SOUL OF THE CITY
Photography by TKTK
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Photography by TKTK
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Compose Your Own Series Familiar Classics. Blockbuster Films. Iconic Artists.
OCT 19-21 OCT 26
PHOTO: NATHAN JOHNSON
PERFORMS BRUCH NOV 23-25
AN EVENING WITH
LESLIE ODOM, JR.
Choose 3 or more and SAVE up to 20%* 314-534-1700 slso.org/cyo Nightmare Before Christmas Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts © All Rights Reserved
*Excludes Boxes, Orchestra Right Front and prior sales HOME ALONE © 1990 Twentieth Century Fox
Walt Disney Animation Studios: A Decade in Concert Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts
The World’s a Stage
Room to Unwind
These theater companies are empowering young performers and striving toward a larger cause. PG. 15
A program that’s fueling the music scene and supporting local musicians PG. 18
Three programs that bring rhythm to the forefront PG. 21
All the Right Moves Dance companies that deliver—on stage and beyond
Four festivals that continually stretch the limits PG. 27
A snapshot of must-hit events from October through March PG. 32
Art abounds at the Kranzberg Arts Center and The Dark Room. PG. 35
These versatile venues provide artists with space to collaborate and perform.
Some of the city’s most innovative dining and retail spots are in Grand Center. PG. 42
Whether empowering youth or healing through art, these nonprofits exist to serve St. Louis. PG. 44
Enriching the region through craft, creativity, and big ideas PG. 46
New Interpretations A look at Grand Center’s past—and its future
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FROM THE DIRECTOR In your hands is our new magazine, Soul of the City. Published twice a year, it will showcase and uplift artists and arts organizations in theater, visual art, dance, music, and more. The name reflects our belief that the cultural communities these artists and organizations build represent the heart and soul of our city. I hope you enjoy learning more about our amazing resident companies and programs, world-class venues, and first-class patron amenities. Our team is humbled and proud to serve the St. Louis arts communityâ€”including you, the patron. Your continued involvement helps build and showcase our most important cultural assets. Invest in culture, and watch it thrive. My sincere thanks, Chris Hansen Executive Director Kranzberg Arts Foundation
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Photo courtesy of Pratt + Kreiidich, Kranzberg Arts Foundation
State of the Arts GRAND CENTER IS AT THE HEART OF THE CITY’S ARTS SCENE. By Nancy Kranzberg
Ken and I are constantly telling all that St. Louis is the most culturally rich city per capita in the country. As the founders and trustees of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, we’re honored that the foundation is a part of the rich, vibrant Grand Center Arts District, which is truly the center for the arts in our city. So let’s give a shout-out to the many other arts organizations in Grand Center that make it such an amazing place. The Fabulous Fox, renovated by the incredible Mary Strauss, and the world-class St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, situated right on Grand Boulevard, have been delighting audiences for years. Right around the corner, on Washington Avenue, the neighboring Contemporary Art Museum and Pulitzer Arts Foundation impress visitors from first glance. In buildings designed by world-renowned architects Brad Cloepfil and Tadao Ando, respectively, both organizations present critically acclaimed exhibitions of cutting-edge art alongside educational programming. Music is thriving on the east side of Grand, where The Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz not only presents world-class jazz performances in the Ferring Jazz Bistro but also educates the next generation of jazz greats with programs for all ages, including We Bop for preschoolers and JazzU for middle and high school students under the direction of Phil Dunlap. Just down the street, the Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media is home to KDHX, our city’s premier independent radio station. The Centene Center for the Arts, located in the beautifully renovated Medinah Temple, houses the offices of the Arts and Education Council and provides rehearsal, gallery, and presentation space for a number of other local arts organizations, making it a true arts incubator. Paul Reuter, director of The Sheldon, is proud to say that the concert hall, which presents world-class and local artists, is one of the most acoustically perfect halls in the world. And be sure to visit its art galleries, which have wonderful art exhibitions, curated by director Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, including a gallery of children’s art. The Public Media Commons, a collaboration between the Nine Network and St. Louis Public Radio that’s located between the two organizations, is a high-tech event space that will soon extend all the way to Washington Avenue, past The Sheldon’s glorious Steward Family Plaza. The International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, located above Triumph Grill, recently inducted a new class of eight photographers, including such luminaries as Annie Leibovitz and Ken Burns. Of course, St. Louis is filled with other areas where the arts thrive, such as the Delmar Loop, Forest Park, Cherokee Street, the Central West End, and downtown St. Louis, with Eero Saarinen’s incredible Gateway Arch. St. Louis is certainly a city where the arts are alive. Thank you for supporting our vibrant scene.
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Photography by TKTK
T H E
SPOTLIGHT D A N C E ,
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T H E A T E R ,
M U S I C
M O R E
The World’s a Stage THESE THEATER COMPANIES ARE EMPOWERING YOUNG PERFORMERS, ROLLING OUT NEW WORKS, AND STRIVING TOWARD A LARGER CAUSE.
