2017 Public Arts Series answers the question “What is Mound 28?”

April 22, 2017

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UPDATE:  The April 29 reception noted in the article below has been postponed because of the rain.  The new date will be Saturday, May 6, from 1 to 3 p.m.

What is Mound 28? It’s the title of this year’s Public Arts project, selected for the 2017 Public Arts series which is scheduled to open April 29 on the south side of Heman Park along Vernon Avenue.  An on-site reception is open to the public that day from 1 to 3 p.m.

The 31st annual collaboration between the Municipal Commission on Arts & Letters of University City and Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, this year’s project was the creation of four university students to fit the theme of “Uncommon Common Grounds.”

Mound 28 is an earthworks sculpture — an artwork created from natural elements in the landscape — and is designed to reimagine that side of Heman park as a “river of earth” according to the students, and reflects on University City’s relationship with the River Des Peres. They point out that there were once 27 mounds in the St. Louis area and conceived this piece as a contemporary 28th mound.

Unlike recent years where individual artists put together proposals, the 2017 project was designed by a group who will also take charge of its installation. This team — consisting of Washington University students Jenn Brown, Erin Darnauer, Fin Roy-Nyline, and Jon Young — first got approval for their proposals from the University City Parks Commission before getting final approval from the Arts & Letters Commission.

Some of the public art project’s past pieces, like Rain Man by the Post Office, have become icons of the University City landscape. Funding for the project is made possible in part by the generosity of the Marvin Levy Family, as well as the City of University City.

Send questions on the program to the commission by email, to ucityartsandletters@gmail.com.

Award-winning local children’s author Patricia McKissack passes away

April 11, 2017

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The Municipal Commission on Arts and Letters of University City is sad to hear that famed local author Patricia McKissack passed away this last weekend. Among the author’s many honors was the 2016 Tradition of Literary Excellence Award, presented to her just last October at the Gala Opening Event of the Lit in the Lou festival in our city hall. More information on her life and works can be found in the obituary at the link below.

2017 Returning Artist Dr. Stan Ford honored February 22 at public reception in UCHS

February 16, 2017

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The Commission is pleased to present University City High School graduate and internationally respected concert pianist Dr. Stan Ford as our 2017 Returning Artist.   The public is invited to attend a special reception to honor him at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22 in University City High School, 7401 Balson Avenue.

A 1975 graduate, he was inducted into the University City High School Hall of Fame in 2000. Dr. Ford is a professor of music at the Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He holds degrees in music performance and education, piano pedagogy and chamber music and balances a very busy teaching schedule with solo and chamber music concerts throughout Europe, North and South America and parts of Asia.

Dr. Ford will work with school children through the week of the reception and encourage them to investigate careers in the arts.

Since 1994, the Returning Artist program annually features artistically renowned graduates of University City High School who return to share their fields of work.

Returning Artist Marlon West honored by St. Louis International Film Forum

October 18, 2016

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The Municipal Commission on Arts and Letters of University City congratulates animator Marlon West, UCHS alum, who will receive the 2016 St. Louis International Film Festival’s Cinema St. Louis Award for his achievements in animation. West has worked on over a dozen animated features for Disney, including “The Lion King,” “Mulan,” and “Frozen.”

He was also our first participant in the Returning Artist Program, in 1994, which features artistically renowned graduates of University City High School who return to the school system to share their fields of work with students.

More information on his latest honor can be found at the film festival’s website, http://www.cinemastlouis.org/sliff/2016/behind-scenes-of-disneys-moana

Literary festival returns October 21

October 17, 2016

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Children’s author Patricia McKissack has been chosen as the recipient of the 2016 Tradition of Literary Excellence Award which will be presented at the Gala Opening Event of the Lit in the Lou festival, 7 p.m. October 21 at University City Hall’s fifth floor.

The award, which was created in 2014 and is funded by the Municipal Commission of Arts & Letters of University City, is given “to honor the work of a living local author whose literary achievement has won national and international acclaim and, in so doing, has contributed to the distinction of the St. Louis area, upholding its tradition as a center of literary excellence.”  Previous recipients of the award were poet Jane O. Wayne in 2015 and author William Gass in 2014.

