Saturday, July 24, 2010

St. Louis Weekend, part III

CAMP on Cherokee Street. all pictures courtesy the author.

Last weekend was the 5th Annual City-Wide Open Studios program organized by the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis. With 155 artists / locations / organizations open Saturday or Sunday, visitors can get an interesting sense of the dynamic emerging arts community in St. Louis.

Lindsey Scott work / collaboration at C.A.M.P.

I chose Saturday as my day of braving Phoenix-like weather (estimated 105 heat index) and started on Cherokee Street, an historical, beat-up South City street with families eating Mexican food outside under small umbrellas (a nostalgic Phoenix moment), kids hanging around in a grocery store run by a Somali family and young African American guys with their shirts off amidst shoppers enjoying the street.

The co-op non-profit gallery / art space C.A.M.P. gives classes to neighborhood kids, has two artists-in-residence and hosts community meetings. I particularly liked the mountain made of fabric, including what appeared to be socks turned inside-out.

I ran into artist Bridget Kraft (I bought one of her knit hats on a decidedly colder day), who makes lovely formal landscapes out of fabric.

Bridget Kraft installation at C.A.M.P.

Next Firecracker Press, great atmosphere, love the pillows (more pillows!) Visited with artist Marie Oberkirsch, who has a studio downstairs and does great purses.

Firecracker Press.

"Cafe" (no coffee) at Luminary Arts.

Next stop, The Luminary Center for the Arts, founded by artists Brie and husband James. They bought / rent the building, a former religious school, and converted the cells / bedrooms into small studios for artists.

I liked this video by Brian De Pauli, whose beer-can beating protagonist recalled the struggles William Kentridge's characters suffer in his operatic works. Somehow dealing with personal demons feels right in this context.

Brian De Pauli video.

Even this small slice of artistic output in St. Louis was fun to taste--this is a vibrant, smart community that demonstrates when artists stick around after school, things happen.

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