METRO THEATER COMPANY Metro Theater Company is nationally known for producing exciting and thought-provoking plays for audiences of all ages. MTC productions combine great stories with amazing scenery, lights, and music to engage, entertain, and create opportunities for intergenerational conversations. Recent MTC plays have included a boxing ring on stage for And In This Corner...Cassius Clay, skating on a frozen canal for Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, and a 13-person jazz band for Bud, Not Buddy. Audiences never know what they will see next at a MTC play, but they do know they will leave the Grandel Theatre with an arts experience the whole family will treasure. metroplays.org. TLT PRODUCTIONS Asked to name their favorite show, Tre’von Griffith and Lauron Thompson-Cosby give a fitting answer: Voices, the collection of original songs and monologues that launched the troupe’s inaugural season last year. As with many of TLT’s shows, the production spoke to timely issues concerning St. Louis youth, including self-esteem, race, and identity. Earlier this year, TLT kicked off its second season with another original, Beyond the River, co-directed by Griffith and Thompson-Cosby. “The majority of our shows are original content,” says Griffith. “We’ll work off each other’s energy and strengths so we can create something that will reach a lot of people. Each time you come, you’ll get a different experience.” facebook.com/TLTproductionsSTL. 8 | The Soul of the City
NEW LINE THEATRE After two years reimagining Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance as a zombie apocalypse story, New Line Theatre artistic director Scott Miller plans to debut The Zombies of Penzance this October at The Marcelle. The black box theater allows New Line’s resident scenic designer, Rob Lippert, to tailor the set exactly the way Miller envisioned it while writing the show. “That’s part of the fun,” he says, noting that Lippert helped design the theater. “We create a totally different environment every time we do a show.” Audiences can expect a totally different take on the classic comic opera this fall. newlinetheatre.com. IGNITE THEATRE COMPANY “Theater tends to create a lot of competition for performers,” says Libby Pederson, founder of Ignite Theatre Company, which is aimed at making the arts more accessible to young performers. “Our goal is to create kind, confident, collaborative performers who are very city-conscious.” Local teenager Sam Mueller, for instance, recalls auditioning for Annie Jr. earlier this year. “I was very nervous about being around new people, because I don’t always make friends easily and conversation is often difficult for me,” he says. “Something surprising happened that night: I was able to have an enjoyable conversation about music and theater with a person I’d never met before but now has become my closest friend. We talked for hours, and I drove home that night feeling warm inside because of the connection I made. I had talked so much, my throat was sore.” ignitewithus.org.
BLACK MIRROR THEATRE This December, Black Mirror presents Of Human Kindness: An Evening of Shorts. This series of original one-act plays includes, among others: Isabella “Bomefree,” inspired by Sojourner Truth; Letters From Mom and Dad, advice on growing up black in America; Ravensbruck, Hitler’s only concentration camp for women; and Etchings, about the desire of the homeless to lead lives of value to others. All of the shorts explore the power of simple acts of kindness to lift the human spirit, an apt undertaking for a theater company devoted to fostering social justice, combating childhood hunger, and providing a platform for both aspiring and experienced actors to engage in material of substance with clarity. blackmirrortheatre.com.
Photography by Metro Theater Company & Dan Donvan
INSIGHT THEATRE COMPANY Before the Mac, there was the “computer,” those pioneering women depicted in Hidden Figures and the acclaimed book The Glass Universe who helped map the heavens and put an astronaut on the moon. This fall, Insight Theatre Company stages Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky, based on the true story of Henrietta Leavitt, who broke out of her data entry role at Harvard and made a tremendous impact on later astronomical discoveries. “The Hubble telescope, for example, was directly possible because of the work that she had done,” says the play’s director, Maggie Ryan. “It’s a play that celebrates women—and women being strong contributors to our scientific world.” And to inspire future generations, Insight will stage the play for area students. “It’s the perfect opportunity for young people to see how women and science really do belong together,” says Ryan. insighttheatrecompany.com. The Soul of the City | 9
FIRST RUN THEATRE Looking to see a world-premiere play? Check out First Run, which exclusively produces new plays by Midwestern authors, most of whom are from the St. Louis area. Without First Run, many of these original plays would never come to fruition. “It’s enjoyable to write, but an awful lot of frustration goes along with it,” says playwright David Hawley, a First Run board member. “Once you’ve written it, what do you do with it?” Although it does mean competing with better-known plays, First Run manages to set itself apart from other companies. “There is only one theater company in St. Louis that does all new plays and nothing else, and that’s us,” says Hawley. “Sometimes the newness of a play provides leverage.” firstruntheatre.com. SILHOUETTES PRODUCTION COMPANY Silhouettes came from humble beginnings. Years ago, the production company staged shows in area churches and coffeehouses. Founder Elisabeth Wurm recalls the 2015 production of Next to Normal, about bipolar disorder and families living with mental
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illness. “We were still very small, and everyone had 10 jobs,” she says. “I painted the set in my parents’ garage, and my assistant director designed the lights. We both ran the sound, and all of our actors helped build the set.” Nonetheless, the small play made a big difference, with 20 percent of ticket proceeds going to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. This year, Silhouettes moved into the Kranzberg Arts Center’s Black Box Theater. “The Kranzberg Arts Foundation offers lots of support, which has helped us grow,” says Wurm. “There are so many artistic things going on in this community, and we want to be a part of it.” silhouettesproductionco.com. TESSERACT THEATRE COMPANY As a playwright, Taylor Gruenloh has a knack for finding the essence of a play. “I can hunt through the text and find the thematic seeds in each scene, so when I’m talking to actors or designers and we aren’t seeing eye to eye, I can always bring the conversation back to the seed,” says the artistic director of Tesseract Theatre Company. “With new plays, it always has
Photography by TKTK
to go back to the text; the text is the blueprint of the bridge we are building that we are asking the audience to walk across.” Among those shows: Tira Palmquist’s Age of Bees, Will Coleman’s Helvetica, and the nine-vignette A Mourning Hollow, all of which were crowd and company favorites. This season, Tesseract’s doubling down and focusing even more on the development process by creating more residencies for local playwrights. It’s also looking ahead to 2020, with hopes of launching a new play festival. “We are gearing up to concrete ourselves in St. Louis’ theater landscape,” says Gruenloh. tesseracttheatre.org. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY’S DEPARTMENT OF FINE AND PERFORMING ARTS Just last year, SLU signed a three-year lease with the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, and its theater department is already seeing a difference. “We now have a way to get our students access to work in professional-level theatrical spaces,” says department chair Laura Franklin. In April, the department performed Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at The Grandel, where SLU’s faculty and students worked to ensure that the show looked, sounded, and felt the way that SLU had imagined it. “The foundation keeps their spaces as sort of a blank slate,” says Franklin. “We can make it whatever our vision is.” And as the next semester kicks into high gear, the department is looking for future opportunities to expand its art, music, and theater programs in Kranzberg Arts Foundation spaces. slu.edu. JPEK CREATIVEWORKS “St. Louis offers a great amount of raw talent,” says JPEK CreativeWorks founder Joel P.E. King, whose play Meeting at the Elder’s Circle, an original satire about church and religion, came to life this August at the Kranzberg Arts Center. It’s just one of the many original works that he’s created. “We’ve had an extreme amount of support from wonderful sponsors and people who just want to see the vision grow,” King says. And though St. Louis might not offer aspiring actors and playwrights as much exposure to professional theater as
larger cities do, he notes, it does provide room to experiment and draw new people. “I’m seeing people in the theater I haven’t seen before,” says King, “and it’s become a constant flow.” jpek-thearts.com. R-S THEATRICS For R-S Theatrics, this season comes with a sense of triumph. For years, the company pinched pennies, sometimes spending the same amount on a show as larger companies would on shoes. Its venues were also perpetually changing, from Crestwood to Carondelet, Westport to University City. Finally, in 2016, it found a home in Grand Center, thanks to the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. Last season, R-S staged In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tonywinning musical about immigration. This season, it rolls out two of its most ambitious shows yet: Every Brilliant Thing, an inspired one-person show with an improvisational element, and Perfect Arrangement, which explores McCarthyism and the current political climate. r-stheatrics.com. UPSTREAM THEATER COMPANY British Egyptian playwright Sabrina Mahfouz’s gripping play Chef, about a head chef–turned–inmate, unfolds in a prison kitchen. The protagonist, portrayed by actress Linda Kennedy, explains how her passion for food has helped her overcome adversity all her life. Directed by renowned Swiss director Marianne de Pury, the production is the U.S. debut of the one-woman play. “Many countries with rich theatrical traditions have little representation on the American stage,” says Philip Boehm, founder and artistic director of Upstream, which has plenty of experience producing such international works. “To help fill that gap, we’ve presented more than a dozen new translations of works from countries as far-flung as Cuba and Croatia. That’s in addition to another dozen U.S. premieres of plays from English-speaking countries. In other words, ever since 2005, St. Louis has been the first in the country to see these plays by major international playwrights. It’s all about combining global perspective and local impact.” upstreamtheater.org.
