Art, aside from serving as a means of catharsis for its creator, has benefits for the observer as well. Not only can it present vastly different means of viewing the world, it can bring people together to discuss values both aesthetic and social. Such is the intention of St. Louis Community College-Forest Park's sixth annual City ArtFest. Spokesperson Evann Richards elaborates: "Being the only metropolitan campus of the community college, we like to take some time during the year to interact with the community. The art department is a very active part of the campus and, working in conjunction with the mass communications department and the music department, we pick a week every spring where we bring in outside artists coordinated with a play and an exhibit. We have speakers come in, we have performances, we have recitals, and we try and cram as much art stuff into a week as we can, make it special for the students. Make them more aware of the community artists and the community more aware of our artists."
The aforementioned play is Archibald MacLeish's J.B. , which will be performed by a mixed group of students and community actors several times during the 'Fest -- from Thursday, April 1, through Sunday, April 4, and again from Friday, April 9, through Sunday, April 11 (at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sundays; $2 to $4 for non-students). Delivered in verse and set in modern times, J.B. is a retelling of the biblical story of Job and should certainly get people talking about the age-old problem of evil.
Speaking of talking, the City ArtFest has two speakers' series. "We have one called 'Beyond the Printed Page,' which is a series of speakers who are in unusual graphic and art careers other than just your typical brochure and poster designer," says Richards. "It shows students and other interested people the different types of careers you can get into in a wide range of areas." "Beyond the Printed Page" features Rob Weaver, who is a set designer; Brian White, a video/photo illustrator; and Scott Matthews, a cartoonist. For the other speakers' series, painters Mario Carlos, Lon Brauer, Terrell Carter and Robert Ketchens present slide shows of their work and discuss their methods and their motivations -- as well as topics such as "The Art of Political Freedom."
The art of music will be well represented at the 'Fest, with the Hirsch/ Lim/Nacy trio performing at noon on Thursday, April 1, faculty member-composer Jim Hegarty and guest musicians performing a program inspired by J.B. at noon on Wednesday, April 7, and student recitals throughout the week.
In its breadth and scope, the City ArtFest serves to show just how vibrant the St. Louis art community is and to explore the role the St. Louis Community College plays in developing and presenting that community.