Damon Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Damon Davis

Katarra Parson released 'Cocoa Voyage' last November.
Tyler Small

If St. Louis singer and songwriter Katarra Parson had to pick one of her songs to describe her life, it would be “Phoenix Rising.”

She appreciates the song because it's about flight, freedom and rebirth — the story of how she learned to take care of herself.

“'Phoenix Rising' is literally my journey of finding myself, of finding my power, stepping into that power, being comfortable with that power,” Parson said. “Now I'm at a point where I realized I got responsibility with that power.”

Artist and wellness advocate Dail Chambers and daughter. [8/8/19]
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

Five years ago, Kevin and Danielle McCoy were making art that wasn’t particularly political.

“We made a lot of safe work,” Kevin McCoy said, “but it didn’t have a lot of meaning. It didn’t get to the crux of the issues.”

Then white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown Jr., an unarmed, 18-year-old black man. Brown's death sparked weeks of protests in Ferguson, unrest that reverberated in the local arts community. Black artists formed new alliances and reached new platforms, but also bumped up against enduring divides over race in this community.

Gallery-goers mill about near the piece "Blake the Great."  6/20/18
File photo | The Luminary

St. Louis-based artist Damon Davis works in many forms, from visual art to hip hop records. His profile has grown steadily in recent years. He's now showing a deeply conceptual, richly realized exhibition at the Luminary, on Cherokee Street, that he calls the culmination of his years of art-making collaborations.

The show, called "Darker Gods in the Garden of the Low-Hanging Heavens," is built around a series of myths and fables Davis wrote, featuring black deities.

Damon Davis and Sabaah Folayan will discuss "Whose Streets?" on Thursday's St. Louis on the Air,
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This Friday, in St. Louis and across the nation, the first nationally-distributed documentary about the protests, activism and aftermath in the wake of the police shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson will be released.

Ferguson documentary debuts at Sundance

Jan 20, 2017
Children hold anti-rascist signs while standing on the lawn at a Ferguson related protest.
Provided by Lucas Alvarado Farrar

A local filmmaker aims to bring international audiences an authentic take on the protests that occurred in Ferguson two years ago after then-officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown.

Director Damon Davis’ documentary “Whose Streets” takes an unflinching look at the Ferguson protests from the position of protesters and activists.  The film debuts today at the internationally recognized Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. 

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.
File photo | 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.

Documentation of Reclamation 3
Provided by LBPhotography

When visual artist Basil Kincaid looked for a way to complete the Reclamation Project, a 4-year effort that creates art by remaking elements of St. Louis' black heritage, he turned to his grandmother for inspiration.

A quilter who passed her knowledge to her children, Eugenia Kincaid taught her grandson a lot about preserving cultural traditions. He decided to put the same focus into his work.

Kelly Lee and her mother Barbara Hill examine a sculpture inspired by the artist's homeless sister inside the garage studio of JE Baker
Nancy Fowler / St. Louis Public Radio

Barbara Hill of Fenton will do almost anything to support her four daughters. A decade ago while visiting one daughter in the African Republic of Mali, Hill shut her eyes as her car's driver backed down a narrow mountain road to let another vehicle pass.

So simply riding a forward-moving bus to four St. Louis artists’ studios this past Sunday was a breeze. And an eye-opener, as it turned out.

Damon Davis hands up
www.heartacheandpaint.com

The 11-plus miles of actual roadways that separate Ferguson and Ladue might as well be the distance between St. Louis and Shanghai — or at least it feels that way sometimes.

The variations and nuances that register in our psyches and imaginations — the old bugaboos of fears, conflicts, realities, prejudices, heritage, history, economics — all of this and so many more obstacles litter a twisting, turning virtual pathway between the two communities.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 23, 2013 - University City residents, shoppers and diners may soon see a small wall go up in The Loop. But it’s not designed to be a barrier -- it’s meant to be a bridge.

The concept of the 9-by-15-foot brick structure called “Wailing Wall” was selected in a contest called "St. Louis Soup Across the Delmar Divide,” sponsored by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the Missouri History Museum and the Anti-Defamation League. Last Sunday, 70 people came to the History Museum to hear seven finalists present their ideas about bridging the “Delmar Divide.” The term was coined in a BBC news documentary last year to describe vast economic differences in a small area north and south of Delmar Boulevard.