Photography by New Line Theatre & Jill Ritter Lindberg, University Theater at Saint Louis University & Eric Woolsey
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Photography by TKTK
Photography by TKTK
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Season packages & single tickets to COCA’s signature performance series are now on sale. For tickets, visit cocastl.org.
Disney’s Aladdin • November 7-25 A Christmas Carol • December 6-9 Les Miserables • December 11-16 Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical • Dec. 22-23 Anastasia • December 26 - January 6 Fiddler on the Roof • January 29 - February 10 The Rat Pack is Back • February 22-24 Rock of Ages • March 1-3 Bat out of Hell • March 5-10 Beautiful–The Carole King Musical • March 12-17 Waitress • March 26 - April 7 Miss Saigon • April 23 - May 5 Come From Away • May 14-26
Visit FabulousFox.com for more information and a full calendar.
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Making Music HOW THE MUSIC ARTIST–IN–RESIDENCE PROGRAM IS FUELING ST. LOUIS’ MUSIC SCENE—AND CREATING MUCH-NEEDED SUPPORT FOR AREA ARTISTS.
St. Louis is, and has always been, a music city. It’s why we launched the Music Artist–in– Residence program earlier this year. The pillar of our mission is infrastructure for the arts, and local musicians need different infrastructure than a dance company or visual artist. The program identifies bandleaders with original projects and provides them with the resources they need to advance and build their careers. In addition to offering performance opportunities throughout Grand Center, including at The Dark Room and the Kranzberg Arts Center, the program offers rehearsal space, marketing support, industry access, and recording opportunities. We’ve also partnered with Clayton Studios, owned by jazz musician and jazz fest organizer Michael Silverman, to produce a Music Artist–in–Residence compilation. The result: More opportunity for professional musicians—and more music for St. Louis.
BOB DEBOO The bassist grew up playing in the Dallas–Fort Worth jazz scene. In 2002, he moved to New York to study at The New School before relocating here. He regularly plays across the Midwest with the best jazz musicians around. Catch him leading the Kranzberg Jazz Jam as part of the Wednesday Night Jazz Crawl. bobdeboo.net.
MO EGESTON The hyper-versatile pianist, bandleader, and educator studied chamber music at Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville, and his current projects include Mo E All-Stars and Mo E Trio. He also led St. Louis indie bands Vargas Swing, Urban Jazz Naturals, and mo & dawn, and he was a member of Brothers Lazaroff. moegeston.com.
JESSE GANNON Performing as Jesse Gannon and The Truth (aka The jessegannontruth), the songwriter, pianist, and singer is a genre-mixer and improviser, infusing elements of “soul, broken-beat, and post-bop grooves with a sophisticated harmonic palette and unforgettably lyrical melodies.” facebook.com/ jessegannonmusic. The Soul of the City | 15
BEN REECE A founding member of the Funky Butt Brass Band and The Feed, the saxophonist often moonlights, including with the Phil Dunlap Quintet, the Jazz St. Louis Big Band, and the Circus Flora house band. He’s also the leader of the Ben Reece Unity Quartet, which plays The Dark Room on the second Thursday of the month. facebook.com/Ben ReeceSTLMusic.
PTAH WILLIAMS One of St. Louis’ legendary old guard, the pianist has toured internationally and shared the stage with the likes of Lou Donaldson, Freddie Hubbard, and George Benson. His current trio features bassist Darrell Mixon and drummer Gary Sykes, and he’s doing national tours with The Gershwin Connection. ptahwilliams piano.com.
KASIMU TAYLOR In the tradition of jazz legends Clark Terry and Miles Davis, this veteran trumpet player and bandleader comes from the deeprooted trumpet heritage of St. Louis, a “city of Gabriels.” Catch him during his weekly Wednesday-night residency at The Dark Room, where he anchors Grand Center’s Wednesday Night Jazz Crawl. kasimutaylor.com.
ANITA JACKSON The St. Louis native returned home after living in NYC for more than a decade. A vocalist and actor, she’s performed all over the world. Locally, she’s appeared in several Black Rep productions and at the Tennessee Williams Festival. She’s also performed at Jazz at the Bistro; BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups; and The Sheldon Concert Hall. iamanitajackson.com.
