Thursday, October 26, 2006

Art in St. Louis Quietly Takes Monumental Leap

Opening ceremonies for the new Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts were not even mentioned in the local paper. While the opening ceremonies may not be newsworthy, the creation of this new complex is likely the most important advancement in art here since the creation of the Saint Louis Art Museum, over a hundred years ago. Part of Washington University, the new Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, merges the school of art and the school of architecture, creating one of the finest art and design programs in the country. The school also includes a new building for the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, one of the oldest teaching museums in the country. In addition, the new Earl E. and Myrtle E. Walker Hall was created to house sculpture and painting studios. Exciting.
As part of the ceremony, the public was invited to an open house in which we could browse though the schools five buildings.
School is in session and student artwork was everywhere. Remember your grade school open house? Most of the student work was, as you would imagine, raw. However, looking closer, one could find a piece stacked against the wall or tucked in the corner which would show true potential. Baby artists, coming from all over the country, even the world, to Saint Louis to grow. On occasion, these students will settle here, blessing our area with a lifetime of their work. For Saint Louis, this is the most important aspect of our new school.
For those looking for a little more immediate impact: A NEW MUSEUM!!! And let me tell you, it is gorgeous. The Mildred Land Kemper Art Museum is everything you could hope for, large areas for rotating exhibits, and a separate gallery to display their substantial permanent collection. - Pollock, Klee, Hartly, Miro, Picasso. The special exhibitions includes six prints, (lithographs and woodcuts) by Wassily Kandinski, "Kleine Welten Series" 1922. The museum is open to the public but, as it is a university campus, parking can be tricky.