Inside Art Glass Array’s warm studio, beginners learn basic processes and techniques to cut and melt glass, creating a spread of unique items, including platters, bowls, and wall hangings. Classes in wire-wrapping and dichroic block layering teach skills that can yield beautiful pendants, and advanced classes let students take their craft to the next level by creating matching sets of dishes or sandblasting glass. Students can display their works at the studio’s gallery, which saves refrigerators the burden of having bowls and pendants hot-glued to their doors.
Fire. Hammers. A pottery wheel. Some of humanity?s most elemental and primitive tools, yet into the 21st century they remain. And Craft Alliance Program Director Susan Donahue Yates attests that they?re some of the coolest. With each season?s catalog of classes, some of the most popular, according to Yates, let students play with fire, hammer metal into jewelry, or shape a lump of clay into something as fundamentally beautiful as a baby seal mimicking the Mona Lisa?s wry smirk.
At Craft Alliance, the focus is art in all its forms. Whether the tool is the raw flame fusing cut copper or a Mac loaded with Photoshop image-editing software, the intention to inspire and to create remains the same. Its two locations schedule seasonal terms with four- to six-week classes, as well as intensive workshops and children?s classes. Guiding each student along his or her adventure, skilled faculty instruct from experience. Most are working artists who exhibit their work and who have reaped their experience from the trenches of the art world.
Craft Alliance is not just empowering people with knowledge; they are also helping people make mugs, bowls, wooden spinning tops, rings, rugs, and digital photo albums. Many of these things are practical and serve a functional purpose. But many do not?they?re just beautiful things, like vestigial tails. A good number of these pieces are created by hand and are meant to remind us, as Yates remarked, that everyone can do something different from their everyday, workaday lives by adding beauty to a world that truly needs it.
The student and faculty artists backbone the Craft Alliance community, which in 2014 celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Grand Center location represents a regeneration of an arts district already pillared by the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Powell Symphony Hall, and St. Louis University.
Studio Altius’s owner, photographer David J. Cerven, drew on his background in theater to create a new approach to portraiture. Like directors and actors, or producers and theater critics who owe them a favor, Cerven’s photographers and clients work collaboratively to create defining moments. Along with fellow photographer Shawna Ventimiglia's background in fashion design, Cerven creates personal, compelling images of children and families, high-school seniors, brides, and couples, as well as professional headshots and sexy boudoir images. Clients can pose in either his 3,000-square-foot studio or outside the studio in a picturesque outdoor setting. In addition to working with clients, Cerven teaches his methods to other photographers in portraiture workshops and classes, and maintains an on-site art gallery.
Founded in 1840, McCaughen & Burr is one of the oldest continuously operating galleries west of the Mississippi River, and it specializes in the framing, restoration, and sale of artwork. The gallery’s expert framers work primarily in presenting fine art but can also tastefully imprison diplomas, wedding invitations, and whichever family mementos you’ve decided to hide in acquaintances' attics to confuse their descendants. Fees depend on the size of the piece and the type of frame, generally ranging from under $100 for small pieces of artwork and diplomas to around $300 for larger items such as sports memorabilia.
An award-winning artist, Denninger's artistic spark was ignited after attending a particularly dreary exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The joyless displays fueled the positive painter to fill the world with inspirational imagery. Denninger's nature-scapes are the visual equivalent of a foot rub at the end of a long day of work: tiny blooms poke out of clouds, birds soar through the skies, and pretty streams peek out from hard rocks. Larger-sized wall coverings average $20 for an 8x10 and $75 for a 12x18. Upgraded options such as framing and signed prints vary from piece to piece. Those preferring a more-flippable option can invest in one of Denninger's limited-edition inspirational books for $75. To update your interiors without leaving them, apply a portion of today's Groupon to shipping (parcel shipping starts at $5.15 for a 5x7 print; shipping costs depend on the weight of the art and whether it's parcel, priority, or express mail).