OWEN RAGLAND Still in his teens, Ragland has worked with local music collaborative FarFetched. Like many young musicians, including several affiliated with FarFetched, he produces work that weaves together multiple genres, including jazz, hip-hop, and electronic. The Owen Ragland Quintet plays the Dark Room every third Friday. owenragland music.com.
TONINA After studying bass with musicians from the St. Louis Symphony as a child, this classically trained singer/songwriter/bassist/ writer went on to study at the Berklee College of Music. Earlier this year, she opened for Lalah Hathaway and played the Catania Jazz Festival in Sicily. Catch Tonina on Tuesdays at The Dark Room. iamtonina.com.
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THE SHELDON 2018-2019 SEASON
Tickets on Sale NOW! DEL MCCOURY BAND DIANNE REEVES HOT RIZE CARRIE NEWCOMER
DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER DAVID HALEN LILA DOWNS ANITA JACKSON
LOOPRAT SIERRA HULL ANOUSHKA SHANKAR AND MUCH MORE!
DEDICATED TO ART AND FREE TO ALL.
Open Tuesday–Sunday, Always free slam.org
James Little, American, born 1952; Double Exposure (detail), 2008; oil and wax on canvas; unframed: 39 × 50 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, The Thelma and Bert Ollie Memorial Collection, Gift of Ronald and Monique Ollie 190:2017 © June Kelly Gallery / James Little
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Music Matters THREE PROGRAMS THAT BRING RHYTHM TO THE FOREFRONT
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Photography by Kranzberg Arts Foundation
WEDNESDAY NIGHT JAZZ CRAWL What began as the all-ages Jazz Jam, hosted by bassist Bob DeBoo, has evolved into a weekly all-night event celebrating the best in local jazz. The idea behind the original jam was to let jazz lovers of all ages experience new music and give young artists an opportunity to showcase their talents. Today, it’s morphed into a weekly crawl that stretches across Grand Center—from KDHX to the Kranzberg Arts Center, The Dark Room, and Nancy’s Jazz Lounge—and helps carry on St. Louis’ rich jazz legacy. kranzbergartsfoundation.org/ wednesday-night-jazz-crawl. SPECDRUM Music is a universal language, transcending race, class, and sexual orientation. As educator Matthew Henry notes, it can also help us gain a better understanding of the world. That’s one reason that the percussion ensemble he leads at the University of Missouri–St. Louis is among the nation’s few to perform in the West African drumming style, teaching about world cultures while making music. Building on the idea, he formed SpecDrum, an education initiative that teaches younger students about world cultures through drumming while instilling life skills, acceptance, self-expression, and teambuilding skills. About 20 students meet each week and host performances. “Every event that we do, the idea is to not only to perform for the audience but also to educate them,” Henry says. “If everyone knew more information, especially about cultures in West Africa and the rest of the world, it would be a better place.” specdrum.org. Photography by Kranzberg Arts Foundation
HEAL CENTER FOR THE ARTS A multi-disciplined arts organization, HEAL Center for the Arts is on a mission to make quality arts programming accessible to students of urban communities. HEAL offers programs in Instrumental music, vocal music, and dance. Their “Intellectual Artist Series” has students read two art-focused nonfiction books per school year and complete a book review with the authors. Last year, students read Wynton Marsalis’ Moving to Higher Ground. This year, they will read Leslie Odom’s Failing Up. Catch HEAL’s student group Point of View Jazz ensemble the last Saturday of every month at The Dark Room. healcenterfor thearts.org. The Soul of the City | 19
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Photography by TKTK
All the Right Moves DANCE COMPANIES THAT DELIVER—ON STAGE AND BEYOND ASHLEYLIANE DANCE COMPANY When she started Ashleyliane Dance Company, more than a decade ago, artistic director Ashley L. Tate found herself at a crossroads after more than 30 years in the industry. The acclaimed dancer was versed in a wide array of styles—modern, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and more. Should her company specialize in one area, or find ways to incorporate a mix of styles? “This idea proved to be a struggle at first,” says Tate. “However, it ended up being our success!” Today, the full-service dance organization continues to draw on both Tate’s experiences and the dancers’ strengths. “This past concert, I decided to produce a show called Parallels, which aimed to explore several issues and portray two viewpoints on each,” she says. “As a person, I feel it important to recognize the value of seeing both sides of the coin.” ashleyliane.com. THE BIG MUDDY DANCE COMPANY Over the past eight years, The Big Muddy Dance Company has evolved from a small group of volunteers to 16 full-time dancers with a versatile array of skills. “Our dancers are classically trained in ballet, but we present a lot of contemporary, jazz, and modern work on the stage,” says executive director Erin Warner Prange. Off the stage, the company offers open classes in ballet, contemporary, jazz, and dance fitness, as well as community outreach. For example, the Senior Embrace program delivers high-quality performing arts to local seniors, particularly those who aren’t able to venture out to public venues. “And we’ve just expanded our program within the past year,” adds Prange, “to incorporate a hands-on movement workshop for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease.” thebigmuddy danceco.org. Photography by Gerry Love
CONSUMING KINETICS DANCE COMPANY The region’s first professional dance company to specialize in drop-in classes, Consuming Kinetics Dance Company invites people of all experience levels to take to the dance floor. Though some newcomers might be apprehensive at first, fellow students are quick to offer encouragement. “When a new person comes in, we see other students walk up and say, ‘Don’t worry; the teachers are really incredible,’” says founder Arica Brown. “We create a culture that’s infectious to our clients.” The company also produces inspiring performances. This fall, CKDC will perform Stasis, a multimedia and mixed-art exploration. Works for Stasis will incorporate installations, graphics, film, theater, elaborate props, and other interactive elements. ckdc.org. KARLOVSKY & COMPANY DANCE Twenty years ago, Dawn Karlovsky moved to St. Louis after working with companies from San Francisco to Chicago. Soon thereafter, in 2012, the acclaimed choreographer formed Karlovsky & Company Dance, performing across the region and internationally. Along the way, she’s learned some lessons. “As a choreographer and dancer, you’re vulnerable, which is something beautiful and daring,” she says. “You’re putting yourself out there, and you’re showing aspects of yourself and life.” She often finds inspiration through reflection, “making life experiences conscious experiences as a way of observing and studying situations we have as human beings.” karlovskydance.org. SAINT LOUIS BALLET Our region’s only professional ballet company features 22 dancers and is accustomed to staging large, elaborate The Soul of the City | 21
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productions. But as it enters a second year at the Grandel Theatre, the company also enjoys offering a more intimate experience. “I always think about the audience,” explains artistic director Gen Horiuchi. “It’s about what they want to see. Our performances at the Grandel feature cutting-edge premieres by young choreographers, as well as works by more established artists. And our dancers love to mingle with the audience in the Dark Room after the show!” Saint Louis Ballet is thrilled to call the Grandel Theatre its second home. stlouisballet.org. DANCE ST. LOUIS For 53 years, Dance St. Louis has been bringing world-class professional dance—from Alvin Ailey American Dance to The Joffrey Ballet—to the region. Now, for its 2018-19 season, Dance St. Louis is presenting “A Season of Firsts,” featuring a lineup of never-before-seen works in St. Louis from some of the dance world’s most talked-about companies and dancers. On November 11 at the Edison Theatre, An Evening of Ballet Stars showcases renowned performers, including “eight of the top dancers from around the country,” says managing director of programs and community engagement Christopher Mohnani. Then, on February 27 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, Dance St. Louis presents Autobiography—Company Wayne McGregor, a new work by multiaward-winning British choreographer and Royal Ballet resident choreographer Wayne McGregor, performed by his London-based company. “It’s a huge deal—not just for us but also for the city—for Wayne McGregor to be coming and presenting his brand of dance,” Mohnani says. dancestlouis.org. The Soul of the City | 23
Pushing Boundaries FROM SHAKESPEARE TO THE CIRCUS, TENNESSEE WILLIAMS TO CUT TING-EDGE WORKS, THESE FOUR FESTIVALS CONTINUALLY STRETCH THE LIMITS.
