About Town in St. Louis: Orchids, Empowerment for the Black Community, and abstract art
Photo from www.1920s-fashions.co.uk/reddress.htm
I mention the racial demographics of these three events to point out the segregated nature (still!) of St. Louis life, especially social life.
ORCHIDS AT THE MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN.Friday night at the Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show, member night...through March 15, 2009. "Henry's Garden" features 800 orchids from one of the world’s premier Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show collections. This was a white density event, mostly Boomers such as myself.
EMPOWERMENT TRAINING AT THE BLACK PAGES OFFICE Saturday from 9 a.m. into evening at the Black Pages Office (333 NORTH BEAUMONT STREET, 63103, 314-531-7300) where Howard Denson gave us and EMPOWERMENT TRAINING, based on three pieces of his writing and 40 years of study and thinking. An intimate group read three readings: "Listen to the Ancestors," "The Transformational Agenda", and "Empowerment is the Imperative". This course is an offering from Howard's heart, free of charge, and includes lunch!
This 10 hour workshop reflects Howard's 40 year struggle of what’s going on with black folks and exactly how to heal. Folks of various races, ages, professions or lack thereof have taken the training which addresses the need to look squarely at the mental residual effects of slavery on the black (and by extension the white) communities. Howard has mapped out a complex but clear argument--a jigsaw puzzle, really, that all fits seamlessly together with impeccable logic. I admire his work enormously and have since before my move to St. Louis 18 months ago.
Howard is an art collector, focusing on African and African-American art. The atmosphere in the Black Pages offices created by the arrangement of his collection provides an enveloping embrace for this comprehensive training. This, of course, is a black density event, but could easily accommodate more diversity, as noted above.
CRUSH GALA AT THE CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM. Gedi Sibony ("My Arms Are Tied Behind My Other Arms") and Bruce Naumen's ("Dead Shot Dan") work occupy the main galleries.
"Chic art deco meets Hollywood romance at the Contemporary’s Crush affair. Step into the speakeasy-style hot spot for the first-ever fundraiser hosted by the Contemporary Council, a group dedicated to supporting the museum and its mission. The evening featured an eclectic mix of music, a silent auction featuring art from St. Louis’ own fabulous art scene, indulgences for you or your Crush, and more than a few tantalizing surprises. Want to set-up a perfect night of romance? Check out the “secret crush package” for you and yours."
My favorite parts of the evening? Aphrodisiac inspired hors d’oeuvres set out on a bedstead with pillows, the kissing booth which had a slow start but gained on it, and an oral storytelling project on your secret crush.
This is a young, mostly white event marked by a distinct aura of "cool" as are the art exhibits. I fervently hope that passion will make it's return in the upcoming generation.
Tagged as: African American art collectors, African art collections, Black Community Empowerment, Contemporary Art Museum, Crush Gala, Empowerment Training, Gedi Sibony, Gen X cool, Howard Denson, institional fundraising, Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show, St. Louis social life segregation, The Black Pages