Art

Two looks of Raja
Provided by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

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.

Eugenia Alexander, left, and Edna Patterson-Petty
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting, the saying goes. And in the case of East St. Louis’ Edna Patterson-Petty and her granddaughter Eugenia Alexander, the frosting is artistically done.

Patterson-Petty is a fiber artist and art therapist. Alexander grew up enamored by her grandmother’s work, which includes an art quilt made for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

A Moment's Pleasure by Mickalene Thomas
Provided by the 1-70 Sign Show

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?

plywood art at FedExt S. Grand 11/26
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

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:

At FedEx

At Urban

  At the Post Office

At Great Clips

  At Cafe Natasha

At Rooster

Circa 1959, Ice Hockey, 2008, 34.5x18x2 inches, oil, enamel on steel
Provided by Tim Liddy

Fontbonne professor Tim Liddy is one of 102 artists displayed in a national exhibition at the Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, Ark. But Liddy was never going to be an artist. Looking forward to a career on the ice, he was planning to play games, not paint them.

'I'm Pretty' art by Grace Kubilius
Provided by Reese Gallery

The work of emerging fiber artist Grace Kubilius walks the walk while talking the talk. The conversation is about women and body image.

Like many young women, and all women, really, Kubilius has struggled with questions of appearance and what it means to be a woman.

“How do you sort of resolve that with what’s expected or what you think is expected of you?” Kubilius said.

Katherine Miller and examples of the art done for CSA
Photo of Miller by Jeganaath Giri; of artwork provided by CSA

In her last year at SEMO, printmaking major Katherine Miller of St. Louis knows she needs to think about the business of art even as she plans for grad school.

The Funhouse Gallery

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.

Alice Guy-Blaché
Courtesy of Cinema St. Louis

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.”

Kehinde Wiley, detail, ‘After Titian's Penitent Mary Magdalene,’ oil wash on paper, 90 x 60 inches, Courtesy of Susan and David Sherman
Provided by Philip Slein Gallery

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.”

Dragon mural in progress in the Grove
Provided by the artist

Fifteen years ago, the area of St. Louis now known as The Grove was a place many people avoided.

“It was ‘Roll up your window and drive really fast,’” muralist Grace McCammond remembered.

The mural takes shape on the Cotton Belt building.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

An abandoned building with broken windows may seem nothing more than an ugly blemish. But to a mural artist, it’s a beautiful opportunity, a waiting canvas.

Two St. Louis muralists are nearing completion of the first phase of their project to transform the vacant Cotton Belt Freight Depot into a kind of welcome sign for commuters heading into St. Louis on the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Lenard Hinds in Hands Up exhibit
Provided by Hands Up, Don't Shoot

An upcoming exhibit responding to the killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer won’t be your typical art show.

The “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” exhibit will open Oct. 17 and 18 in more than a dozen galleries — and one entire city.

The Ferguson Public Library and the city of Ferguson as a whole are listed among the exhibition spaces. That’s because the burned-out QuikTrip and the monuments to Michael Brown can also be seen as living works of art, according to curator Freida Wheaton.

Bruno David
Provided by Bruno David

Bruno David Gallery in Grand Center will open a second location in St. Louis' Grove area, focusing on women artists.

The new spot, called Bruno David Projects, will be located at 1245 South Vandeventer Ave. Its first exhibit, which opens Oct. 30, will feature the work of local painter Cindy Tower.

St. Louis Public Radio photos

Boise has one. So do Houston and Los Angeles, and even East St. Louis. But St. Louis is one of the few major cities that doesn’t have a poet laureate, an official poet to document its culture in verse.

 From left: Habitat For Humanity St. Louis CEO Kimberly McKinney, former St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom and former Sen. Rita Days. Credit Durrie Bouscaren, St. Louis Public Radio
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

In the early 1990s, choreographer Bill T. Jones sought to illuminate the AIDS crisis using the language he knows best: dance. Now, the St. Louis-area dance community is seeking to respond with movement to issues unearthed by Michael Brown’s death.

Provided by Foundry Arts Centre

A few months ago, I pulled two large boxes from the attic at my parents’ house. Each contained a wedding dress – one mine, one my sister’s. The problem: No one marked the boxes. Which was which?

With 50-50 odds, I slit open the box in hand – Eureka! But now that I had my 33-year-old dress, what should I do with it?

De Andrea Nichols
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio

When you attend an event involving De Andrea Nichols, be prepared to meet your match. Not your romantic soulmate, although that could happen. More likely, your partner in community engagement.

Nichols, 26, is a community arts organizer, designer and social worker who’s the Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Contemporary Art Museum. When she’s not working at CAM, she’s entrenched in one of the many projects of her own nonprofit, Catalysts by Design. Sometimes the twain does meet.

Work from four of the artists in the first CSA group, clockwise from left, Ray Nadine, Caroline Philippone, Matthew Paul Isaacson, Brandon Daniels
Images courtesy of CSA

An organization called Community Supported Art Saint Louis has named nine local artists to launch its new program.

The concept is as simple as a paint-by-the-numbers project: Fifty CSA “shares” are up for grabs at $300 apiece. Each share-buyer receives nine original works — one from each artist — at three “pick-up” events this September, October and November. Every artist walks away with $1,000 and wider exposure.

In August, Chesterfield Arts will stop day-to-day operations because of a shortage in funds.

The non-profit organization works to promote art education and public art in West St. Louis County.

This year the nonprofit faced declining revenue. In addition, they were forced to move. The organization was notified in the fall of 2013 that they would have to relocate by June of this year.

Chesterfield Arts Board President Mary Brown said  they were unable to find a new permanent home.

Pages