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TENNESSEE WILLIAMS FESTIVAL “It is essential that this man’s work not be forgotten, not be unknown to the next generation,” Carrie Houk told SLM in 2016, shortly before St. Louis’ inaugural Tennessee Williams Festival. “He is our Shakespeare.” This past year, the festival moved to The Grandel, where Houk and company staged A Streetcar Named Desire with a larger ensemble—and for a larger audience. It also won the Arts and Education Council’s 2019 Arts Startup of the Year award. “We were pleased to see how the audience came in droves,” Houk says. “The venue is so beautiful, comfortable, and audience-friendly. I felt like we had to step it up this year, and I believe we did.” Next year’s festival promises to be even bigger, with more productions planned for the main event. twstl.org. CIRCUS FLORA For years, Circus Flora’s iconic redand-white tent popped up each spring in Powell Hall’s parking lot, providing a temporary one-ring stage for wonder and whimsy. Though the lot was able to fit the tent and its performers’ “Caravan Village,” the site restricted the show’s flexibility and visibility. That all changed this year, when Circus Flora opened its 32nd season in a new home: the Big Top, just a street over from its longtime digs. The more permanent space includes a box office and year-round office space in converted shipping containers. “The tent can stay up for a longer stretch of time,” says artistic director Jack Marsh. “This sense of permanence lets us create a beautiful environment outside the tent and bring audiences all kinds of surprises inside.” circusflora.org. SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL ST. LOUIS With executive producer Tom Ridgely at the helm, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis embarks on a new chapter this fall launching a play festival called In the Works. Running October 28–November 24, the fest focuses on Shakespeare-inspired works by American playwrights that grapple with modern-day issues. Photography by Allan Crain
“I think [audience members] will get a great sense of the kinds of ways writers are in dialogue with Shakespeare today,” says Ridgely. For instance, the festival’s centerpiece, George Brant’s Into the Breeches!, is the tale of a troupe of women who put on a production of Henry V when their male counterparts are off fighting in World War II. Think something akin to A League of Their Own with Shakespeare. Other works include staged readings of playwright Michael Saenz’s The Thousand Natural Shocks and Nancy Bell’s A Most Outrageous Fit of Madness. sfstl.com. ST. LOU FRINGE Pushing boundaries—that’s the mission of St. Lou Fringe. “Our job is to unearth new, experimental, experiential work,” says executive director Matthew R. Kerns. Spanning days in mid-August, the organization fills Grand Center with original works, providing a platform to artists who might not otherwise get the spotlight. Striving to create an equal playing field for all producers, the festival management decides 60 percent of the festival lineup by lottery, drawing names from a fishbowl. “We’re bringing opportunity not only to the artists to make and show the work but also to our patrons, who get to experience the next wave of art in the our city and region,” says Kerns. stlouisfringe.com. The Soul of the City | 25
Now including two sets on Sundays
3536 Washington Ave. St.Louis, MO,63103
A STROLL FO R YO U R SEN SES
E X P LO R E W H ATâ€™S H A P P E N I N G T O D AY AT GRANDCENTER.ORG
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THE SEASON AT A GLANCE
Must-See Shows PURCHASE TICKETS AT METROTIX.COM TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT.
