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Meet Emily Hemeyer, she'll travel far to talk art

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 12, 2009 - Emily Hemeyer's all about community. Recently, after what she admitted was a somewhat stressful day of teaching at St. Frances Cabrini Academy in South City, Hemeyer was found on the patio of MoKaBe's coffeehouse, saying she was ready to put the work day behind her. But, as if on cue, one of the kids who'd just had a rough morning with her popped up on the neighboring sidewalk, riding a skateboard, smiling and waving.

In the past few years, Hemeyer's become one of those folks that people just seem to know. She has taught at three area schools. She's worked with vintage and repurposed clothing, with a store-within-a-store at Cherokee's uber-hip Cranky Yellow. And with that background, she's been cited as one of St. Louis nine most fashion-forward dressers by the Post-Dispatch. Plus, she's always had a hand in some form of studio art.

In August, she undertook her most ambitious effort, yet. Labeled the Spore Projects, she transformed her mom's former Windstar mini-van into a mobile art gallery and headed off on a three-week, 3,000-mile artistic adventure.

"It was about bringing conceptual art to other communities," she says. "And discussing the Midwest and St. Louis art scenes, in particular, with people in other communities."

Once, outside of rural Colby, Kan., she spotted a twister in the sky. Pulling off into town, she noticed an artist painting a mural on the side of a business. A couple-hour conversation ensued, which was somewhat typical of her experiences on the roads.

"Here we were, total strangers," she says. "And we had this really wonderful discussion. What was really amazing was that it was such a spontaneous interaction."

Though she admits to entertaining the idea of someday having a brick-and-mortar gallery, it appears these types of outings won't stop soon for Hemeyer.

"I've thought about it for a long time," she says. "I've had a gallery in a living room, in Columbia, Mo., the Blue Shag Gallery, which was a really neat project. And we organized a monthly garage-gallery crawl, to different spaces around town. But I like the idea of not being tied down to a building or to a neighborhood."

For more info on Hemeyer's journey, see www.sporeprojects.blogspot.com .

Thomas Crone is a freelance writer.

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