This year, St Lou Fringe will introduce a new event during their festival called “Fringe Family”. This free event will invite families all across St. Louis to bring their children to experience a kinesthetic, imaginative world shaped by local and national artists. Children of all ages are invited to create hands on art projects, explore instruments and music, and tell stories using movement and dance. The event will take place Saturday, June 22nd and Sunday, June 23rd from noon-1pm in the large, grassy space across from Plush at 3224 Locust St. For more information please visit: www.STLfringe.com
Grand Center News
Once again, all who live, work and play in the area are invited to attend this community event to hear plans and recommendations for creating a more vibrant and attractive Grand Center. Community planners will discuss plans for neighborhood beautification and landscaping, traffic, transit access, parking, better lighting and more. Participants will get the opportunity to meet with planners with a question and answer session from the presentation on recommended community solutions that enhance the neighborhood’s overall quality of life.
The event will take place on Thursday, May 9 at Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School at 701 N. Spring Ave. A reception for the event is from 5-6 p.m. with the Open House Presentation and Q&A from 6-8 p.m. Parking is accessible off of Enright, behind the school.
St. Lou Fringe and Pride St. Louis announced their organizations will expand their partnership, resulting in two weekends celebrating progressive independent arts in St. Louis.
Pride St. Louis was an early supporter of St. Lou Fringe in their inaugural season last year, when they shared a weekend of festivities. This year, the festivals will take place on back-to-back weekends, allowing more opportunities to highlight innovative artists and culturally involved patrons in St. Louis.
“St. Lou Fringe and Pride St. Louis both work to showcase the diverse spirit and unique voices of this region,” said Scott King, entertainment director of Pride St. Louis. “Our partnership will help us spread those messages to even greater audiences.”
As part of the partnership, Fringe patrons may vote for their favorite local productions at the one-weekend-long Fringe Festival. The top four shows selected will have the opportunity to extend their run with a main stage appearance at Pride St. Louis downtown. Favorite street performers will also be selected for a second weekend of performing at Pride St. Louis.
“This partnership allows us to creatively extend opportunities for local artists and introduce even more audiences to their work,” said St. Lou Fringe executive director Em Piro. “As a new event, we are thrilled to grow our collaboration with Pride St. Louis, a local festival and organization that has effectivelly celebrated St. Louis culture for decades.”
Thanks to all who attended the Grand Center Public Open House on February 28! We hope you enjoyed the presentation, and we greatly value your input to create a more vibrant and attractive Grand Center. Results and responses from the Public Open House are available here.
Didn’t get to attend the Public Open House? We still want to hear from you! Take the Grand Center Great Streets survey here - let your voice be heard!
The survey will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous. Your progress in the survey will be indicated by the bar at the bottom of each screen. Please make sure you complete the entire survey because partially completed surveys cannot be used. This survey is important to our planning process and we deeply appreciate you taking the time to respond.
Visit the Grand Center Great Streets page to learn more about the changes taking place in the District.
All who live, work and play in the area are invited to attend this community visioning session to discuss their desires for neighborhood beautification, traffic, parking, streets, sidewalks and more. Participants will get the opportunity to meet with planners who will listen to their aspirations, issues and needs and then design community solutions that enhance the neighborhood’s overall quality of life.
Hello Art and Life Lovers,
Happy 2013 everyone! I hope you enjoyed First Night® in Grand Center as much as I did! Due to my limited mobility, I didn’t get to see all of the acts, but I had prime seating for the Flying Wallendas. They were absolutely incredible, and the Purina Incredible Dogs blew me away – I wish I could do tricks like that! If you want to see pictures, make sure to stop by the Grand Center Facebook page, and like us, too! I know there are lots of exciting things happening in Grand Center in the new year – I made it my resolution to keep you updated on all the happenings in the District.
Have you heard about First Fridays in Grand Center? Every first Friday of the month, Grand Center museums and galleries will be open to the public from 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy the latest exhibitions at each location all for free! Check out the full list of participating museums and galleries and their exhibitions for the current month here.
Now you obviously know we love all things art in Grand Center, but we also love women enhancing the arts in St. Louis. The 2013 Grand Center Visionary Awards celebrate women who have made outstanding achievements and contributions to the arts in St. Louis. Nominations for the Visionary Awards are open until January 25. Don’t miss this opportunity to recognize a woman in the arts who you admire! Honorees will be announced in February. Keep up to date on the Visionary Awards page to learn more about the event and the 2013 honorees.
Speaking of great women in the arts, Grand Center also created a Women’s Giving Circle, the Art and Life Alliance. Art and Life Alliance members help catapult Grand Center into a nationally-recognized cultural destination by developing and implementing creative projects that boost both the “art” and the “life” in Grand Center. To learn more about becoming a member, contact Marcia at firstname.lastname@example.org or (314) 289-1583.
