St. Louis’ oldest art institution — The Artists’ Guild — is new again.
On Tuesday, The Guild will reopen in its vast new space, at 12 North Jackson Ave. on the eastern edge of downtown Clayton.
The nearly 130-year-old organization has spent the past several months moving from the nearby Oak Knoll Park location. It was there for 20 years.
The reopening will debut a new exhibition called “Move,” curated by artist Bryan Haynes. Each of the more than 100 pieces in the show reflect some sort of aspect of movement. Executive director Kathryn Nahorski gave an example of how even a vibrant, but seemingly still, zebra painting (pictured below; see larger image in slide show, above) fits within the exhibition’s parameters.
“The color changes as it moves across the picture plane,” Nahorski said. “I hope as people visit the exhibit, they’re looking for what that element is, be it a color change to a bicycle rider, that expresses movement.”
More space, more visitors?
The Oak Knoll location had numerous small rooms. The new gallery in what was once Ivey-Selkirk after it was Famous-Barr, is 5,000 square feet of open space. Late last week, the place buzzed with activity as workers cleaned floors and artwork was unwrapped and displayed.
Most of those who came in for a look seemed pleased, according to Nahorski.
“The artists that were bringing their work for this show would peek in and go ‘Wow,’” Nahroski said. “Or, they were like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so big.’ And I’m like, ‘It’s going to make your work look great.’”
The Guild hopes to soon be able to divide the area with a half-dozen moveable walls “so that we can reconfigure the space and have inset smaller shows also, within the large, juried shows,” Nahorski said.
The upstairs areas, still under construction, will be used for The Guild’s education programs and office space.
Nahorski hopes the more centralized, trafficked location will bring in new guests.
“We’re hoping that, within walking distance of businesses and neighborhoods, that even on a lunch break someone might come and visit us,” she said.
The Guild is the oldest art organization in St. Louis. Nahorski said. She thinks it’s also the oldest west of the Mississippi River. Next year, The Guild celebrates its 130th birthday.
It began looking for a new home when it ran into financial problems more than three years ago. Nahorski said those problems were resolved. But by then, The Guild was excited about finding a more open and flexible location.
The city of Clayton is in negotiations with a possible tenant for the Oak Knoll building, but would not name the organization or individual.
‘Move’ debut exhibition by St. Louis Artists’ Guild
Where: 12 North Jackson Ave., 63105
When: General opening 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, June 2; Opening reception 5-8 p.m. Friday, June 5
How much: Free
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