Meet some of the artists featured


Out of 40 St. Louis artists showcased in “Maturity and Its Muse,” at least a quarter of them have Jewish heritages. Among them are the following:

Elaine Blatt

Age: 70

Residence: Ladue

Type of Art:


Career Highlights: BA and two MAs from Washington University. Attended Ansel Adams workshop, 1980. Lived, worked and exhibited in London (Barbican Centre) and Paris (Place du Beaubourg), exhibited at Biennale (Florence, Italy) in 2007. Author of several photographic books, including “From the Eye of Elaine Blatt: A 25-Year Retrospective,” “Reflections of Venice” and “Raw Beauty.” Represented locally at Bruno David Gallery. Extensive global travels.

Philosophy on Aging: I want to stay active, in shape and have enough money that I can still carry my heavy camera equipment and tripods to remote locations all over the world.

Sim Gellman

Age: 73

Residence: Olivette

Type of Art: Illustration, figure painting.

Career Highlights: BFA, Washington University School of Art. Illustrator, Stan Gellman Graphic Design, Maritz. Freelance work for Carus Publishing, producer of Cricket Magazine. Book for St. Louis Zoo on Raja the Elephant.

Philosophy on Aging: Like Woody Allen said, “I’m against it.”

Stan Gellman

Age: 78

Residence: Olivette

Type of Art: Graphic designer, etching, printmaking, letterpress

Career Highlights: BFA, Washington University School of Art. Graphic designer at Frank James Productions and Washington University before opening Stan Gellman Graphic Design in 1969. Retired in 1997, spends time each year in Paris studying etching and printmaking.

Philosophy on Aging: Stay on your bike and don’t lose your balance. 

Sheldon Helfman

Age: 76

Residence: University City

Type of Art: Watercolor painting

Career Highlights: BFA, Yale Art School, 1958. Professor, Washington University School of Architecture. Shown at Eliot Smith Gallery (St. Louis), Sazama Brauer (Chicago). Recent one-person exhibitions include: Maryville University, Southwestern Illinois College, Blackburn College (Carlinville, Ill.), Fontbonne University.

Philosophy on Aging: I enjoy being active and productive-painting, gardening, reading, traveling and spending time with friends and family. I take one day at a time.

Barbara Holtz

Age: 85

Residence: Central West End

Type of Art: Oil painting

Career Highlights: BJ, University of Missouri. Studied at New School in New York and Washington University School of Art. Shown at Eliot Smith Gallery (St. Louis), Watercolor USA (Springfield), Mexican Biennale. Medalist at Florence Biennale in 2005. Exhibited at Architectural Digest Home Design Show at Pier 94 (New York) 2009, 2010.

Philosophy on Aging: To show the journey of life through art, you have to live awhile. I look at things with broader brushstrokes now, and I continue to explode with ideas. It’s a privilege to grow older-and the alternative isn’t so hot.

Peter Marcus

Age: 70

Residence: Jamestown, Rhode Island

Type of Art: Printmaking

Career Highlights: Professor, Washington University School of Art for 32 years. Two National Endowment for the Arts grants. Exhibited widely, including galleries in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, the Netherlands, and at Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis. Works in many private and corporate collections.

Philosophy on Aging: I try not to let age get in the way of making art. I try to produce at the same pace and passion I always have.

Mimi Mednikow

Age: 84

Residence: Richmond Heights

Type of Art: Abstract expressionism (oil painting)

Career Highlights: Trained at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa. Exhibits locally at Kodner Gallery, St. Louis Artist’s Guild, Art St. Louis, Forest Park Community College. Painting selected for 10th anniversary poster for Missouri Governor’s Conference on Aging in 1995. Continues to attend twice-weekly senior painting class at Forest Park Community College.

Philosophy on Aging: As long as you don’t feel or look too old, age doesn’t matter. What does matter is having particular passions in life-things you really look forward to doing.

Barbara Simon

Age: 80

Residence: Clayton

Type of Art: Textile and paper collages

Career Highlights: Attended Penland School of Craft (North Carolina), Haystack Mountain School of Arts (Maine), Arrowmount School of Arts and Crafts (Tennessee) and studied with Leslie Laskey at Washington University. Curator, Craft Alliance, Art St. Louis, Center of Contemporary Art. Exhibits locally and in galleries across the U.S. Travels to some of the world’s “natural places,” like Costa Rica’s rain forests, for inspiration.

Philosophy on Aging: Stay active and keep the doors of perception open. Set goals, experiment and commit to completion. Be engaged with friends of varied ages. Enjoy life!

Linda Skrainka

Age: 70

Residence: University City

Type of Art: Painting

Career Highlights: BA, Wellesley College; BFA, Washington University School of Art. Numerous local exhibits, board member Center of Contemporary Arts in St. Louis 1998-2004. Loves “the mysterious and challenging process of conceiving of and actually making paintings” and “interacting with people who respond to and are interested in my work.”

Philosophy on Aging: Be pointlessly childish with some regularity (skipping is good), keep moving, learning and doing new things. As Satchel Paige said, “Don’t look back, they may be gaining on you.”

Razine (Ray) Wenneker

Age: 79

Residence: Frontenac

Type of Art: Textile techniques in metal and fiber

Career Highlights: BA in art education, Webster University. Taught in Ladue School District. Studied with John Baltrushunas at Maryville University and Heikki Seppa of Washington University. Founded Society for Midwest Metalsmiths in 1995, a nonprofit guild whose primary focus is education. Exhibits in numerous juried shows, featured in national magazines and books.

Philosophy on Aging: Find some activity or interest that lights your fire. Follow all paths. One never knows what stimulating twists and turns they might take.