Looks like that’s all from me today. Stay warm out there, and don’t forget to say hi to your favorite rabbit the next time you’re at the intersection of art and life!
What is your favorite thing about the Grand Center District?
The sense of possibility and opportunity and the fact that so many new organizations are moving to the neighborhood. It’s hot. I love working here because I find it so conducive to creativity. As a guitarist, I often say that some guitars you play and others play themselves. Grand Center plays itself. By that I mean there are so many like-minded people here, full of great ideas and energy, striving to think big and ask the right questions. People seem to be on the same page making it easy to trade ideas. (Also, I love the Gyros at Best Steak House)
What is your arts education background?
I am a musician, guitarist, and composer by training. The most important skills I use in my work-regardless of what the project is- are composing and improvisation. I studied at College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and Webster University in St. Louis, where I taught for many years in the jazz studies department. Along the way I also co-founded and led several arts (music) organizations, which forced me into learning many aspects of the business and management side of the arts world. I hold a Bachelor’s and a Masters degree in jazz performance. I also went back to Webster for an MFA in Arts Leadership and Management, which is completed pending my thesis.
What brought you to Grand Center Arts Academy?
The opportunity to work as Director of Arts and Community Partnerships at Grand Center Arts Academy. I learned about the school while it was still in the formative and planning stage. I showed up at a meeting room at RAC one day, heard Lynne Glickert, the Principal of GCAA and other arts advisory team members speak about their vision for this new school. I got really excited. I thought, whoa, this is the coolest thing I have ever heard. I had to stop myself from jumping on the table and going into a ‘Les Mis’ style aria about the wonders that I have just heard about… Seriously, I knew that my strengths were a really good fit for the needs of this type of school. These included being a musician, guitarist, teacher, composer, artistic director, producer, manager.
What do you enjoy most about working at Grand Center Arts Academy?
The kids. They are so inspiring. The students infuse the place with their constant energy and their spirit. It’s hard to explain until you experience it yourself. (come take a tour!…) We are a very tight knit unit-our teachers and staff. We are very open, willing to listen and constantly grow. I will also be the first to tell you that like every school we have our palette of challenges. We are all business when it comes to demanding academic performance. Personally I love that my job requires constant creativity, engages my unquenchable curiosity and my love of conversation. Coming up with good ideas for partnerships, projects, programs, is the easy part. Making them happen is the challenge. For that I drink a lot of coffee.
You are a guitarist, composer, educator, bandleader and have performed with numerous arts organizations in St. Louis – how did you become interested in music and the arts?
Probably listening to the Beatles at a very early age. Couldn’t get enough. Also, my mom was a folk singer, had a really nice voice and could really play the guitar. I can sill hum her songs to this day. I wanted to be in my brother’s rock band so I could be cool and get girls. I tried anyway. I discovered jazz in middle school then fell in love with jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny in high school. I bit hard and devoted my life to music and the guitar. I love it all-jazz, rock, classical, experimental, folk, electronic, hip-hop. Anything that is done well I usually like. My family is deeply involved in the arts. My dad is a terrific writer, my brother is a multi talented visual artist and Julliard -trained percussionist, and my mom is a widely known storyteller, writer and educator. We were raised going to shows, museums, concerts etc. My current jazz trio, the Wire Pilots, performs in and around St. Louis.
You have written music scores for various films both regionally and nationally – what was your most memorable score to write and why?
I wrote the musical score for a film called Oh Freedom After While, which was aired nationally on PBS. The documentary was a story about the plight of the sharecroppers in Missouri in the 30’s. It was a top-notch production, very well written and filmed. Julian Bond did the narration. I am a huge fan of history and documentary filmmaking. This seldom told story I found fascinating and inspiring. I remember devouring the script trying to capture the essence of the musical rhythm. The film won an Emmy awarding making it all the more satisfying.
What role will Grand Center Arts Academy play in the redevelopment of the Sun Theater in Grand Center?
GCAA’s need to have a top-notch performance venue/auditorium and additional teaching classrooms was at the center of this redevelopment project. Most people don’t know that we are in great need of more teaching spaces as we continue to grow so quickly. To say we are thrilled at the possibilities that will arise from having the Sun restored is an understatement. In addition to our wide range of concerts, productions, etc., we plan on creating a vibrant space to host innovative residencies with new and growing partners. Here is a list of ideas we have discussed so far: a film studies program, and an annual film festival, dance residencies and professional productions, summer arts offerings, a speaker series, a new media exploration center, urban planning and architecture/drafting teaching space, a multi- purpose shop, hosting a variety of special events. Of course these will take time, but we plan to make sure the theater shines not only for our students but for the City and Grand Center and the wider community.
