Young artists impress at Sheldon exhibit


Sarah Weinman is from St. Louis and earned a master’s degree in art  history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She loves to plan trips and travel.  In her spare time she enjoys photography and writing, and she belongs to a weekly writers’ group. Her blog looks at visual arts in St. Louis, featuring whenever possible Jewish artists or themes.

By Sarah Weinman

I was blown away by the sheer amount of talent, creativity, imagination, and media in the exhibition ArtParty: Young Artists Celebrate the Centennial in the AT&T Gallery of Children’s Art at The Sheldon.  This St. Louis landmark celebrates its 100th birthday in 2012 and invited local students to create art inspired by their experiences there.  Below, I discuss four artworks that especially fascinated me.

Twelfth-grader Nicole D’Souza’s digital photograph Molten Tapestry is a colorful medley of stylized, cartoon-like musical instruments: bright yellow, red, and blue guitars and a dark blue microphone.  Heavy black outlines around each instrument evoke a stained-glass window.  I noticed a cubist element in the slight fragmentation of the guitars into geometric shapes.

New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

Emily Cunningham, a ninth-grader, created My road to success! with canvas and cardboard.  The approximately 4’ x 3’ piece has a bright-orange background on which a cello, saxophone, piano keys, and long curved trumpet cavort.  The artist painted the gold trumpet directly on the canvas but cut the brown cello and mustard sax from cardboard and attached them to the canvas, overlaying the trumpet.  Out of the saxophone’s horn meanders a black-and-white painted staff.  The cardboard piano keys wind in a long S-curve over the rest of the instruments.  Cunningham’s sharp color scheme and wonderful use of cardboard, which literally lifts the music off the canvas, combine to form a great composition with organic, interwoven forms.

Jake at The Sheldon, a photograph by twelfth-grader Kimberly Bonsignore, depicts a dark-haired teenager reclining in a circular window edged with brick.  Jake stares at the viewer, wearing a bright-blue shirt which contrasts well with the earth tones in the image.  Light from the window illuminates the right half of Jake’s face, leaving the left half in shadow.  There’s a quiet, introspective, slightly mysterious quality to the photograph.  The curve of the window complements the square buildings in the background, as well as the rectangular photograph.

The most striking piece in the show, in my opinion, is eight-year-old Quinn Cage’s pastel-on- paper piece Untitled.  Four rows of black-and-white and rainbow piano keys represent steps that lead up to The Sheldon at the top of the page.  A white column stands on either side of the four steps, and two more columns flank The Sheldon’s entrance.  Two ribbons, green and blue, encircle the lower right and upper right columns, proclaiming “100th Anniversary.”  The concept, perspective, and overall execution of this piece are impressive. 

ArtParty: Young Artists Celebrate the Centennial is on view at The Sheldon through February 9.  The Sheldon is located at 3648 Washington Blvd. in Grand Center.  For more information, call 314-533-9900 or visit