5 Artsy Things to Do for Free This Weekend


Learn about St. Louis' coffee roots this weekend at new exhibition at the Missouri History Museum. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR/MCKAY SAVAGE
  • Photo courtesy of Flickr/McKay Savage
  • Learn about St. Louis' coffee roots this weekend at new exhibition at the Missouri History Museum.

If summer is for hedonism, with all-night parties and weekend festivals, fall is for quieter pursuits. Trips to museums, visits to art galleries, treks around town to check out artists' studios and home tours. Celebrate the nip in the air by doing one of this weekend's featured events. Bonus: Not one will cost you a penny. 

1. Hobnob at a Gallery Opening

Back from summer break at last, the Philip Slein Gallery presents a new show highlighting three painters: Ann Pibal, Todd Chilton and Katharine Kuharic. Pibal and Chilton both work in the geometric abstraction style, but each hews an individual path. Pibal favors precise lines and blocks atop deep colorfields, while Chilton draws patterns on his canvas, upon which he layers thick gouts of paint. Kuharic is realist, and she presents new work that revel in the solace offered by nature. The show opens with a free reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, October 2, at Philip Slein Gallery (4735 McPherson Avenue; 314-361-2617 or www.philipsleingallery.com). Ann Pibal, Todd Chilton and Katharine Kuharic remains up through Saturday, October 31, and the gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. — Paul Friswold

2. Catch the Work of a NYC Art World Darling

What do you get when you combine high-concept art with needlepoint pieces found in the aisles of thrift stores? If you're New York-based, St. Louis-born artist Larry Krone, you get the marvelous creations on display in Larry Krone: The Best, Best Everything. Eschewing the idea that artists occupy some vaunted space above the rest of us, Krone brilliantly splices his own work with that of lesser-known artisans. The results have made him a darling of the New York scene and the object of national acclaim; Krone's Look Book, featuring the photography of designer Todd Oldham, comes out at the beginning of December. The Best, Best Everything opens with a free reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, October 2, at the Sheldon art galleries (3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-533-9900 or www.thesheldon.org). The show remains up through Saturday, January 9, 2016, and the gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free. — Brooke Foster

3. Learn About Our St. Louis' Coffee History

We've known a few people who don't like coffee; they prefer soda, inexplicably, or they just don't like/need any sort of caffeinated drink, period. All a mystery to us — we can't imagine a viable existence minus the invigorating buzz of a cuppa joe. Coffee is king. If you feel the same way, get to the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org) for a joint new exhibit, Coffee: the World in Your Cup and St. Louis in Your Cup. Coffee: the World in Your Cup was conceived by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle; it's a traveling exhibition that delves into coffee's decisive international impact on trade, environment, culinary patterns and culture. The St. Louis portion of the exhibit assumes the majority of the show space and illuminates our city's prominent (but little-known) role as both a coffee-loving mecca and a key producer of the bracing beverage. Both exhibits remain on display daily through Sunday, January 3, 2016. Admission is free. — Alex Weir

4. Get Lit (with Literature, That Is)

Calling all bibliophiles: Lit in the Lou returns for another large-scale celebration of reading (in general) and literary life in St. Louis (in particular). Partake in author-led panel discussions about books that address income inequality and race issues, among other important topics. Throughout the day, hear live music, enjoy tasty food, and join with other literary-minded St. Louisans who seek to understand the human condition through the written word. Confirmed attending authors include DuEwa Frazier, Jane Ellen Ibur and Aaron Williams. Lit in the Lou takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday (October 3 and 4) at the Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Education Center (737 Kingsland Avenue, University City; 314-363-4546 or stllit.blogspot.com). Admission is free. — Brooke Foster

5. Take a Studio Tour or Two

To visit an artist's studio is to see into the soul of his or her work. The studio is a highly personal space, where concepts are explored, divulged, rejected, laid bare and fulfilled; it tells you a lot about an artist and the creative process, giving invaluable perspective and a fair amount of insight into his or her artistic point of view. To get a whole heap-load of insight, take part in Open Studios STL, a unique opportunity organized by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.camstl.org). During this weekend-long event, you can explore the vast amount of work being created in our fair city, and have a free look-see at the creative compounds of more than 200 local artists — east of Grand Boulevard on Saturday and west of Grand Boulevard on Sunday (October 3 and 4). Tours may be self-guided from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, but there are options for guided group tours as well. — Alison Sieloff

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