McKissack, a former teacher and editor of children’s books, began her full-time professional writing career in the early eighties in partnership with her late husband Frederick, with whom she wrote more than 100 children’s books. Among her most well-known works are: Goin’ Someplace Special, a Coretta Scott King Award winner; The Honest-to-Goodness Truth; Let My People Go, recipient of the NAACP Image Award; The Dark-Thirty, a Newbery Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award winner; and Mirandy and Brother Wind, recipient of the Caldecott Medal and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

Tickets to the gala are $25 on line with brownpapertickets.com or at the door. Food and drink and included. Parking is on the west rear of the building along with handicap parking and entrance. Additional parking is at the University City Library just east of city hall.

On Saturday, October 22, activities will include a children’s book festival during the day, set at Jackson Park Elementary School in U. City, and an evening literary pub crawl for adults. The Kids’ Book Fest, with activities for both elementary school age children and teens, is free and open to the public. It will feature visiting authors Marc Brown (creator and illustrator of the PBS character, Arthur the Aardvark) and Jacqueline Woodson (award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming), as well as a host of beloved children’s authors who live and work in St. Louis. The Literary Pub Crawl—a ticketed event—boasts venues in and around the U. City Loop where adults can snack and sip while savoring the work of our region’s favorite authors.

For more details about Lit in the Lou, or to support Lit in the Lou with a financial donation, visit http://www.literarystl.com.

Starlight Concert returns to Heman Park for 2016

June 3, 2016

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The annual Starlight Concert series returns Monday, June 6 in Heman Park.  This long-running favorite, sponsored by the Municipal Commission on Arts & Letters of University City, features free weekly concerts by local musicians.

This year’s schedule:

June 6 – Brock Walker’s Earth, Wind and Fire Tribute Band

June 20 – Brian Owens

June 27 – Rhoda G

July 11 – AJSR/Mother’s Children

July 18 – Jeff Hardin

July 25 – Theo Peoples

August 1 – Monya

August 8 – Denise Thimes

August 15 – Jeremiah Allen’s Tribute to Stevie Wonder

Each concert runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday evenings, and takes place at the concert stage near the Heman Park entrance at Midland and Shaftesbury.  Concessions are usually available at the show, sold by the University City PTO.

Questions about the event may be sent to the commission, at ucityartsandletters@gmail.com.

Come celebrate 30 years of Public Art in U City!

March 24, 2016

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This year marks the 30th anniversary of University City’s partnership with Washington University—the longest-running community/university public art series in the nation. Over the years, students have placed nearly 200 temporary public works of art in the community, ranging from sculpture to performance pieces.

A celebration of this milestone will be held at the opening reception for this year’s new art, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 17, in University City’s City Hall, 6801 Delmar Boulevard.

The theme for this year is “Boundary”, and students Hannah Blumer, Dante Migone-Ojeda, Daniel Shieh, and Jessica Sun, explored divides both tangible and intangible within the University City community in their pieces.

Light refreshments will be served and student models will be on display. A tour on foot of the student works will leave City Hall at 3 p.m.

Questions may be sent to the Arts & Letters Commission, at ucityartsandletters@gmail.com.

Award-winning photographer Wiley Price honored as 2016 Returning Artist, reception February 25

February 20, 2016
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(Photo Courtesy Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame)

Wiley Price, the award-winning photojournalist for the St. Louis American, has been chosen as the 2016 Returning Artist by the Municipal Commission on Arts and Letters for University City.

The Returning Artist Program brings artistically renowned University City High School graduates to work with students and encourage them to investigate careers in the arts.

Mr. Price will be honored at a reception on Thursday, February 25 at 7 p.m. in the McNair Board Room, 8136 Groby Road. The public is invited to attend.

A 1975 graduate of University City High School, Price has photographed every president since Jimmy Carter, celebrities, pro athletes, generals, artists and local, everyday life in memorable ways. In addition to the St. Louis American, his photos have appeared in the Washington Post, Ebony magazine, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Kansas City Star and the Detroit Free Press. In 2012 he was inducted into the Missouri  Photojournalist Hall of Fame and was named one of the NAACP’s 100 most inspiring St. Louisans.

Samples of his work are on display at the Missouri Photojournalist Hall of Fame website.

Past returning artists have included visual artists, glassblowers, writers, filmmakers, musicians, actors, singers and dancers.

Questions about the program may be sent to the commission via email,  ucityartsandletters@gmail.com.

