated with any specific gallery or existing as a part of some broader publication.
“It’s exclusively driven by art,” Baran said.
As for the magazine’s chances for success, Baran hopes for the best. But she’s a realist.
“Art has always been a really hard sell,” she said. “The news media struggles to keep the arts afloat, and in funding, it’s always the first thing to be cut in schools.”
But Baran points to the growing number of artists in St. Louis who clamor for more critical writing. Their support, alone, may be enough, she said. Baran also said it bodes well that the founders of “All the Art” are solidly embedded in the region.
“They actually know our community well,” Baran said. “They seem to and have a great sense of St. Louis’ past and present.”
Follow Nancy Fowler on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL