art

Clockwide from top left, Damon Davis, Freida Wheaton, Michael Castro, Brian Owens, Lee Patton Chiles, De Nichols
St. Louis Public Radio file photos

For the past year, a tragic and powerful muse has fed the energy and work of St. Louis-area artists.

The shooting death of Michael Brown and the unpeeling of issues that followed have inspired a bounty of work with a social-justice mission. As we near the Aug. 9 anniversary of Brown’s death, we talked with a number of arts professionals about their work in the wake of the turmoil:

Damon Davis hands up
www.heartacheandpaint.com

The 11-plus miles of actual roadways that separate Ferguson and Ladue might as well be the distance between St. Louis and Shanghai — or at least it feels that way sometimes.

The variations and nuances that register in our psyches and imaginations — the old bugaboos of fears, conflicts, realities, prejudices, heritage, history, economics — all of this and so many more obstacles litter a twisting, turning virtual pathway between the two communities.

William Morris
Durrie Bouscaren

When William Morris was growing up in St. Louis in the 1970s, his mother was close behind with her Super 8 camera.

Unidentified artist, Helmet mask, wood. length of 30 and one-half inches. The Arti Institute of Chicago, African and Amerindian Purchase Fund, 1963:842
Provided by St. Louis Art Museum

“Senufo Unbound: Dynamics of Art and Identity in West Africa,” an exhibit of extraordinary interest that opened recently at the St. Louis Art Museum, is the rare bird that flies between two branches with grace and a keen sense of intelligent direction.

William Morris, Brett Williams and Meghan Grubb
Nancy Fowler

Three local artists received $1,500 each on Tuesday night to help fund projects that include home movies and ideas about the spaces where we live.

In an event at The Sheldon Art Galleries, the local Critical Mass for the Visual Arts organization named the recipients of its 2015 Creative Stimulus Awards. The money helps pay for the cost of ongoing work as well as funding new projects.

The 2015 winners are:

St. Lou Fringe Festival Left, Em Piro; Middle, Alicen Moser; Right, Joe Hanrahan
Alex Heuer

Four years ago, St. Lou Fringe set out on a “passion project” to create an event that provided a networking platform for emerging artists to gain exposure. The project became known as the “St. Lou Fringe Festival,” which includes 10 days of performances from a diverse variety of art forms, including slam poetry, magic, fashion design and street performance. The overall goal of the organization is to promote St. Louis as a “hotspot for cultural and economic vitality” through arts culture.

Aunt Mamie Lang, Sister of Uncle Jim Lang to the Otey’s Nellie & Brothers ,” ca.  1890, Photographer Unknown (Star Gallery, Kansas Ci ty), ca. 1890, albumen print  cabinet card 6 ½ x 4 ¼ inches, in period frame. Collection of Robert E. Green.
The Sheldon

Pictures don’t lie, the saying goes.  But according to collector Robert Green of St. Louis’ near north side, many historic photos and other renderings of African Americans fail to tell the truth, or at least the whole story.

Fury by Josh Svoboda
St. Louis Artists' Guild

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.

via Flickr\Orbspiders

What is art?

That is the question Alton, Ill. residents and council members debated after the owner of a tattoo parlor, Grand Piasa Body Art, proposed relocating his business to East Broadway Street, in the city’s historic downtown district.

Wreath of Sanity by Eileen Cheong, art therapist
Nancy Fowler

One out of every four people will experience mental illness in any given year. And 100 percent of them can be artists, according to an exhibit at UMSL’s Gallery 210.

Katelyn Mae Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

A group of skaters screeched, weaving circles around the rink. Dozens of booths sat in the rink’s center. Artists sat at the booths, selling their work to the crowd that milled through the rink. The skaters flew past T-shirts printed with crass but clever jokes, collages of old pinups, fanarts of popular comics.

Shaun Thomas, working on wood with acrylic paint markers, in front of student-made masks, which will also be on display
Edo Rosenblith

Many kids with severe autism can’t speak their minds. But when they communicate their thoughts and feelings through paint, paper mache, tin foil and beads, it can be a work of art.

Art by kids with autism is on display through June 6 at Cherokee Street’s beverly gallery, in a show called "Double Rainbow." The artists are students of Giant Steps, a private school for children, teenagers and young adults up to 21, who have autism.

A sampling of teacups at McCluer High School
Nancy Fowler

A year that began with the trauma of Michael Brown’s death is ending on more positive note, thanks to a traditional tea ceremony this morning at McCluer High School.

Calls of  “To McCluer!” between principal Jane Crawford and the students, and their shared sipping, marked the official ceremony.

The Love Doll Day 24 (Diving) by Laurie Simmons
Contemporary Art Museum

Women are objectified. Men are emotionally M.I.A. Everyone is isolated. Photographer Laurie Simmons looks at these issues and more in an exhibit opening Friday at St. Louis’ Contemporary Art Museum.

“Two Boys and the Love Doll” is Simmons’ first Midwestern solo show. She’s been working with dolls for 40 years. Back in the 1970s, Simmons made dollhouses that spoke to topics America was only beginning to grapple with, according to CAM curator Jeffrey Uslip.

Left to right. Thelma Steward, Freida Wheaton, Amy Kaiser, Ilene Berman, Shualee Cook, Cecilia Nadal, Kelly Pollack
Nancy Fowler

St. Louis women honored by the St. Louis Visionary Awards took home trophies Monday night but not before announcing visions of their own.

This was the first year for the revived awards, which skipped 2014 after Grand Center Inc. withdrew its sponsorship. At the Sun Theater ceremony, many of the seven awardees took the podium to not only say “thanks” but to tell the crowd of more than 300 about their passions.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

After three decades, Jill McGuire of St. Louis’ Regional Arts Commission will leave her post as executive director on Friday, April 10.

McGuire co-founded RAC in 1985 to help fund and support the arts in St. Louis. Since then, the nonprofit has awarded $90 million to artists and institutions, according to McGuire.

The Artist Guild building in Oak Knoll Park
From the Artist Guild website

St. Louis’ 129-year-old Artists' Guild is in the midst of relocating. But the move won’t be far.

The Artists’ Guild is moving in late May into the old Famous-Barr building, which is owned by Washington University, in downtown Clayton.

Alehra Evans and Sheila Suderwalla
Durrie Bouscaren

You can tell a lot just by just looking at Alehra Evans. That she’s a joyful, creative person, for one. Wearing a puffy white peony in her hair, sporting a gold-toned animal-print jacket and multi-layered gold earrings, she's clearly into the art of fashion.

Felicia Shaw
Provided by the Regional Arts Commission

The Regional Arts Commission has announced its new executive director, after a 10-month search.

RAC announced on Tuesday that Felicia Shaw will replace retiring RAC founder Jill McGuire. Shaw is a native St. Louisan who’s returning home after a long career, much of it spent on the West Coast.

From March 20 through March 23, art reviewer Lori Waxman brought her "show" to fort gondo compound for the arts. While her performance is funded by the Warhol Foundation and people can come watch, it is also a service to artists who need review to document and validate their work. Waxman sets up shop and writes mini reviews of work submitted to her. Thirty reviews were done in St.

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