New airport art aims to draw attention to artist camaraderie amid social division | St. Louis Public Radio

New airport art aims to draw attention to artist camaraderie amid social division

Nov 22, 2017

Holiday travelers will have a chance to see new art at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport this week.

At a time when many likely view the city as divided divided along political, economic and social lines, the exhibit in Terminal 1 aims to draw attention to the camaraderie and collaborative spirit that dominate the city’s art scene.

“With everything that’s going on in St. Louis and our country as a whole it’s important to remember the essence of community,” Gloria Mills, curator, said.

“This project allowed a lot of artists to come together and really create something together, not just be a part of some sort of mix-matched exhibition,” Mills said.

Contributing artists gather next to one of the sculptures that make up the show 'Inclusive' at Lambert.
Credit Provided by the St. Louis International Lambert Airport

The exhibit, titled “Inclusive,” consists of two sculptures of reclaimed brick and wood integrated with photographs and painting by local artists, among them Eugenia Alexander, Marcis Curtis, Jesus Roman, Jessica J. Page and Stephen Roach. The work is on display in the airport’s ticketing lounge near the Delta booth.

Mills, who organized the exhibit, runs the St. Louis arts-focused website, art-bae.com. She said the pieces make an important statement about the vibrancy of the young artists in St. Louis.

The various styles and media of the artists represents the collaborative nature of the project and the city’s creative community, she said.

“As people travel to St. Louis – just kind of putting the message forth that we are an inclusive city and you can be comfortable here, be your raw, real self here, was important for me,” Mills said “It was important to make something representative of us. We have a lot of talent here and not necessarily enough resources, so this opportunity to highlight us as a creative community was very important for me.”

Roman, an emerging artist, met Mills through the Old North First Friday events. He contributed one of his first oil paintings and was flattered to show work before so many people.

“It always feels good when someone recognizes your work,” he said.

Page, another emerging artist, contributed a photograph of the St. Louis Arch, tinted blue. She said the artists wanted to evoke the colors from the St. Louis flag: red, yellow, and blue.

Page said blue is an important color for the city because of its proximity to a major river and history with blues music.

“When I actually saw how everything came together, and how the framing was made, I was really just blown away and excited that, because it was going to be in the airport, there was going to be a lot of people seeing my work,” she said.

Curtis was tasked with framing the work. His contributions of red brick and reclaimed wood weave together the artists’ contributions. He said he wanted the bricks at the base of the sculpture provide a metaphor how people relate to the city.

“Everything  rises out of that brick much in the same way that I think the people that live in this city come from that in a real sense,” Curtis said.

The work will be on display through May 2018.

Follow Willis on Twitter: @WillisRArnold