Bob Cassilly, the artist whose seemingly impossible visions included the City Museum, died yesterday while working on his most ambitious creation: Cementland. For a look at his life, his work and his famously enormous personality, read Aimee Levitt's obituary on Daily RFT.
Cassilly's work inspired St. Louisans, and the music community in particular, in many ways. The City Museum hosted music events ranging in scope from KDHX's Midwest Mayhem, which yearly attracts thousands of people and over a dozen bands, to Bill Streeter's Lo-Fi St. Louis video series, which have frequently been set in the ever-expanding nooks and crannies of the museum. And Cassilly's spirit, which was impossible to mistake even if you did nothing more than glance at the City Museum, means even more to people creating things in St. Louis. "The City Museum represents so many different things. It's impossible to completely express what the artistic community has lost with Bob's demise," says Tef Poe. "He realized the importance of completely dedicating yourself to the art. We learn from him the beauty of giving our vision to others and sharing our talents with the world."
Sleepy Kitty's Evan Sult and Paige Brubeck had their commitment ceremony in the City Museum's Whale Room. "I can honestly say that City Museum was a giant piece of what brought us from Chicago to St. Louis. The spirit of discovery and joy, the ethos of cultural and physical recycling, the sense of sustained, applied effort toward a personally rewarding project that others could partake of..." says Sult. "There's no better monument to the values that Paige and I appreciate than that giant floating castle in the middle of St. Louis.
"The daring, the skill, the trust, the utility, the beauty, the cleverness, the lightheartedness, the danger, the constant updating, the effort, the history, the audacity, the bravery and hard-headedness, the sheer scale of the thing: what more could you ask from one man and his crew? And if they could do that here, it felt like anything could be done here."
Musicians find parallel inspiration for their own work in the defiant dreams of Cassilly. "He was clearly an adult who still believed in fantasy," says Peach's Melissa Roberts. "No matter how old we get, musicians dream the impossible. [Cassilly] made the world into a giant playground, for himself and for all of us"
"In St. Louis, the artistic community has decided to spawn a revolution based on bringing people together. All too often we fear each other when in reality we have a lot in common and are all one human family," says Tef. "I think Bob Cassilly understood this theory better than most."