Crown Center constructs new concept

Crown Center for Senior Living staff members Megan Zimmerman (left) and Nikki Goldstein (center) receive guidance from Kaldi’s Coffee founder Howard Lerner about methods and equipment needed to guarantee an outstanding cup of coffee. Part of Crown Center’s [email protected] plan includes a café — in addition to a variety of volunteer and programming opportunities in fitness, gardening and the arts.  

WOMEN, TYPICALLY, HAVE CRUSHES ON MEN. I have a crush on a building: Crown Center. It was built in the early 1960s by the National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section. I was then on the NCJW board and watched as the 10-story tower at 8350 Delcrest Drive grew into a 144-apartment building for low-income seniors. At that time, with Gerry Schiller as president, we thought of ourselves as informed landlords (maybe landladies) with no special regard for services.

More than 40 years later, Crown Center is more vital and vibrant than ever. It now consists of two towers, almost doubling its original size, and offers a multitude of services from meals to health and social services. Not to rest on its laurels, Crown Center is building the [email protected], a combination community center and café. 

Nikki Goldstein, Crown Center’s executive director, tells me that [email protected] “will serve a robust menu of activities, classes and programs and a delicious menu of healthy kosher foods. We’ll be expanding benefits to Crown Center residents and to retirees in surrounding areas – helping older people to stay active and independent.”

Fitness and gardening are part of the plan. There will be a fitness center with coaching sessions by RPI Therapy, AW Healthcare and OASIS. For gardening, there will be community garden beds, an outdoor classroom and greenhouses with staffing assistance from Gateway Greening.


Sounds almost too good to be true, especially to us council members who watched our baby grow to its present independent state.

“MODERNISM: ART AND DESIGN,”  an exhibit of modern paintings, drawings, fine prints and sculpture, opened last week at the Kodner Gallery in Ladue and will run through Aug. 30. It is highlighted with examples of mid-20th century modern furniture and design from MoModerne, St. Louis’ resource for vintage furnishings, lighting and décor.

Modernism is described as a succession of radical styles and movements in art, architecture and design, which dominated Western culture from the late 19th century through the 1970s. Challenging the notion that art must realistically depict the world, these artists experimented with the expressive use of color, nontraditional materials,  and new techniques and mediums. 

The show highlights paintings drawings, prints and sculpture by such artists as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Salvador Dali, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Robert Rauschenberg.

“St. Louis has a great history of modernism,” said Stephanie Stokes, Kodner Gallery manager. “Harris Armstrong and William Bernoudy designed some of the best examples of modern architecture and design here. During the mid-20th century, the faculty at Washington University’s art department consisted of such modern greats as Max Beckmann, Arthur Osver, Fred Conway and Werner Drewes. Even our beloved Gateway Arch, the symbol of St. Louis, was designed by one of the pioneers of modernism, Eero Saarinen.” 

A percentage of proceeds of sales will go to Food Outreach through the duration of the exhibit.

WHEN IT COMES TO OPERA, ST. LOUIS is leading the way with three flourishing opera companies. As Opera Theatre’s season draws to a close, Union Avenue Opera just launched its 20th season, which runs through Labor Day. 

Coming up is four performances of Andre Previn’s “Streetcar Named Desire,” Aug. 1-9, and four performances of Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried,” Aug. 23-30, which I recall seeing in the middle ages at the Kiel Opera House when the giant dragon broke down. I am still laughing at what operagoers considered a terrible glitch. 

Tickets to Union Avenue Opera are reasonable, at least for opera, but find out for yourself by calling 314-361-2881.  According to artistic director Scott Spoonover, “This is a season you don’t want to miss. The sets will be grander, the costumes more opulent and our largest chorus to date will grace the stage as we return to a three-opera summer to mark this milestone year.”

MUSICIANS OF THE GESHER MUSIC FESTIVAL will join the musicians at Central Reform Congregation at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 20, as part of the Shabbat service called “Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind,” by the South American Jewish composer Osvaldo Golijov. 

This is the fourth season for the Gesher festival, which features emerging national chamber music artists. For more information, go to