30th annual Public Art Series previewed in U City Library gallery, through February 29

February 20, 2016

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A preview of the 2016 Public Art Series is now on display in the University City Public Library Gallery, through February 29.  A public reception hosted by the artists will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, February 26 in the gallery.

This year signifies the 30th anniversary of the series partnership between Washington University and University City, which is the longest-running community/university public art series in the nation. Over the years, students have produced nearly 200 temporary public works of art around the community, ranging from sculpture to performance pieces.

Students in the fall 2015 course Public Practice: Art Practice (Realized Actions), taught by senior lecturer Noah Kirby, learned about the historical, theoretical, and practical considerations for creating artwork in relation to the material and social conditions of public space. They also developed proposals for this year’s series that responded to the theme of Boundary, which they presented to the University City Commission on Arts & Letters at the end of the semester.

The following winning projects will be constructed, installed, and unveiled in the spring:

Light Cycle by Hannah Blumer

Mending Wall by Dante Migone-Ojeda

Conversation Tubes by Daniel Shieh

Sandbox by Jessica Sun

The opening celebration for the series, featuring presentations and other activities, will take place from 2-4p April 17 at City Hall in University City.

Funding for University City Public Art is made possible in part by the generosity of the Marvin Levy Family, the Regional Arts Commission, and the City of University City.

Lit in the Lou 2015 – October 2 to 4

September 27, 2015

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Poet Jane O. Wayne has been chosen as the recipient of the 2015 Tradition of Literary Excellence Award which will be presented at the Gala Opening Event of the Lit in the Lou festival, 7 p.m. October 2 at University City Hall’s fifth floor.

The award, which was created in 2014 and is funded by the Municipal Commission of Arts & Letters of University City, is given “to honor the work of a living local author whose literary achievement has won national and international acclaim and, in so doing, has contributed to the distinction of the St. Louis area, upholding its tradition as a center of literary excellence.”

Jane O. Wayne is one of St. Louis’s best known poets. Her poetry collections include Looking Both Ways (University of Missouri Press, 1985), which received the Devins Award for Poetry; A Strange Heart(Helicon Nine Editions, 1996), recipient of the Marianne Moore Poetry Prize and the Society of Midland Authors Award; From the Night Album (Pecan Grove Press, 2007); and The Other Place You Live(Mayapple Press, 2010). Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, among them The Iowa Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Ploughshares, Boulevard, and River Styx. Wayne edited the anthology Poetry to Make You Smile(Spruce, 2014). She has taught creative writing at Webster University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Tickets to the gala are $25 on line with brownpapertickets.com or at the door. Food and drink and included. Parking is on the west rear of the building along with handicap parking and entrance. Additional parking is at the University City Library just east of city hall.

The Lit in the Lou festival runs from October 2 to 4 in the Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Center at 737 Kingsland Avenue and will explore the theme “Literature In(Forms) our Lives: Race, Religion, Gender and Inequality.”

Four guest authors will present, supported by multiple panels of local and regional authors addressing issues through poetry, plays, fiction, comics, memoir and more.

Admission is free.  There will be coffee and books on sale and an auction of signed t-shirts.   An after party (with an open mic option) is scheduled Sunday, October 4 at 7 p.m. in the Eclipse Restaurant and Bar at the Moonrise Hotel.  Your donation and admission to the party go to the Ready Readers organization.

Vendor space is only $45 for a table and signage.  Authors, poets, artists are welcome and should contact the consortium for more information by calling 314.447.3888.

A partial list of local writers participating this year includes:
Caroline Frederickson – Under the Bus
Jose Faus – Primera Pagina
(Latino Writers Collective)
DuEwa Frazier – Deanne in the Middle;
Check the Rhyme

Christi Griffin – Incarcerations in Black and White
Jane Ellen Ibur – Both Wings Flappin’, Still Not Flyin’
Maryam Karshani
Carol Swartout Klein – Painting for Peace
Miguel Morales – Primera Pagina
(Latino Writers Collective)
Terry Mulligan – Sugar Hill; Afterlife in Harlem
Margaret O’Gorman – Living True
Eugene Redmond – Arkansippi Memwars
MK Stallings
Aaron Williams – Poetry on Our Terms
John Wright – Ethnic St. Louis