OCTOBER October 4 Mariposa Artists presents Steve Brammeier: 68: Then & Now Kranzberg Arts Center October 6 Mariposa Artists presents Rick Jensen: 60 Years in 60 Minutes Kranzberg Arts Center
October 20 & 21 Ashleyliane Dance Company: Roots and Rhythm: A Tribute to Jazz The Grandel October 20 & 21 Mariposa Artists presents Here I Am: An Evening of Song with Nina Gabianelli Kranzberg Arts Center
October 7 Witherspoon Entertainment presents Philly Soul .ZACK
October 21 Hope Creates presents Don’t Quit Before the Miracle .ZACK
October 11–14 Saint Louis University Theatre: Eurydice The Grandel
October 26–28 Consuming Kinetics Dance Company: Stasis The Marcelle
October 12 IIDA Gateway Chapter presents Unravel: Couture Under the Big Top The Big Top
October 26 Mariposa Artists presents Merry Keller: It’s Personal Kranzberg Arts Center
October 14 JPEK CreativeWorks Theatre: Aretha & Donny Hathaway Tribute .ZACK October 19 Ryan Marquez Trio Kranzberg Arts Center
October 27 Barb Jungr & John McDaniel: 1968: Let the Sun Shine In Kranzberg Arts Center October 27 Dogs for Our Brave: Laugh Your Tail Off With Monique Marvez .ZACK
October 28–November 24 Shakespeare Festival St. Louis: In the Works: A New Play Festival The Grandel
NOVEMBER Through November 24 Shakespeare Festival St. Louis: In the Works: A New Play Festival The Grandel November 1–11 Cinema St. Louis presents the St. Louis International Film Festival .ZACK November 4 Mother Models & Caleres present Tribute Fashion Fest The Big Top November 9 & 10 R-S Theatrics: 2018 Cabaret Series Kranzberg Arts Center November 10 Nightchaser Under the Big Top The Big Top November 16–December 2 R-S Theatrics: Every Brilliant Thing Kranzberg Arts Center
October 19–November 4 Insight Theatre Company: Silent Sky Kranzberg Arts Center Visit http://kranzbergartsfoundation.org/calendar for the latest calendar The Soul of the City | 27
THE SEASON AT A GLANCE
November 16 Stellar presents The Barefoot Movement .ZACK November 17 J&M Records presents The Soulful Saxy Sounds of Jeanette Harris .ZACK November 30–December 2 JPEK CreativeWorks Theatre: A Diva’s Dedication: Gladys Knight, Phyllis Hyman, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle .ZACK
DECEMBER December 2 Good Deeds The Grandel December 2–31 Metro Theatre Company: Wonderland: Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure The Grandel December 6–15 Black Mirror Theatre: Of Human Kindness Kranzberg Arts Center December 7–23 R-S Theatrics: Perfect Arrangement The Marcelle December 14–23 Tesseract Theatre Company: Facing by Caitlin McCommis .ZACK
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JANUARY January 9–13 Ignite Theatre Company: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical The Grandel January 17–22 Max & Louie Productions present Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter The Marcelle January 18 Stellar presents Royal South Kranzberg Arts Center January 18 & 20 Artists for a Cause: Dance for Food The Grandel January 19 Winter Jazz Fest featuring John Patitucci The Grandel January 25–February 10 R-S Theatrics: The Motherf*cker With the Hat .ZACK January 25–February 10 Upstream Theater: TBA Kranzberg Arts Center January 26 The Big Muddy Dance Company: Home Grown, presented by Garden View Care Centers The Grandel
FEBRUARY Through February 10 Upstream Theater: TBA Kranzberg Arts Center
Through February 10 R-S Theatrics: The Motherf*cker With the Hat .ZACK February 1–3 TLT Productions In Collaboration with Heather Beal: #BlackAF The Marcelle February 3–24 Metro Theatre Company: The Hundred Dresses The Grandel February 8 Ignite Theatre Company: Duets Valentine Cabaret The Marcelle February 15 Ashleyliane Dance Company: Love Spell: A Valentine’s Day Event .ZACK February 23–March 3 Saint Louis University Theatre presents The Misanthrope Kranzberg Arts Center February 28–March 23 New Line Theatre: La Cage aux Folles The Marcelle
MARCH Through March 23 New Line Theatre: La Cage aux Folles The Marcelle March 1–2 Saint Louis Ballet: Go! Series The Grandel
Photography by TKTK
Photography by TKTK
S E T T I N G
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Photography by TKTK
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On Display ART BY THE COMMUNITY, ACCESSIBLE TO ALL
THE KRANZBERG GALLERY Earlier this year, the gallery featured Melissa Stern’s multimedia exhibition The Talking Cure. After the initial exhibit, students at local colleges and universities were invited to respond in the same spirit of collaboration, using a multimedia format. UPCOMING EXHIBITS October 11 –November 10 For Freedoms’ Cry of Victory and Short Walks to Freedom: Over You / You by artist Oscar Murillo, curated by Modou Dieng. In partnership with For Freedoms’ 50 State Initiative. November 16–December 29 University of Missouri–St. Louis, Maryville 32 | The Soul of the City
University, and Washington University in St. Louis student response show, curated by Gina Grafos and Michael Behle. 2019 EXHIBITION THEME: CHAOS The theme for next year is “chaos” and, more specifically, the beauty that arises from it. Artists were asked how they remain tethered to their values during chaotic times. Fundamental to the Kranzberg Arts Foundation is the idea that the arts, far from an indulgence, are a necessity of society and reflect our finest ideals and greatest accomplishments. We hope that these exhibits offer relief from disbelief and will move the community to a closer examination of their own role in rebuilding and maintaining a better world.
THE DARK ROOM GALLERY After taking the exhibition reins in January 2017, curator Gina Grafos presents photographic work devoted to lens-based artists from across the St. Louis region. Open seven days a week, the gallery showcases St. Louisâ€™ remarkable image makers and offers patrons the ability to become collectors and supporters by purchasing a print. An official call for submissions opens a revolving opportunity for solo and group exhibitions of all lens-based works to be considered for the 2019 season and beyond. Selected artists will receive support from the curator, including studio visits, professional, archival printing, and installation guidance in preparation for the exhibition. thedarkroomstl.com. UPCOMING EXHIBITS October 9: For Freedoms STL November 2: Orlando Thompson January: Victoria Bamn Photography by Kranzberg Arts Foundation
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Photography by TKTK
Building Blocks THESE VERSATILE VENUES PROVIDE ARTISTS WITH SPACE TO CREATE, COLLABORATE, AND PERFORM.
THE GRANDEL Originally built in 1884, the historic Grandel Theatre underwent a dramatic renovation in 2017. Today, it houses a premier 600-person–capacity theater where patrons can enjoy concerts, plays, musicals, dance performances, comedy shows, and more. The Grand Hall, a beautiful private event space with vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors, is perfect for weddings and galas. 3610 Grandel Square, thegrandel.com. THE DARK ROOM Nestled inside The Grandel, The Dark Room leads many lives. It’s a jazz club, photography gallery, bar, and restaurant. Patrons can hear jazz seven days a week without a cover. Rotating photo exhibits feature emerging and established photographers from across the region. And the restaurant is open for dinner daily, perfect for preshow dining, and brunch on the weekends. The best part: All of the proceeds go directly back to supporting the arts. 3610 Grandel Square, thedarkroomstl.com. KRANZBERG ARTS CENTER The venue that started it all, the Kranzberg Arts Center, brings the arts together under one roof in the historic Woolworth Building. Patrons can experience performances and exhibitions in the intimate art gallery, studio, and black box theater on the first floor or get hands-on experience in Craft Alliance’s education center on the lower level. 501 N. Grand, kranzbergarts center.org.
