The 3 Day Art Crawl: Stores, Galleries and More

| Scene Reporter

Salt of the Earth, an artisan store in St. Louis, hosted an aptly titled “art crawl” recently. Running from Friday through Sunday, the “crawl” involved a self-guided walk around Shrewsbury and Webster Groves, just north of I-44. The focus was “Close to Home,” in which 14 local stores and galleries were showcased in the tour. During its 10-year existence, Salt of the Earth has usually focused on displaying and highlighting the work of artisans from lesser-known, often poorer countries. Mexico, for instance, has had a visible presence in the store. For this opening, however, they are “prospecting in [their] own backyard” and presenting artists from the St. Louis area.

The tour lacks a guide, and one can start anywhere on the path; the map can be downloaded and printed from the Internet. The central hub is the Salt of the Earth store at Gazebo Park, 8150 Big Bend Blvd. At the grand opening of the exhibit in Webster Groves, the artists themselves were present. The reception lasted four hours, 6-10 p.m., with wine and beer available at several locations for those old enough to drink. Several of the stores scattered throughout the areas were designated “Friday Night Hot Spots” and had events to celebrate the opening. On Saturday and Sunday the crawl operated from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and people were seen wandering around the area carrying maps or gazing intently at Google Maps on their iPhones.

Highlights from the walk included the Salt of the Earth store itself, American Visions Contemporary Crafts, Krueger Pottery Supply and The May Gallery at Webster University.

The gallery American Visions Contemporary Crafts focuses on displaying contemporary art from the United States and Canada. Located in Rock Hill, just outside St. Louis, it is the farthest away from Salt of the Earth. The use of public transportation is recommended for those lacking a car. The artists work with a variety of mediums, including wood, metal, glass, jewelry and clay. The glasswares are particularly noteworthy and contain a veritable garden of objects, such as pears, apples and pumpkins. They come in a number of shapes, sizes and colors and are definitely worth seeing.

Krueger Pottery Supply is a one-stop shop for all things pottery. One can buy homemade pottery, supplies and equipment or even take a class. The store was founded in 1988, the atmosphere is very friendly, and the staff is willing to help any interested parties. They sell everything required for pottery, from wheels to rollers to kilns themselves, as well as clay and various coloring agents. Taking a clay class, something many of us did when we were younger, looks very tempting here.

The May Gallery is a photography gallery located at Webster University. The current exhibit, which runs from Nov. 6-25, is “Gunther Cartwright: Industrial Blues.” Cartwright focuses on the relationship between industrial society and its surroundings. Pictures include several photographs of barren land with the telltale smokestacks of power plants and a variety of photos concentrating on warning signs. The photos bring into contrast manufacturing and nature, yet indicate a sort of beauty within the industrial world. This excellent gallery is a must-see for all with even a passing interest in art or photography. Located at 8300 Big Bend Blvd., a mere 10-minute walk from Salt of the Earth, it is easily accessible.

There were many more stores and galleries to visit, and all were worth visiting. The crawl ended Sunday, but opportunities still abound for students to visit the shops. It was an enjoyable experience, one that is highly recommended for all inquisitive persons.