The Luminary | St. Louis Public Radio

The Luminary

James Bragado tests out a mobile sound monument that was designed to elevate the types of music heard in predominantely Latino neighborhoods. [6/6/19]
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

On a steamy recent afternoon on Cherokee Street, Chicago-based artist Josh Rios showed off his latest piece — a bicycle and attached wagon, both decorated with colored tape and fringe to vaguely resemble a large pinata.

A set of speakers, amplifiers, an MP3 player and two portable batteries were stowed on the wagon, allowing the bike to become a moving monument, complete with its own soundtrack.

Though Rios, Matt Joynt and Anthony Romero created the piece as part of the Luminary’s public-art show “Counterpublic,” it harmonized with a conversation going on at Pulitzer Arts Foundation. Monument Lab, a Philadelphia-based studio that aims to shake up traditional assumptions about city monuments, is in residence there this summer.

Local artists José Garza (left) and Miriam Ruiz (right) present their collaborative project, collectively titled Ojalá, in El Chico Bakery on Cherokee Street.
Photo courtesy of José Garza

The Luminary Arts Center is in the midst of its ongoing show “Counterpublic,” a triennial exhibition scaled to a neighborhood “set to animate the everyday spaces of Cherokee Street” with expansive artist commissions, performances, processions and more through July 13.

While the exhibit itself is only around for a few months, participants including local artists José Guadalupe Garza and Miriam Ruiz have created a series of “art interventions” in El Chico Bakery, a family owned and operated Mexican bakery in south St. Louis.

Artist Theodore Kerr mounted a series of paintings addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS on St. Louis's black residents on the outside walls of the Luminary  at 2701 Cherokee Street. 4/12/19
The Luminary

The Luminary gallery on Cherokee Street is moving beyond its walls.

Weeks after reopening their gallery space following a $500,000 rehab to the building, its leaders are launching a large exhibition of public art centered on Cherokee Street.

The three-month exhibition, called “Counterpublic,” will feature the work of 37 artists.

They’ll display work that ranges from paintings affixed to building walls with wheatpaste to immersive, sculptural installations.

The Luminary gallery on Cherokee Street has raised more than 80 percent of the $500,000 it needs to expand both its building and its reach into the community.

When complete, the enhanced facilities and additional programming will boost the Luminary’s presence as a kid-friendly, neighborhood spot where visitors are invited to drop by — and are not expected to buy anything. Its leaders say that is a much-needed feature on Cherokee Street, a bustling commercial area rife with restaurants and shops.