Photography by Kranzberg Arts Foundation
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THE MARCELLE Theater and dance play a major role at The Marcelle. With a state-of-the-art black box theater and professional dance studios, you can take in outstanding productions from a number of our resident organizations, including Dance St. Louis, The Big Muddy Dance Company, New Line Theatre, and Ignite Theatre Company. 3310 Samuel Shepard, kranzbergartsfoundation.org/ the-marcelle. .ZACK Bringing together world-class arts infrastructure and patron amenities, .ZACK is a 40,000-square-foot multiuse arts facility. A 200-person theater and arts incubator provide artists and organizations a home base for their work. Turn by David Kirkland and Sophie’s Artist Lounge & Cocktail Club offer patrons the perfect place to eat and drink, and Music Record Shop is the destination for vinyl aficionados. To cap it all off, the fourth and fifth floors feature The Urban Ballroom and Sally’s Rooftop Garden and Terrace. Both offer panoramic views of downtown for your next event. 3224 Locust, kranzberg artsfoundation.org/zack. THE BIG TOP Walk through the walls of The Big Top and instantly be transported to a one-of-a-kind experience. From April through October the site features the 1,200 person Big Top tent, a private VIP Tent, and a concessions tent. Yearround, the site features the offices of Circus Flora and dedicated ticketing facilities with plumbing, phone, wifi and security. The Big Top plays host to more than just the circus; with flexible seating options, it’s the ideal location for concerts, fashion shows, galas, weddings, business meetings, and more. 3401 Washington, kranzbergarts foundation.org/the-big-top. 36 | The Soul of the City
Photography by Kranzberg Arts Foundation
Photography by TKTK
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RESTAURANTS & RETAIL
Room to Unwind SOME OF THE REGION’S MOST INNOVATIVE RESTAURANTS AND SHOPS RESIDE IN GRAND CENTER.
THE DARK ROOM Although The Dark Room is about the art of music and photography, it’s also about the art of food. Open for dinner daily and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, it serves up a menu of seasonal fare by chef Samantha Pretto that includes soups, salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, shareable plates, and entrées. Among the most popular items: the shrimp and grits— marinated and sautéed jumbo Gulf shrimp atop English white cheddar polenta, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and chili oil. (You’ll find the dish on the brunch menu, too.) Swing by for happy hour, 4–6 p.m. daily, and the late-night menu, starting at 10 p.m. 3610 Grandel Square, thedark roomstl.com. 38 | The Soul of the City
MUSIC RECORD SHOP After outgrowing their vinyl store’s former location in The Grove, Christine and Mark Carter relocated to the .ZACK’s second floor. “It had to do with how we envision growing the business and how our customers like to shop,” says Christine. “They want to come in, talk about music, have a beer, and hang out.” Besides selling vinyl, CDs, and a small collection of used DVDs, Music Record Shop hosts concerts and a place for music fans to gather. “Streaming music with earbuds is a solo endeavor,” Christine says, contrasting the experience to listening to vinyl. “You put a record on, sit in the living room with other people around, and talk about the music. It’s an experience.” 3224 Locust, Ste. 203, musicrecordshop.com. Photography by Kevin A. Roberts, Kranzberg Arts Foundation
A NEW SPIN SOPHIE’S ARTIST LOUNGE & COCKTAIL CLUB Located on the .ZACK’s second floor, Sophie’s serves as respite for the public and the building’s resident organizations alike. Patrons can enjoy craft cocktails, wines, drafts, and a selection of snacks. The atmosphere is emphasized by a velvet Chesterfield couch and chandeliers. As at The Dark Room, all proceeds benefit the local arts community. 3224 Locust, kranzbergartsfoundation.org/sophies.
More than 70 record albums cover one wall inside Turn (davidkirklandcatering.com), the acclaimed restaurant by chef/owner David Kirkland, who shared about dishes, DJing, and what’s new. How did music influence Turn? It has a lot to do with me DJing. Whenever I play music, I take a little bit of each track I’m mixing to make a whole song. It’s similar to how I make meals, using different styles of cooking. Why open a restaurant inside the .ZACK? I was looking for a space in Grand Center. I reached out to Ken [Kranzberg], and he said, “There’s something in the works that we have you in mind for.” He and [Kranzberg Arts Foundation executive director] Chris Hansen showed me the space, and I was, like, “Yes. I’d love to be in this building!”
SALLY’S ROOFTOP GARDEN & TERRACE The collaboration between the Kranzberg Arts Foundation and Urban Harvest STL opened this summer. Cucumber, eggplant, and edible flowers are some of the 50-plus plants growing atop the .ZACK on this serene rooftop terrace, which serves as a 150-person event space. The garden’s bounty supplies both the building’s restaurants and underserved St. Louisans in nearby neighborhoods. 3224 Locust.
What’s one of your favorite dishes at Turn? The biscuit flights are what we’re known for. Something I’m loving right now is our watermelon wedge salad. What’s something diners might not know about Turn? We’re open for dinner Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and we’re serving a new fall menu. The Soul of the City | 39
Photography by TKTK
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Photography by TKTK
C L A S S E S
W O R K S H O P S
Coming Together WHETHER EMPOWERING YOUTH OR HEALING THROUGH ART, THESE NONPROFITS EXIST TO SERVE ST. LOUIS.
