5 Reasons You Can’t Miss SLAM’s Grand Opening Celebration

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

As Saint Louis Art Museum prepares to tear off the wrapping paper from its glossy new present—the impressive $160 million East Building—it’s also gearing up to throw one of the biggest parties in the museum’s 134-year history. From ribbon-cuttings and cocktail parties to food trucks and street performances, the celebration has something in store for everyone–including lots and lots of art.

Although there are plenty of reasons you won’t miss the festivities, here are five that are sure to motivate you to don your festival duds this weekend and head to Forest Park for the party.

1. The Ribbon Cutting
Be there to witness SLAM snipping its way into St. Louis history with a ribbon cutting by Museum patrons and civic leaders on Saturday, June 29 at 9:30am. The $162-million raised for the building is the largest fundraising campaign by a cultural institution in St. Louis history–proof that St. Louisans love the city and its cultural icons.

2. The Building
The new East Building—designed by internationally renowned British architect David Chipperfield—adds 80,000 thousand square feet of new exhibit space and 21 new galleries. Truly an engineering marvel, the building’s floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light to stream in, while sporting window shades working in tandem with recessed skylights to automatically adjust the light to ensure it is always optimal. Plus, the shiny new restaurant, snack bar, museum shop and more are guaranteed to impress.

3. The New Exhibits
Two new exhibits will premiere at the grand opening. “Postwar German Art in the Collection” will draw from the museum’s extensive collection and feature works by Max Beckman, Gerhard Richter and other notable artists. “A New View: Contemporary Art,” a new permanent installation, will showcase giants such as Pollock, Rothko, Warhol and others who wrote the new rules of contemporary art. And don’t forget the dynamic sculpture installation, “Stone Sea,” a series of 25 stone arches about 10 feet tall by world-renowned British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.

4. The Outdoor Festivities
The “World of Art” outdoor activities take place on the Museum Campus, East Parking Lot, Art Hill Plaza and Fine Arts Drive Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30. Get in on the hands-on art projects and performances by a plethora of local cultural organizations and arts groups throughout both days and Saturday evening. Or, catch a bite to eat from an array of food trucks and booths serving up culinary delights.

5. The Entertainment
The “World of Art” outdoor festival features an amazing lineup of incredible performances by Dances of India, The Black Rep, Circus Flora, MUNY kids, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, St. Louis Native American Dancers and more throughout opening weekend. Music performances include Jamaica Ray, Nicholas Payton with the Phil Dunlap Quintet, Trombones of the St. Louis Symphony and AfrickyLolo with Diadie Bathily, to name a few.

For more information on SLAM’s Grand Opening Celebration and an outdoor performance schedule, visit the festival page on the SLAM website.

Photo by Alise O’Brien, courtesy of SLAM

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