‘Maturity and Its Muse’ at the Sheldon

BY LOIS CAPLAN

“MATURITY AND ITS MUSE,” the art exhibit opening at the Sheldon Art Galleries on Oct. 1, is a real, honest- to-goodness Who’s Who of the Greater St. Louis art world. Curated and created by former gallery owner Lynn Friedman Hamilton, the invitational show includes works in all media by 40 area artists, each of whom is over the age of 70. 

There will be paintings, drawings, sculpture, fiber, quilts, jewelry, ceramics, and photography on display by such luminaries as Kent Addison, Ed Boccia, Leslie Lasky, Sheldon Helfman, Frank Schwaiger, Peter Marcus and Martin Schweig.  Add to this list the exceptionally talented Elaine Blatt, Sim Gellman, Mimi Mednikow, Barbara Holtz, Linda Skrainka, Rosemary Rosenthal, Rae Wenneker and many other artists.  Twenty-eight of the 40 have had an affiliation with Washington University as well as professors and heads of arts departments at other schools and universities. Awesome!

Come see the exhibit at either the opening reception on Friday, Oct.1 from 5 to 7 p.m. or during the course of the show which will be in the Nancy Spirtas Kranzberg Gallery at the Sheldon, 3648 Washington Boulevard, through Feb. 5, 2011. The gallery is on the first floor, handicap available and always free.  “A strong motivation for me in organizing this show was to display these artists, thank them for the many ways they have enriched the quality of our life and encourage and welcome groups of seniors to visit the show.  Aside from celebrating the remarkable talent of St. Louis-area artists over 70, the exhibition, through its accompanying catalogue and educational programs, will offer new ways of thinking about age and the creative process. Using these artists as role models, hopefully others will become engaged in something new, take a chance, fulfill a dream, extend themselves and participate in group activities.” Hamilton explained.

Two special events have been planned.  On Saturday, Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Sheldon Concert Hall, Ken Anderson, an art professor at University of Missouri-St. Louis, will moderate a panel called “Maturity and its Muse: Artists Informed by Time.” On Tuesday, Oct. 12 from 6-7 p.m. Brian Carpenter, an associate professor of psychology at Washington University, will speak on “The Science (and Art) of Studying Later Life Creativity.” Hamilton is also coordinating a series of weekly events during the month of October with OASIS at the Clayton Center. For more information or to make reservations for the Clayton Center events, call OASIS at 314-862-4859.

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WHILE YOU ARE AT THE SHELDON, take a look at the Lucy and Stanley Lopata Sculpture Garden where until spring you can see “Re/Collect,” a collaborative piece by artist Cheryl Wassenaar and poet Stephanie Schlaifer.

AMY FIRESTONE ROSEN is showing “Works on Paper” through Sept. 28 at the Bonsack Gallery, John Burroughs School at 755 South Price Road.  She has named the exhibit “Slips,” you know, underwear. It is a lovely collection of colorful and fanciful slips plus some of her exceptional abstract works.

CHAIM POTOK has not been one of my favorite novelists since he snubbed me years ago at a party given for him at Rabbi Menachem Tzvi Eichenstein’s home. However, his novel “My Name is Asher Lev” is an outstanding work of literature about a young Hasidic boy’s struggle between his religious upbringing and his drive to become an artist.  I was delighted that it is opening the New Jewish Theatre’s 2010-2011 season on Oct. 6 in an adaptation by Aaron Posner and runs through Oct. 24. For tickets and more information about an inspired NJT season, call 314-442-3283 or log on to www.newjewishtheatre.org.

JOSHUA BELL, then a 17-year old violinist, opened the 1985 Saint Louis Symphony Season.  He was good, but who knew then that he would become one of the world’s most respected fiddlers?  Bell has not been here for 11 years, so music lovers look forward to his return Sept. 18-19 when he opens the SLSO’s 131st season at Powell Symphony Hall performing the beautiful beyond description Tchaikovsky concerto. In fact, the entire season looks delicious with so many not-to-be-missed concerts. For the season schedule and tickets call 314-533-2500.

IN LAST WEEK’S COLUMN I told you about the “Dancing in the Street Festival” in Grand Center and about a “Grand Dance” in which everyone is invited to participate. Unfortunately, I did not tell you where or when.  It will be at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25 at Grand Avenue and Washington Boulevard.  The “Grand Dance” was choreographed by COCA’s Anthony “Redd” Williams, who purposely kept it simple and easy to learn. The public is invited to visit COCA’s website, www.cocastl.org and follow the link to “Dancing in the Street” from the homepage (look under News/Events) to watch the instructional video and learn the moves. Then just show up at 5:30.