The seventh annual "City-Wide Open Studios" previewed with a party from 6:00p.m.-9:00p.m. on Tuesday at C.A.M. (Contemporary Art Museum). The event was free with a cash bar and many of the artists were present.
More than 150 works were hung gallery-style on the white walls. They included photography, oils, acrylics, pencil/charcoal drawings, and sculpture, but were limited in size to 17" x 20".
C.A.M. should be applauded for the open studios tour and concept, but ashamed of how they treated the presenting artists. The works were poorly lit. The labels were too small or too high or too low to read comfortably.
Arranged across two walls (with a few sculptures on pedestals) the works were difficult to see and there was absolutely no "crowd flow". The concept of a "thumbnail" gallery for an exhibit of this size did not work at all; too much "eye candy" can be overwhelming and confusing.
The "City-Wide Open Studios" tour goes 10:00a.m.-4:00p.m. on Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29. Roughly 1/2 of the artists/studios will be exhibiting on each day.
"Big Shark Bicycle Company" is leading bicycle tours starting at 10:00a.m. each day from C.A.M. There are also bus tours starting each day at noon from C.A.M. at a cost of $20.00/person. You may also download a map from www.camstl.org or pick one up there.
If you are new to the St Louis art scene, a few studios are "must sees". On Saturday, these include Kathy Gormic (figure/fantasy drawing), Philip Hitchcock, Genell Miller in Soulard, Carmelita Nunez (ceramics), and Abraham Mohler (sculptor).
On Sunday, some "must see" studios include Kate King and Sam Davis in the Leather Trade Art Lofts, M.J. Goerke and Jane Linders (both studios in University City on Delmar Blvd), Ellen Jantzen (photography), and Rob Miller (ceramics) and David Ottinger (painting) at Grand Center (as their studios are outside the perimeter of the tour).
With the temperature dropping from triple digits this weekend, get out and see some "cool art" and the spaces wherein artists create. The quality and caliber of art in St Louis has exploded over the past ten years and you will not be disappointed.