What’s going on with Art Saint Louis

Chandler Branch, Executive Director

Art Saint Louis is serving our region in meaningful ways, thanks to the support and participation of so many in our community. More is happening in this organization’s work than I will attempt to cram into this message. However, as I try to do at this time each year, I’m reaching out to update you on the good that you’ve helped accomplish, and relay my thanks.

First, a few stats:

  •    30,000+ PEOPLE were reached by ASL programs in 2017, and twice as many reached already in 2018.
  •    2,700+ ARTWORKS have been submitted for ASL gallery exhibits since 2015.
  •    $130,000+ has been paid directly to artists in commissions, awards and honorariums through ASL programs since 2015.
  •    8,668 ARTWORKS are now hosted on the ASL mobile app, ArtLoupe, and the app has been downloaded over 10,000 times.

St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley Professor Christine Giancola with artist Alexander Hollingsworth and his artwork featured in Varsity Art XXII. Photo courtesy of Christine Giancola.

Of course, numbers only go so far in relaying the big picture. More importantly, ASL is bringing people together. As one artist put it, “The heart of Art Saint Louis lies in the local community and that is what matters.”

Two recent exhibits were a perfect example of this, beginning with Varsity Art, our 22nd annual graduate/undergraduate student art show, which brought together students and faculty from 21 area colleges and universities, along with broad network of family and friends, to celebrate some of the region’s rising artistic talents. As you can imagine, the gallery was packed to the gills on opening night! As in years past, we took the opportunity to produce “Meet the Artist” video interviews for the students. ASL has published over 100 artist video interviews on our YouTube channel in the last several seasons.
Artist Chad Hayward with his ceramic sculpture featured in Varsity Art XXII. Photo by Robin Hirsch-Steinhoff.

Eastern Illinois University graduate student Chad Haward went out of his way to relay his enthusiasm for the experience:

It means a lot to have a platform and opportunity as a young emerging artist to share my work. I was really impressed with the turnout as well. It was great to see so many people who came out to see the show.

April 21 reception for “Maturity and Its Muse: Celebrating Artistic Experience.” Photo by Robin Hirsch-Steinhoff.

On the heels of such youthful energy another remarkable exhibit followed. Maturity and Its Muse: Celebrating Artistic Experience, a competition-based exhibit, featured 51 artworks in a variety of media by artists informed by time, ages 70+. What a privilege it was to welcome such a gorgeous collection of artworks! 31 artists from Missouri and Illinois were featured in the show, some of whom are seasoned professionals and others the very definition of an emerging artist.

May 24 Venture Cafe event attendees check out augmented reality-enabled pavement murals. Photo by R.J. Hartbeck.

Other recent highlights included collaboration with Chalk Riot, CA-based Heavy Projects and PNC Arts Alive, producing three large-scale, augmented reality pavement murals, and sharing these with over 50,000 viewers at the Saint Louis Science Center and at Venture Café in the Cortex District. Viewers interacted with the artworks in person and on smartphones and tablets where the artworks came to life with 3D graphic animations through the Chalk Riot mobile app. For a snapshot of the art and technology in action, check out Fox 2’s TV feature on the project.

Lastly, ASL is partnering with the new Angad Arts Hotel – located in the Grand Center Arts District – to cultivate extensive, year-round contemporary art programming beginning this fall.  Under the direction of ASL, the vibrant 146-guest room Angad Arts Hotel will feature a rotating series of exhibitions and events spotlighting the work of numerous St. Louis regional visual artists in the hotel’s public spaces, as well as extensive collections of original artworks and reproductions in the hotel’s room and suites..

I hope you share my sense that this kind of cultural activity is important to our community, to our region, whether or not it ever makes headline news. What will never make the news are the ripple effects, the stories of individuals quietly impacted by our work to support local art and make it a part of everyday life for people across the socio-economic spectrum–especially through our activity downtown. I was touched by one such story brought to my attention recently by a friend with 13 years’ experience working with individuals living with severe mental illness, substance abuse disorders and homelessness, who wrote:

One of my good friends, I’ll call him Jay, was a frequent visitor to Art Saint Louis and shared with me that he always felt welcome there. Jay told me he was initially drawn to the space for his love of art but stayed in the space because he was not “chased out,” which frequently happens to him when other places of business realize he is homeless. Jay struggles with Paranoid Schizophrenia and because of the nature of his illness, vacillates between wellness and delusional. The gateway to reality, for Jay, is finding a path back to good mental health through art. He was drawn to Art Saint Louis because of the beautiful art displayed in the space; he stayed because he was treated with respect and dignity.

Make no mistake about it; ASL is making a difference in our community!

Thank you for helping us move our city and our region forward in creative ways. Thank you especially to our artists, donors and volunteers. It’s a joy to partner with you all.


Chandler Branch

Executive Director


Menagerie August 4-September 13, 2018. FREE opening reception Saturday, August 4, 5-7 p.m.

Please join Art Saint Louis for our new juried exhibit, Menagerie, featuring new artworks by 54 St. Louis regional artists from Missouri and Illinois.

