Grand Center

A selection from Amy Reidel's "Radar Home: 11.8.13"
Willis Ryder Arnold

We’ve all been touched by cancer, through someone we love or admire, or even our own. Nearly 40 percent of us will be diagnosed with the disease in our lifetime.

Three years ago, St. Louis artist Amy Reidel found out her mother had cancer. Shortly after, first one aunt, then another, got a cancer diagnosis. In the middle of it all, Reidel’s grandmother died.

Visitors to the Contemporary Art Museum are now (Sept. 30, 2016) greeted by warning signs and a wall that went up in front of Kelley Walker's Direct Drive exhibit following criticism and outrage of the work.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 1:40 p.m. Oct. 10 — Chief curator Jeffrey Uslip is leaving St. Louis' Contemporary Art Museum for another institution.

Uslip's departure follows weeks of controversy over CAM's current solo exhibition by white artist Kelley Walker that some found demeaning to African-Americans. Three CAM employees and others had called the museum to remove Uslip shortly after the exhibition, "Direct Drive," opened Sept. 16.

In a news release, the Contemporary did not say where Uslip is going or whether he will remain in St. Louis.

Bruno David in his empty Grand Center gallery
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

After Bruno David opened his gallery in Grand Center 11 years ago, he was a cheerleader for the area’s emergence as a major arts destination. Now Grand Center is so successful that David has to leave.

In late October, David is relocating his namesake gallery to Clayton, to a spot on Forsyth Boulevard near the St. Louis Artists' Guild. The move comes a month after inspectors deemed his Washington Boulevard location unsafe. A regularly scheduled assessment revealed that concrete walls in the back of the building were crumbling.

Jason Wilson, CAM board member, and Shanti Parikh, anthropology and African Studies assistant professor
Kelly Moffit | St. Louis Public Radio

An exhibition that opened at the Contemporary Art Museum Sept. 16 continues to draw fire for images that some say are demeaning to African-Americans. The issue has hit home with many St. Louisans including Shanti Parikh, an anthropology and African Studies associate professor, and her husband Jason Wilson, who’s on the board at CAM.

A previous exhibition by artist Joan Hall at Bruno David Gallery
Bruno David Gallery

Bruno David Gallery in Grand Center has closed its doors.

Bruno David said his namesake art gallery shut down because of structural concerns recently discovered in its Washington Boulevard building. The issues came to light during an engineering survey.

All upcoming exhibitions are canceled while David looks for a new location.

Em Piro founded St. Lou Fringe in 2011.
Em Piro

From a modern-day operatic tribute to “The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg” to a woman interacting with a toy chicken, St. Lou Fringe offers entertainment that can’t be found on any other local stage.

But can the Fringe still fly without its original founder? Em Piro is leaving the organization after its fifth festival, which opens Friday.

In our latest Cut & Paste podcast, we talk with Piro about her collaborative approach, how the festival has grown in step with St. Louis’ arts community and the future of Fringe.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Following today’s discussion with Circus Flora, Michelle Stevens, Vice President of Grand Center, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss proposed new developments and those already on the drawing board in Grand Center.

How are projects for the area decided upon?

Courtesy Circus Flora

Circus Flora, St. Louis’ most famous big top show, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer. The theme? “Pastime,” which hearkens back to the “golden age” of baseball. Performances start on June 2 and go through July 3 this year.

Henry Schvey and Carrie Houk, of Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Tennessee Williams was not the world’s biggest fan of the town he grew up in. But that’s not stopping the first-ever Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis from happening here in tribute to one city's greatest playwrights and most beloved iconoclasts.

Future home of .ZACK
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation is developing the new multi-media arts space called .ZACK (pronounced Zack). Kranzberg Arts Foundation’s Director of Operations Chris Hansen said the project will help develop the broader St. Louis theater scene.

“There needs to be a synergy in this new theater district that we’re developing here in Grand Center” he said. “It becomes a place where the performing arts world not only works but they start to build community and fellowship.”

Grand Center vice president Michelle Stevens and National Endowment for the Arts chairman Jane Chu in the Public Media Commons on Olive Street.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is on the right track, according to the head of the nation’s largest grant-making organization for the arts.

Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, visited St. Louis Monday as part of a tour of NEA grant recipients. Her stops included the Grand Center Arts District,  which has received two “Our Town” awards totaling $125,000 to help with plans to make the area more walkable and attractive.

Participants enjoy being part of the 2015 "Act Your Pants Off' St. Lou Fringe event.
Allan Crain

Five-year-olds are known for their openness to new experiences and their steady growth. In its fifth year, the St. Lou Fringe festival is no different.

As the Fringe gears up for 2016, it’s adding new events and positioning itself as a five-month-long series rather than a nine-day festival.

Alex Heuer, St. Louis Public Radio

Grand Center advertises itself as the intersection of the arts and life in St. Louis. Home to Powell Hall, the Fox Theatre, the Sheldon, and several other cultural institutions, Grand Center has the ‘arts’ half of that label taken care of. Now, Karin Hagaman, Grand Center, Inc.’s new president and CEO, wants to develop the ‘life’ half.

