Our Guide to the Arts This Summer in St. Louis

Inspiration feels a step closer with weather this pleasant. Featuring internationally acclaimed exhibition openings, hit main-stage theater productions and the relaunch of a local architectural favorite—and so, so much more—you won’t want to miss any of these St. Louis summer arts events.

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Atrium Gallery
Atrium Gallery brims with inspirational art, featuring a variety of paintings and sculptures by distinguished artists with international acclaim. This spring, the gallery’s exhibition, “Judy Pfaff: New Prints,” features pieces inspired by the artist’s recent journey through India. The collection highlights Pfaff’s signature layering process, inventive lines, and masterful coloring. Running now through June 2, these stunning, large-scale pieces are a must-see. The gallery will next show it’s summer exhibition, “What’s New,” debuting a number of exciting current works from several of Atrium’s most celebrated artists.

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Center of Creative Arts (COCA)
Join the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) this June as they celebrate “A Groundbreaking Week,” the completion of renovations—and the beginning of a transformative expansion—to its historic building originally designed by architect Erich Mendelsohn in 1950 and the result of the $40-million Create Our Future Campaign. The week includes a presentation from Executive Director of Stanford design program and co-author of “Designing Your Life” Bill Burnett on Wednesday, June 6, which serves as the new Staenberg Performance Lab’s inaugural event. All attendees are invited to a Community Open House on Saturday, June 9, for lunch and to experience’s COCA’s newly renovated spaces.

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Dance St. Louis
Dance St. Louis closes its 2017-2018 season with one of the region’s must-see festivals, SPRING TO DANCE, which returns for its 11th year on Memorial Day weekend. The vibrant festival brings together 25 professional dance companies from across the country to perform everything from ballet and contemporary to modern dance, flamenco, hip-hop and more, with a distinct, dynamic program each night. Don’t miss the Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, Project 44, Wewolf and many more. The event will be May 25 and 26 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

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Opera Theatre Saint Louis (OSTL)
This year, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL) features acclaimed mezzo-soprano and St. Louis native Jennifer Johnson Cano, who returns to St. Louis after giving over 100 performances at the Metropolitan Opera. Cano inhabits the titular role of Orfeo in one of Opera Theatre’s main-stage productions this season, “Orfeo & Euridice, ” a classic love story featuring a special collaboration with The Big Muddy Dance Company. Audiences will also have the opportunity to meet Cano after each of the six performances between June 9 and June 23, 2018. Purchase tickets now at ExperienceOpera.org.

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Amy Feldman, “Sooty Sweat” 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 79 x 79″.

Philip Slein Gallery
Opened in 2003, Philip Slein Gallery is a staple of the art-and-culture experience in the Central West End, one of St. Louis’ most celebrated neighborhoods. The gallery represents some of the most acclaimed emerging and established artists working today, and the latest show, “Improvisations and Premeditations,” celebrates the work of nine abstract artists in particular. Each work opens up viewers to the limitless possibilities in the world of non-objective art. Unrestrained by the three-dimensional world, it’s a genre that allows for visual improvisation, creating a truly stunning result.

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Mona Hatoum, “Cells” 2014. Zinc-plated steel and hand-blown glass 53 1/2 x 47 3/4 x 25 3/4 inches (136 x 121 x 65.5 cm).

Pulitzer Arts Foundation
St. Louis’ Pulitzer Arts Foundation offers direct experiences with historic and contemporary art from around the world, creating space for the kind of contemplation and exchange that brings people together. This spring, the Pulitzer presents “Mona Hatoum: Terra Infirma,” an exhibition featuring more than 30 sculptures and installations by this critically acclaimed artist. Hatoum creates installations and sculptures that capitalize on unexpected combinations and evoke a range of conflicting emotions—from fear and fascination, to attraction and revulsion. The exhibition will be on view April 6-Aug. 11, 2018. Admission is free, and free parking is available.

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The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
The Repertory Theatre is the premier place for live, professional theater in St. Louis. Each season at The Rep features an eclectic blend of theater classics and cutting-edge new shows, brought to life by a world-class team of performers and artisans. Rep productions are beloved for their intimacy, with no seat more than 20 rows from the stage. The theatre’s upcoming season includes productions of “Evita,” “A Christmas Story” and smash Broadway hit “The Play That Goes Wrong.”

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St. Louis Water Gardening Society
Established in 1990, St. Louis Water Garden Society (SLWGS) opens up its beautiful sanctuaries to the public on Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24, from 9-5 p.m., during its 18th annual pond and water garden tour, Pond-O-Rama. Featuring 33 of the area’s premier water gardens, elaborate installations and exotic fish, Pond-O-Rama provides the funding that helps SLWGS maintain the reflecting pools in front of the Jewel Box in Forest Park. Two-day-access tickets to the self-guided tour for those above 18 years of age can be purchased for $15—via phone, at 314-995-2988, or by visiting the SLWGS website—and include SLWGS membership through the end of the year.

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Union Avenue Opera
Union Avenue Opera returns for its 24th season on July 6, with a traditional take of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comedic opera “H.M.S. Pinafore,” with additional performances following on July 7, 13 and 14. The Opera’s season continues with Giuseppe Verdi’s dramatic Italian opera “Nabucco” on July 27, 28 and August 3 and 4, before climaxing with performances of Kurt Weill’s transformative “Lost In The Stars,” a provocative work regarding the weighty moral issues of racism and injustice—issues arguably more relevant in St. Louis now than ever before—on Aug. 17, 18, 24 and 25. All performances begin at 8 p.m. For tickets, call 314-361-2881.

This post has been brought to you in part by the mentioned organizations. Thank you for supporting the companies that keep ALIVE growing. Photos courtesy of those listed.

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