What To Do In St. Louis This Week

Let’s finish out the month of March strong, shall we? We’ve rounded up the very best in food, art, music and adventuring from March 26 to April 1.

alive magazine st louis city guide art artist gallery

Image courtesy of Katherine Simóne Reynolds.

New Exhibition: “Willie and Pat Do a Slow Dance” by artist Katherine Simóne Reynolds

Kat Reynolds is one of the most prolific artists creating work in St. Louis right now. She recently contributed to the NYC gallery group show “Overview is a place,” at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show in Times Square, alongside several other incredible local artists. Her newest exhibition, “Willie and Pat Do a Slow Dance,” explores her grandparents’ relationship and delves into themes of history and mortality.

When: March 23-April 20

Where: Cecille R. Hunt Gallery, located on Webster University’s campus

Price: Free

restaurant city guide alive magazine st louis guided opening event

Image courtesy of Crispy Edge.

Potsticker Wine Pairing at Crispy Edge

In preparation for their grand opening on April 6, restaurant Crispy Edge hosts a six-course tasting menu featuring their creative, global interpretations of potstickers. Each course is accompanied by a wine pairing developed by a local wine professional.

When: March 26, 6 p.m.

Where: Crispy Edge restaurant: 4168 Juniata St.

Price: $47

Live Music

There are some awesome performers landing in St. Louis this week. Indie-pop husband-and-wife duo Matt and Kim come to The Pageant on Tuesday, and the following evening, Chicago-based garage-rock band Twin Peaks performs at The Ready Room. If you can’t make it to those, check out the venue Off Broadway in South City for more stellar shows.

Matt and Kim

Where: The Pageant on Delmar

When: March 27, 8 p.m.

Price: $30

Twin Peaks

Where: The Ready Room on Manchester in The Grove

When: March 28, 7 p.m.

Price: $15 advance tickets, $18 day of show

New Exhibitions at SLAM

Saint Louis Art Museum unveils not one but two new exhibits this week. “Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds,” on view from March 25 through Sept. 9, showcases artifacts and sculptures collected during an underwater exhibition that discovered two ancient cities. “Chinese Buddhist Art, 10th-15th Centuries,” open March 30 through Aug. 30, emphasizes the evolution of rare Chinese Buddhist art over time.

Where: Saint Louis Art Museum

When: “Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds” on view March 25-Sept. 9

“Chinese Buddhist Art, 10th-15th Centuries” on view March 30-Aug. 30

Price: Free

art museum exhibition gallery st louis alive guided event

Image courtesy of Saint Louis Art Museum.

SLAM Underground: Epic

Celebrate the opening of “Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds” and explore SLAM’s Ancient Greek, Roman and Chinese collections through art, music and cocktails. This month’s theme centers on heroes and adventurers, including an ancient superheroes scavenger hunt and a chance to invent your own at their Create Lab.

Where: Saint Louis Art Museum

When: March 30, 7-10 p.m.

Price: Free

May’s Night Market

If you’ve ever poked your head inside May’s Place, a treasure trove of vintage clothing, accessories and tidbits, you know that this event will be cool. May’s brings several local vendors to The Ready Room in the Grove for a night of shopping and mingling.

Where: The Ready Room

When: March 30, 6 p.m.

Price: Free

sweetart restaurant event st louis alive guided magazine

Image courtesy of SweetArt.

Soulful Saturday: A Vegan Soul Food Pop-Up by Sweet Art

The team from Sweet Art Bakeshop & Café will be cooking up some of their delicious vegan fare for one evening only. The night ends when they sell out (and no reservations), so get there early to snag some Chick’n-Fried Cauliflower and peach cobbler.

Where: ANEW, 519 N. Grand

When: March 31, 6-9 p.m.

Price: a-la-carte menu items


Enjoy your Easter and Passover celebrations this weekend, everyone!

A Perfect Bread Recipe At KNEAD Bakehouse And Provisions In St. Louis

Proprietors of KNEAD Bakehouse and Provisions A.J. and Kirsten Brown started their artisan bread-making business first by selling at local farmers markets, once they’d perfected their recipe. Then, they took the next step with an ambitious Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000, and ended up bringing in $31,087. The successful campaign allowed them to open a brick-and-mortar setup of their very own in late 2017, located between the Lindenwood Park and Northampton neighborhoods of South City.

The team has fixated on how to craft bread and baked goods in the historical tradition of bread bakers for years, using only five ingredients: organic, non-GMO and locally-sourced flour; sprouted ancient heirloom grains; water; sea salt and KNEAD’s three-year-old sourdough starter. The result is miles away from what you’d find at a traditional supermarket, with the craft and dedication of the maker immediately apparent from the first bite.

Better yet, KNEAD offers a full lunch menu, as well as donuts and morning buns for breakfast. Try the kale and kefir salad, served with breadcrumbs, puffed wheat berries and Parmesan, the grass-fed smoked brisket sandwich or the pasture-raised smoked turkey sandwich. Grab a loaf of bread on your way out to enjoy the fruits of KNEAD’s labor all week long.

KNEAD Bakehouse And Provisions

3467 Hampton Ave

St. Louis, MO, 63139

Cover image courtesy of KNEAD Bakehouse And Provisions.