The Luminary Center for the Arts

This piece is from Basil Kincaid's "Reclamation 2," showing at The Luminary through Feb. 27.
Willis Ryder Arnold / St. Louis Public Radio

It's no stretch to think that Basil Kincaid’s efforts to unite people of African heritage require travel. But pre-paid phone cards, vinyl sheets and a strong adhesive are also part of the process.

Eugene Redmond, Professor and Poet Laureate of East St. Louis
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

In the past year, St. Louis has been saturated by a groundswell of art related to social justice concerns, specifically issues of the region’s racial inequalities. For scholars, fans and former members of St. Louis’ Black Artists Group (BAG), the trend is remarkably familiar.

Artist Alberto Aguilar unrolls signs at El Torito grocey
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The Luminary Center for the Arts casts a wide net with the current show Counterpublic. It addresses issues of gentrification on Cherokee Street and in the surrounding neighborhood.

Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio


Local band Bo and the Locomotive is releasing its first album in three years titled It's All Down Here From Here. During that time, the group evolved from a bedroom recording project to full band, lost members, replaced them, and was locked out of their own record. 

“It's not what we were expecting to happen when we started recording it over two years ago, but now that it's all pressed on vinyl and in our hands, there is a big sense of accomplishment,” said Bulawsky.

James and Brea McAnally in the work in progress at the new Luminary Center for the Arts.
Nora Ibrahim | St. Louis Public Radio Intern

In the heart of Cherokee Street, 2701 to be exact, The Luminary's new building is rapidly transforming.

The art gallery, incubator and performance venue (formerly the Luminary Center for the Arts) is moving from Reber Place into a 17,000 square-foot space that takes three different properties and melds the historic with the modern.

In only two weeks, a stage, office spaces and wall frames were erected. Over the next two weeks, the construction crew will install drywall and paint. And while its new location undergoes swift changes, The Luminary itself is rebranding.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson are the co-directors of Works Progress, a public design studio in Minneapolis. But for the next couple of weeks they are in St. Louis as guests of The Luminary Center for the Arts as a part of The Luminary’s ongoing How to Make a World That Won’t Fall Apart series. The collaborative month-long project, Whole City, puts St. Louis under the microscope as these two Minnesota artists take a fresh, outsider look in, that allows them to ask (as they put it) “naïve” questions.

The Luminary Center for the Arts opened in 2007 and strives to provide a platform for the presentation of innovative art, music and cultural projects.

Its temporary exhibition space now hosts Social Security, a constellation of five galleries individually curated by area alternative spaces which have shuttered or shifted in form within the past year.

Among other things, the exhibition explores the how the arts community is evolving.