Reviewing an art show is usually a fairly simple matter. Dicuss the artwork presented, quote your discussion with the artist, mention where the show was held, and how long the work will be on display, and you're done. NOT quite so simple in a discussion of the "Inspired Art" show, held Saturday night, March 20th, at the Belas Artes Cultural Center and Art Gallery. It's difficult to know where to begin, with so many things to praise!
The logical starting point would be with the organization responsible for the show. "America Scores" is, according to their bio in the show pamphlet, is "a unique, comprehensive youth development program which uses the tools of poetry, soccer, creative expression, and service-learning to equip and inspire St. Louis youth to lead healthy lifestyles, become engaged students, adn grow into leaders for their school and communities." If one can judge by the poetry which served as the focus of Saturday night's show, the organization is a success!
Which, of coure, leads us to the poetry, and the poets who created it. Twenty poems were written by elementary schools students, exploring topics from community involvement, to isolation, to discussions of colors, to relationships, all presented with a depth that would be gratifying coming from an established poet, but are simply astonishing when created by school children. The poetry can be found here, http://www.inspiredartstlouis.org./the-poetry and is well worth a look.
The poetry leads us into the artwork it inspired. Over a dozen local artists took on the challenge of "realizing" the poems in tangible forms. The variety and scope of the artwork presented gives testament to how evocative the poems are. Painting, photography, "found item" sculpture, fabric art, and others were represented in the show. One of the most fascinating aspects of the show occured when more than one artist had chosen the same poem for inspiration. There were, for example, three different representations of the poem "Blue," and it was wonderful to see the very different, but equally valid, interpretations of the same words.
Finally, this review would be incomplete without a mention of the venue in which it was held. The Belas Artes Cultural Center and Art Gallery provided not only a multi-media presentation of the activities sponsored by America Scores, and the space for showcasing the artwork, but is a work of art in it's own right. Sections of the venue have been set up as "scenes," such as an "Oriental-inspired" area, a gas fireplace with an amazing mosaic of flames as its background, an upper level room which seems to invite you to sit and relax, and a space that seems to have been imported from a Maharaja's harem. Belas Artes is a very unique space. For more information, their website is located at http://www.belas-artes.net/