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Photography by Pratt + Kreidich, Courtesy of Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective, Demil Johnson aka Superhood, Artist-in-Residence, 2018
ARTISTS FOR A CAUSE Nearly a decade ago, Florida-based countertenor Terry Barber founded Artists for a Cause to “support artists who serve community needs.” Then, three years ago, he opened a St. Louis office, based at the .ZACK. In January 2018, the nonprofit hosted Dance for Food, with attendees bringing nonperishable food items in exchange for admission to two evenings of dance at the Grandel Theatre; over time, these events have gathered more than 40,000 pounds of food for underserved communities. That’s just one of the nonprofit’s initiatives, though; others engage students and seniors, bringing the arts to all ages and income levels, supporting both culture and community. ac4ac.org. SAINT LOUIS STORY STITCHERS ARTISTS COLLECTIVE What began as one woman’s embroidery project has grown into an artist collective stitching together an entire city. Years ago, after hearing tragic stories in her own neighborhood and inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt, Susan Colangelo began embroidering stories to build awareness of the public health issue of gun violence. She joined with other artists to create an organization devoted to providing St. Louisans ages 16–24 a way to express themselves through art and cope with gun violence. Through hip-hop, spoken word, videography, and photography, the Collective tells local stories and strives to promote understanding, civic pride, and literacy. storystitchers.org. BUILDING FUTURES In a renovated building a block from Crown Candy, co-founders Frank and Gay Lorberbaum and Paul Krautmann teach young St. Louisans how to take projects from idea to reality. Supported by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, the North City nonprofit shows students how to design a product (by hand or on a computer) and construct
tangible results—clocks, animal-shaped storage units, models of their ideal bedrooms. Along the way, they learn vital life skills—problem-solving, critical thinking, math and communications—that they can take into the future. building-futures.org. PEACE WEAVING WHOLENESS Paulette Sankofa takes an intimate, holistic approach to the arts, one that encourages wellness for local women. The organization she founded, PEACE (standing for Peace, Education, Action, Compassion, and Empowerment) Weaving Wholeness empowers St. Louisans through the use of visual and performing arts in a smaller, group setting. “We meet in smaller groups so people can get to know each other and feel comfortable sharing” says Sankofa. “It’s been helpful in getting people to engage with the arts—if they know people, they’re more willing to take risks.” To foster wellness in all areas of life—mind, body, spirit, finances, relationships—the company hosts speakers from such organizations as the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Heart Association, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. In the future, Sankofa also plans to introduce more art-focused activities for older generations. “There aren’t a lot of opportunities in St. Louis for seniors in performing arts,” says Sankofa. “We’re looking for ways to connect with people and enable them to participate.” facebook.com/peaceweavingwholeness. The Soul of the City | 43
CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
Getting Schooled ENRICHING THE METRO REGION THROUGH CRAFT, CREATIVITY, AND BIG IDEAS CRAFT ALLIANCE CENTER OF ART + DESIGN A decade ago, Craft Alliance branched out beyond the Delmar Loop, opening a second location in the historic Woolworth Building in Grand Center. With locations in both city and county, the nonprofit continued doing what it’s done since the mid-’60s: “enriching lives and empowering communities through craft.” Offering classes and workshops in clay, metals, fiber, wood, and glass—as well as exhibitions, community programs in local schools, and artist residencies—Craft Alliance strives to involve the entire St. Louis community in the act of making. Through October 24, their latest exhibit (in the Delmar Loop) showcases the work of Craft Alliance’s artists-in-residence over the past 10 years. craftalliance.org. CREATIVE EXCHANGE LAB At its design commons and gallery, CEL provides dedicated space for architects, designers, artists, academics, and community leaders to collaborate and share ideas—the kind that can improve quality of life for entire neighborhoods and cities. In 2015, for example, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded the nonprofit crucial funding to conduct an art and cultural assessment, then develop a plan to help revitalize East St. Louis. “Our mission is oriented around the premise that architecture, art, and design can not only improve the quality of life in distressed communities, it can also literally be a catalyst for revitalization, and promote equity as an integral part of creating beauty in our cities,” 44 | The Soul of the City
says CEL executive director Jasmin Aber. “East St. Louis and St. Louis have unique and amazing cultural heritages.” This April, experts—artists, architects, planners, historians, filmmakers—presented Alchemy of [Un-]dividing Divided Communities: Art & Culture as Reconciliation and Equity Building. They shared ways in which art and culture might spur economic development and reconciliation in East St. Louis, site of the 1917 race riots (pogrom) and home to cultural legends such as Miles Davis, Katherine Dunham, and Jackie Joyner Kersee (to mention a few). creativeexchangelab.com. CLASSES & WORKSHOPS With a mission of serving the community through the arts, many of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation’s resident organizations offer educational programming. Among them: Ashleyliane Dance Company, The Big Muddy Dance Company, Consuming Kinetics Dance Company, Insight Theatre Company, Karlovsky & Company Dance, Metro Theater Company, Saint Louis Ballet, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, and SpecDrum.
New Interpretations A LOOK AT GRAND CENTER’S PAST—AND FUTURE Woolworth’s built an empire by selling “a lot for a little.” Its dime store on Grand and Olive— constructed in 1940 on the site of the Old Beers Hotel—was crammed with pick ’n’ mix candy, mustache cups, Slinky-coiled egg whisks, and the cheap vanities of hot-pink Revlon lipstick, gold bobby pins, and acrylic wigs. The building retained its streamlined Art Moderne elegance, though, and soon wrapped the shiny brass capital letters of WOOLWORTH’S around its curved corner on a ribbon of dark red. Today, the building is home to the Kranzberg Arts Center and features gallery and performance space, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Three blocks north sits the Grandel Theatre, built in 1884 as The First Congregational Church. Its roughly cut Bedford stone, square Romanesque tower, and arched stained glass windows crossed the century easily, and though paranormal believers swear the building is haunted, its spirits are clearly friendly to the arts. Down on Locust, .ZACK occupies the old Cadillac Building. A four-story Egyptian revival masterwork, it went up in 1919 as the city’s Automobile Row revved up. The building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, now hosts a theater, arts incubator, ballroom, and rooftop garden. That’s what art does: preserve the past, interpret it creatively, and open it up for the future. 46 | The Soul of the City
Photo courtesy of Missouri Historical Society / W. C. Persons
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Photo courtesy of Missouri Historical Society / David Schultz
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Presented by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation