As our city rocked from the upheavals of 2014, a series of quieter changes was taking place in the St. Louis art world.
Several arts organizations debuted, others expanded and a few folded. Some relocated and others featured uncharacteristic fare to appeal to wider audiences. Here’s a look at eight of this year’s evolutions in the local arts scene.
Mickalene Thomas is an artist who examines what it means to be a black woman. So what does her work suggest when juxtaposed with an ad for a strip club? How about when it’s displayed just off West Florissant Avenue, a few miles down the road from Ferguson?
While the protests in the South Grand Business District have not been as destructive as in Ferguson, businesses have had windows broken and plywood is the current holiday look. But much of the plywood is festive. We offer a selection:
When Theresa Disney’s two sons came home from school, they never knew what they might find. To their artist mom, everything’s a canvas, even the furniture.
“The kids would be like, ‘Why are our couches crunchy?’’ Disney said. “And I’d answer, ‘Because I painted them.’”
Now the boys are grown. Disney’s collection of paintings and sculpture is larger, too. Much of it was forged through adversity: the end of a bad marriage, a house fire, two bouts of cancer and spinal meningitis. But this new chapter of her life is all about having fun.
As women strive to gain equal ground in the workplace, they’re also working to establish the same ground in the arts. The Women in the Arts Conference at the University of Missouri–St. Louis will feature lectures, demonstrations, papers, performances and workshops from 27 speakers on Nov. 6-8.
“Everyone thinks the playing field is level,” said Barbara Harbach, a composer and director of the Women in the Arts Conference. “It’s not quite as level as you might think.”
Black-owned galleries display African-American art all year long. Many others tend bring out such work only during February, Black History Month. But that’s changing.
Recent shows bucking the trend include an exhibit opening Friday at the Philip Slein Gallery in the Central West End. African-American-themed work from private St. Louis homes comprises “Other Ways, Other Times: Influences of African-American Tradition from St. Louis Collections.”