PHOTO BY ANTHONY SAPONE
She was shot trying to fight her assailant.
An artist, a jewelry maker, a belly dancer. Amy Sprandel, known as Ami Amore’ to most of St. Louis, is all of these things, but most importantly, she’s driven. Driven by her latest project, a tribute to late fiancée, Anthony Sapone, who was murdered outside of their home six months ago.
On the night of March 18, two individuals approached the couple and attempted to rob them outside of their Cherokee apartment. In the confusion, there was a struggle and Sapone was shot trying to fight their assailant. Amore' remembers the events in simpler words. “In the blink of an eye somebody came up to us, they exchange words, got in a scuffle, and he got shot," recalls Amore', who stayed with Sapone as the suspects fled.
After months of unanswered question, two people have been charged with the robbery and shooting. Demario Hunter, 33, and Keombra Auray James, 25, were arrested and charged in federal court with the attempted carjacking that resulted in Sapone's death. James is also facing three weapon charges. "The police department has been incredibly helpful and very kind to me," Amore' says.
Amore’ has been a consistent figure in the community. Sapone was an artist, best known for his photography. He worked with CGI digital artwork and often incorporated his music into his work. In the past few months, his Facebook page has filled with condolences and circulations of CrimeStoppers Tip Hotlines instead of artwork.
Reflecting on the tragic events of last spring, Amore’ opened up about the tragedy on her blog, www.amiamore.com
. “Well, the first 6 weeks I wanted to die,” Amore’ wrote in her first post. As the months went by, she slowly but surely found her footing and the inspiration for her latest show.
“Transcendence — The Art of Ami Amore’ and Anthony Sapone” is the culmination of a journey through love and grief. The show takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, September 13, at the Mad Art Gallery (2727 S. 12th St.; www.madart.com). There is symbolism and meaning for Amore’ in every aspect of the show, even the venue.
“He always said, ‘Oh, I'll never have my stuff up in a gallery’, so I felt it was the best way to honor him,” Amore’ says. The event includes performances from models that worked with Sapone. There will be tight rope walking, belly dancing and artwork available from multiple local artists. Many of the acts will incorporate Sapone’s music and photography, as well as narratives based on writings and letters between the couple. “The final performance is a remix of the [Eurythmics] song ‘Sweet Dreams’, which he finished the night that everything happened,” Amore’ says.
The response from friends and artists has played a big role in making this performance a reality. “I received a lot of support from students and performers...I am thankful for the community,” Amore’ says.
The show was originally meant and planned to be a solo performance when it was conceived months ago, but after the hardship, Amore' decided to create something new. Members of the community stepped up to collaborate in the new vision of the event. For her, as both a performer and a viewer, the goal is the same: To channel the complex and conflicting emotions that have defined her since her fiancé's death into something new. The most important part of the show is how people will leave it.
“I really just want people to get the message to not squander your days away on things that don’t matter. You can take a negative and turn it into a positive.”