After working in the arts, what is one piece of advice you would give to students at Grand Center Arts Academy aspiring for a life in the arts world?
Open up your mind and remember that life is an ongoing improvisation. Explore, try new things- especially when you are young. It gets harder when you get older. You may be surprised by something new that you didn’t know you would like. Follow that. Now is the time for honing your craft. Practice. A lot. Trust you instincts, but work your tail off. Be the most prepared person at the audition or interview. Some may pursue a passion for performing or visual art. Others may find their passion in pursuing journalism, writing, medicine, law or teaching etc. GCAA’s mission is to foster one’s life long love of the arts, whether as working artists, patrons, advocates. With enough passion, practice and smarts, anything is possible.
Dear Art and Life Lovers,
T minus 2 weeks until First Night® in Grand Center 2013!! This year’s Traveling Circus theme will have you wishing you could join the circus like me. Plenty of amazing acts and exciting events are in store – let the Purina Incredible Dog Team captivate you with their acrobatic tricks; dance the night away under the Big Top on Grand with DJ Chris Johnson; become a work of art through airbrush art face painting; or be mystified by the stupefying stunts of Death By Tickle. A character from Wicked will be performing at the First Night® 2013 opening ceremony – you won’t want to miss it! Word at the intersection is that even the Flying Wallendas will be traveling across a high-wire 25 feet above Grand and Washington – I’ll have the perfect seat to watch!
This year’s First Night doesn’t only celebrate the circus, but also the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Presented by the Monsanto Fund, Grand Center, Inc. and local District churches are hosting a Freedom’s Eve Celebration in honor of slaves awaiting freedom awaited on New Year’s Eve in 1862. The Scottish Rite Cathedral will showcase dance, dramatic readings, visual arts, music and more to commemorate this milestone.
There’s plenty news on First Night, but don’t forget to think ahead for the New Year! Here in Grand Center we’re already looking forward to new and familiar events in the District. Get ready for the 2013 Grand Center Visionary Awards and nominate a woman in the arts in St. Louis. (Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not eligible as a candidate.)
Looks like that’s all the news from me! Time to start bundling up for the chilly December weather. Enjoy the holiday season, and I’ll see you at First Night! You know where to find me.
XOXO and Hoppy New Year,
Presented by Grand Center, Inc., sponsored by The Monsanto Fund
December 31, 2012, marks the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Grand Center, Inc., with the support of The Monsanto Fund, will celebrate this historic milestone as part of the First Night® 2013 festivities. The story of Freedom’s Eve will be unveiled through the arts with research-based, historically accurate music, dance, theater, dramatic readings and visual arts.
Freedom’s Eve festivities will take place at the Scottish Rite Auditorium and will include church choirs welcoming audiences to the venue, a historic timeline and exhibits of artwork by neighborhood school children.
JPEK CreativeWorks, LLC will direct and narrate a historic dramatic performance by professional actors portraying historical characters such as Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas. This performance can be viewed at three different points throughout the evening: 6:45-7:30pm, 7:45-8:30pm, and 9:15-10pm.
A First Night button is required for entry to all First Night indoor activities, including the Freedom’s Eve event, and can be purchased in advance at all Dierberg’s, select Schnucks, Straub’s and online at www.grandcenter.org. The buttons are $10 for adults and $5 for kids in advance and $12 and $6 at the event.
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the farm communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Headquartered in the St. Louis area, the Monsanto Fund supports initiatives that improve science and math education for students, foster youth-centered gardens to enhance nutrition and create natural laboratories to apply math and science learnings, provide arts education opportunities to undeserved communities, and partner on key civic projects that invigorate the region like First Night. Monsanto Fund is a proud sponsor of First Night and the celebration’s efforts to broaden St. Louisans’ exposure to and experience of the arts.
Grand Center announced today that the theme for this year’s First Night celebration is “A Traveling Circus.” First Night is the largest New Years celebration in the region. It is an alcohol-free event that draws 25,000 attendees each year. The event lasts from 6pm - midnight with two firework displays at 9 p.m. and midnight.
There will be twelve venues, both indoor and outdoor, featuring over 65 performances throughout the night. The outside portion of the festival is transformed by lighting, street performers and interactive set piecces reflecting the theme “A Traveling Circus.” Outdoor activities are free.
A First Night button can be purchased in advance for entry to all indoor activities at all Dierbergs, select Schnucks, Straub’s and onlne at www.grandcenter.org/store. The buttons are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Performances throughout the night will include a wide variety of live music such as jazz, bluegrass, cabaret, Irish harp, rock and barbershop, in addition to dance, theater, comedy, magic and the Purina Incredible Dog show.