Aine O'Connor, St. Louis Public Radio

Next week, New Line Theatre will celebrate its 25th anniversary by opening the regional premiere of “Heathers” in its brand-new digs: The Marcelle Theater, a new 150-seat black box theatre space in Grand Center built by Ken and Nancy Kranzberg.

It’s a move back to a black box for Artistic Director Scott Miller, which he says he has been hoping to do for years. In addition to changing up the set design, a challenge Scenic and Lighting Designer Rob Lippert is eager to meet, the move also heralds a change in show lineup: The theatre company will now do four shows per season.

Karin Hagaman
Provided by Grand Center Inc.

Grand Center Inc., which oversees development in the Midtown arts district, will be led by Karin Hagaman starting in mid-September. Currently head of project development at Cortex Innovation Community, Hagaman has experience in planning and executing the large-scale developments there.

After Hours by Catharine Mage | flickr

Grand Center is not only the home of St. Louis Public Radio (shameless plug) but a different approach to the free summer music concert format. As we noted in July, it is hosting music on three nights and only a small part of each night is outdoors.

Wilis Ryder Arnold

OK, we get it: publishing a video starring the cats of St. Louis Public Radio employees is completely self-indulgent. But with the Contemporary Art Museum offering its Internet Cat Video Festival July 9-10, we figured we’d better pounce on the chance.

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.

Grant awardees and PNC employees gather at the Public Media Commons.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Gene Dobbs Bradford, executive director for Jazz St. Louis, stands in the Public Media Commons in Grand Center as the PNC Arts Alive grants are about to be awarded. He’s enjoying a chilly, sun-dappled morning and the chance to discuss the Jazz St. Louis programing related to jazz and baseball funded by this grant.  

“This is our attempt to help people in the community draw connections to jazz in other parts of their lives,” said Dobbs Bradford.

Jazz St. Louis is one of 11 local arts organizations that each received upwards of $20,000.

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.

Brazilian dance troupe Compagnie Käfig
Agathe Poupeney / (Provided by Dance St. Louis)

Fans of dance in St. Louis are in for a treat this weekend, with National Dance Week - St. Louis taking over Grand Center and an exciting dance performance at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.  

Dance St. Louis presents Compagnie Käfig, a male Brazilian dance troupe that has been selling out performances on their U.S. tour and will perform at the Touhill this weekend.

From New Line's "Passing Strange," 2011
Jill Ritter

When Scott Miller founded New Line Theatre in 1991 it was a risky proposition, in more ways than one.

The nonprofit would occupy a tight niche: musicals only. It would also ride the first wave of a national trend, producing work about topics avoided by many in polite St. Louis company: politics, violence, race, sexuality and religion.

Vince Schoemehl, former St. Louis mayor and president of Grand Center Inc., talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Jan. 12, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

Weighing in on how to keep the St. Louis Rams from moving back to Los Angeles, former St. Louis Mayor Vince Schoemehl supports building a new stadium for the team. But the proposed location is wrong, he said.


Former St. Louis Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr., who has spent the last 13 years as the chief executive of Grand Center Inc., plans to retire in the next few months.

Schoemehl, 68, said in an interview that he felt a new executive was needed to lead the next long-range capital campaign for Grand Center Inc., which has overseen the resurrection and development of the city’s Grand Center arts and entertainment district.

The Pulitzer Arts Foundation gave a tour of ongoing renovations Nov. 19.
Carly Ann Hilo | Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Although the Pulitzer Arts Foundation has been closed since August, a swarm of activity has been taking place inside the Grand Center institution.

Construction crews are renovating the Pulitzer’s basement area to create two new galleries. When they’re done in May 2015, the Foundation will have one-third more exhibition space, totaling 104,000 square feet. The work is being done in cooperation with a representative of the original architect, Tadao Ando.

Rendering of part of the revamped Grand Center
Christner + Hoerr Schaudt

The Grand Center neighborhood is growing. This comes as no surprise to Michelle Stevens, vice president of Grand Center Inc.  But, she says the area still has a long way to go before the “Growing Grand” plan is fulfilled.

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.

Rendering of part of the revamped Grand Center
Christner + Hoerr Schaudt

A new $50,000 grant will help make St. Louis’ Grand Center more pedestrian-friendly.

The midtown arts and cultural district received the money Wednesday from the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Our Town” grants program.

A recent show at the Contemporary Art Museum
Contemporary Art Museum

The Contemporary Art Museum in Grand Center has joined the ranks of St. Louis’ free cultural institutions, at least through next summer.

CAM has charged no admission fee since early May, thanks to a donation by the local Gateway Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting art and urban design. Now Gateway has increased its funding to cover the five-dollar cost through August 2015.

Provided by SLUMA

The first weekend in June always has a star on my calendar: Lafayette Square House Tour. But many others have noted the better-than-average chance for good weather that prompted the neighborhood to select that date. Add the tradition of galleries being open in the evening on the first Friday of the month and no one has an excuse to stay indoors (barring storms, that is).