See, Hear, Feel, Experience: A St. Louis Summer Guide to the Arts

 In Guide, Sponsored

Whether you prefer your St. Louis summertime entertainment outdoors or in air conditioned comfort, options abound. These arts experiences across the metro region offer something for every interest, from visual arts to theater performances to live music.

City of Clayton
Enjoy an elegant evening featuring music and wine on Saturday, June 8, from 5-10 p.m. on Carondelet Plaza in downtown Clayton at this year’s Clayton Music & Wine Festival. Regional wineries, including Augusta and Montelle, Balducci Vineyards, Edg-Clif Vineyards and Noboleis Vineyards, will be serving guests delicious wines all evening. Local Clayton restaurants, including Herbie’s, Kingside Diner, Clementine’s Creamery and more will dine guests with some of their most popular menu items. This year’s musical performance lineup includes The Usual Suspects, Midnight Piano Band and, returning for the second year, Kim Massie. VIP Experience ticket packages are also available, new for the 2019 festival.

City of Maplewood
Take a casual stroll through the streets and shops of Historic Downtown Maplewood on Friday, July 12 from 6-11 p.m. as you enjoy the sights and sounds of Let Them Eat Art. Featuring live art demonstrations and live music from regional artists, kids’ activities and food and drink from Maplewood’s award-winning food purveyors, Let Them Eat Art serves as a celebration of the arts and as whimsical tribute to Bastille Day. There will be plenty of shopping along the way, too: Maplewood retailers will have extended hours and will offer special event-only promotions.


Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
This summer, CAM presents the first major museum survey of Paul Mpagi Sepuya, featuring intimate portraits of the artist’s friends, lovers, partners and collaborators, on view May 17-Aug. 18. Sepuya subverts traditional portraiture by way of collage, layering, fragmentation, mirror imagery and the perspective of the black, queer gaze. Also on view, Lawrence Abu Hamdan combines overlapping media to explore the politics of listening in “Earwitness Theatre.” Informed by his acoustic study of the Syrian prison of Saydnaya, where detainees are blindfolded and left in darkness, the exhibition examines crimes that have been heard but not seen.

Laumeier Sculpture Park
As part of its commitment to supporting and showcasing local artists, Laumeier Sculpture Park will present “Carlos Zamora: cART.” The project will commission the Cuban-born, St. Louis-based illustrator and designer to retrofit the Park’s golf carts, which play a pivotal role in how Laumeier staff crisscross the campus, shuttling colleagues and interacting with visitors. Zamora will create three unique artworks by enveloping the carts in printed vinyl wraps, sculptural frameworks and ornamentation inspired by sources such as Cuban car culture, nursery rhymes, history and politics. Visit the Laumeier website to learn more about its summer offerings.

Midwest Salute to the Arts
One of the longest-running art festivals in the Southern Illinois region, the Midwest Salute to the Arts (Aug. 23-Aug. 25) is a three-day outdoor festival held at beautiful Everett Moody Park in the heart of Fairview Heights, Illinois. Featuring works from 100 award-winning artists, a live performance by Rogers & Nienhaus, tasty food, an interactive Children’s Creation Station and Gallery and live art demonstrations by members of local artisan guilds, the festival is fun for the whole family. Just 12 miles east of Downtown St. Louis, this year’s all-new festival layout provides an oasis amidst green space and newly renovated pavilions. Admission and parking are both free.

Missouri History Museum
A poet, a pilot, a president and a painter. Rediscover a Mexican masterpiece. “Flores Mexicanas: A Lindbergh Love Story” opens June 1 at the Missouri History Museum. For the first time in 80 years, see the breathtaking masterpiece, “Flores Mexicanas.” This monumental painting by the “Father of Mexican Modernism,” Alf redo Ramos Martinez, was a wedding present to Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh from the president of Mexico. They were the most famous couple in the world. Examine their love story—how it changed aviation history and brought two countries together.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis
The exciting 2019 season (May 25-June 30) includes three beloved classics—”The Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart, “Rigoletto” by Verdi and “The Coronation of Poppea” by Monteverdi—and a thrilling world premiere, “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” composed by Grammy Award winner Terence Blanchard. Enjoy a pre-show picnic in the beautiful Mesker Gardens, experience world-class performance on the stage of Webster University’s Loretto-Hilton Center and then celebrate with drinks and desserts after the show in the candlelit gardens. Tickets start at just $25. Special Date-Night Packages are also available, including two tickets, ice cream and a bottle of wine for just $115-$145.

Saint Louis Art Museum
Having constant access to a camera can make taking pictures a simple and routine aspect of life, but this has not always been the case. “Poetics of the Everyday: Amateur Photography, 1890-1970,” the new exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum, features more than 100 prints from an extraordinary period of time when portable cameras became affordable and available to millions of enthusiastic new amateur photographers, expanding the boundaries of creative expression in remarkable ways. “Poetics of the Everyday” is on view through Aug. 25.

St. Louis Water Garden Society
Established in 1990, the St. Louis Water Garden Society (SLWGS) opens its beautiful sanctuaries to the public on Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, during its 19th annual pond and water garden tour, Pond-O-Rama. Featuring 20 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 at the entrance of the Jewel Box in Forest Park. Two-day access tickets to the self-guided tour for those over 18 years of age can be purchased for $15 at local garden centers or by visiting the SLWGS website. The SLWGS hotline provides information on all local garden centers for ticket purchase in the metro area. The ticket also includes membership through the end of the year.

Stages St. Louis
Join STAGES St. Louis for its 33rd season! The 2019 lineup features audience favorites “Grease” and “Man of La Mancha,” along with the Midwestern premiere of “The Boy from Oz”—the story of the brilliant composer and performer Peter Allen and his two great loves, Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli. Plus, the annual Family Theatre Series production, Disney’s “101 Dalmatians.” Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale now at or by phone at 314.821.2407.

Union Avenue Opera
Union Avenue Opera opens its 25th anniversary season on July 5 with Bernstein’s “Candide”—a show that is part opera, part musical and entirely irreverent, featuring the return of Christine Brewer as The Old Lady, with additional performances on July 6, 12 and 13. The season continues with Puccini’s Italian operatic blockbuster “La bohème” on July 26-27 and August 2-3, before culminating with the St. Louis premiere of Tom Cipullo’s “Glory Denied,” the gut-wrenching saga of Col. Jim Thompson, America’s longest-held prisoner of war, on August 16-17 and 23-24. All performances begin at 8 p.m. For tickets, call 314.361.2881.

WashU’s Graduate School of Art
The Sam Fox School at Washington University is pleased to present the 2019 MFA in Visual Art Thesis Exhibition at The Luminary, May 10-July 12. Works in various media explore themes such as the politics of race, the role of gender, the poetics of the everyday and utopian/dystopian futures. Featured artists include Sarah Adcock, Greg Bailey, Jen Everett, Sara Ghazi Asadollahi, Hattie Hardt, Elliot Head, Lara Head, Mee Jey, Rachel Kalman, Rachel Lebo, Kevin McCoy, Bryan Page, Hugo Patao, Cora Lind Rozencohn, Janie Stamm, Paula Stevenson and Lingrong Wang.

This guide originally appeared in GUIDED St. Louis: The Grove, available online and at these locations now.

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.

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