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About The Blog

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis have joined together to create the Contemporary-Pulitzer blog which, for the first time, combines the perspectives of two separate institutions with differing missions within the same blog.

Offering alternating posts each day from the Pulitzer and Contemporary, the blog provides a candid look at the behind-the-scenes workings of both arts organizations.

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Latest Posts from the Pulitzer

GOOD Ideas for Cities / Challenges 3 and 4

Check out the next two challenges:

3. Have an animated conversation with a young transplant or multi-generational loyalist and you will understand the passion people here have for St. Louis. But, too often, the message falls back on empty boosterism. Whatever the cause, we must understand it, admit it and fix it. How do we deepen the pool of diverse people who love St. Louis and are personally invested in its progress?

Jeff RainfordOffice of the Mayor Francis Slay and Hank Webber,Washington University

Brain Drain: Matt Strom, Tara Pham, Logan Alexander, Noah MacMillan, Zoë Scharf, Amanda Yates, Andrew Warshauer, Kuan Butts, Danielle Wallis, Christine Stavridis, Bennett Gale

4. Located in the heartland, St. Louis has unique resources that could allow it to become a leader in urban agriculture. Yet most of the food consumed in the region is produced hundreds or thousands of miles away, and many urban areas of St. Louis have limited access to fresh food. How can St. Louis use our resources and stakeholders to increase accessibility of healthy, locally grown food?

Craig HellerFood WorksFrank FinneganSt. Louis Area Foodbank; Mike SorthGateway GreeningEric SchneiderRCGA

STL Provocateur: Rhonda Smythe, Jeanette Reynolds, Stephanie Co, Nat Zorach, Andrew Flachs, Anne McCullough

GOOD Ideas for Cities
Thursday, March 8

Doors: 6:00 p.m.
Program: 7:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public, no RSVP required. Invite your friends to the Facebook event. Cash bar. Pi On The Spot will be selling personal pizzas outside of CAM.

GOOD Ideas for Cities is hosted by GOOD, CEOs for Cities, HOK, and the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, and supported by ArtPlace. Special thanks to our partners: AIGA St. Louis; ALIVE Magazine; Amber Murphy, nextSTL; Nine Network; St. Louis Regional Arts Commission; UrbanReviewSTL.

GOOD Ideas for Cities / Challenges 1 and 2


This Thursday, March 8 we will be hosting GOOD Ideas for Cities, an event that taps creative problem-solvers to tackle real urban challenges and present their solutions. Last year, we issued a call for creatives in St. Louis, and chose seven teams to represent the city. Each team was issued a challenge proposed by local urban leaders. At the event, the creative teams will present their solutions to their assigned challenge, and the urban leaders will join them onstage for a brief Q&A.  Afterwards, join us for drinks and more conversation as we discuss how to make these ideas a reality for St. Louis.

For the next few days we will be introducing you to a couple challenges a day so you can get acquainted with what will be presented this Thursday.

Check out the first two challenges:

1. We have a world-class light rail system in St. Louis. However, we have not seen a major effort to leverage the system as a catalyst for building more livable communities in the St. Louis region How might we increase ridership on St. Louis’ light rail to help demonstrate to the city the important opportunities around transit?

Kim Cella, Citizens for Modern Transit and Rhonda K. Hamm-Niebruegge, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

STL Alley Lovers: Christopher Galli, Andy Heaslet, Derek Hoeferlin, Monika Jankowiak, Jenny Murphy, Jonathan Stitelman

2. Historically, St. Louis neighborhoods have been racially and economically segregated. The effects of these historic policies, and some current policies, allow the City of St. Louis to remain segregated in these ways: Throughout the city there are streets and public spaces that serve as dividing lines. How can we design the borders between our communities to act as bridges between our neighborhoods?

Vince Schoemehl, Grand Center and Jennifer Allen, Trailnet

Arch City Revival: Katy Mike Smaistrla, Emily Hemeyer, Joyce Gorrell, Amy Lampe, Sarah Paulsen, David Burnett, Michael Allen, Kara Clark Holland

GOOD Ideas for Cities
Thursday, March 8
6:00 p.m.
Program: 7:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public, no RSVP required.  Invite your friends to the Facebook event.  Cash bar.  Pi On The Spot will be selling personal pizzas outside of CAM.

GOOD Ideas for Cities is hosted by GOOD, CEOs for CitiesHOK, and the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, and supported by ArtPlace.  Special thanks to our partners: AIGA St. LouisALIVE Magazine; Amber Murphy, nextSTLNine NetworkSt. Louis Regional Arts CommissionUrbanReviewSTL.

Teen Museum Studies

It’s an exciting summer here at the Contemporary, especially for the talented area teens involved in the inaugural summer of our Teen Museum Studies program.  For six weeks, the Teen Museum Studies students are busy every Thursday and Friday exploring the inner workings of the museum.  They are meeting daily with staff gaining valuable insight into specific museum career paths and preparing for their ultimate goal of curating, planning, and executing their own student-led exhibition.


We’ve been lucky enough to have Director Paul Ha, Deputy Director Lisa Grove, Exhibitions Manager Cole Root, Public Programs Manager Alex Elmestad, Associate Curator Laura Fried, and Visitor Services Coordinator Kiersten Torrez give us great advice and support.  The staff has been an invaluable resource, generously giving their time and energy to help the Teen Museum Studies group develop goals and strategies for their exhibition.


So far the students have crafted their mission, began work on curating from the Flat Files (our fantastic source of local artwork), completed a registrar tutorial, and had a private tasting and tour (compliments of the Urban Studio Café) and were immersed in visitor services and public programming philosophy and strategies.  Not bad for the first 3 days!


The Teen Museum Studies exhibition opens July 20th in conjunction with the preview reception for City-Wide Open Studios… that leaves only 6 more program days to pull together what is sure to be a stellar show!


Check out TMS’ Facebook page for photo updates from each class day and be sure to stop by the opening July 20th at 6 pm!  With the energy and expertise we’ve seen from the TMS crew so far, I’m sure it will not disappoint.

NAN Students Explore Autobiographical Art


Artist Sean Landers, whose work is in the Contemporary’s current exhibition, Sean Landers: 1991-1994, Improbable History, recently led a New Art in the Neighborhood session. His workshop focused on self exploration and expression through artistic writing, as he led the twenty students in a stimulating narrative exercise.  Landers first asked the students to write three personal truths about themselves or the world around them.  The artist then collected the statements and read them aloud to the class without revealing their authors.  The truths were poetic reflections, frank observations, and deeply personal secrets.  The thought-provoking workshop provided an opportunity for the students to express their most direct thoughts and create a picture of their identity.

 The exploratory workshop was a great segue into a NAN session led by local artist Kit Keith.  Keith, an accomplished mixed-media artist, began the workshop with a discussion of her earliest artistic influences and the lessons she learned from her father, who worked as a sign painter.  She shared with the students a history of her artistic voice, emphasizing her fascination with 1940s imagery and use of found objects, two constants in her work.  Keith brought several unfinished works with her, and worked on her art alongside students as she challenged them to make collages with found objects, found imagery, paint, and illustration.  The resulting collages were extremely diverse and channeled Keith’s techniques through pastiche and careful composition.  Students crafted their collages using newsprint, personal photographs, magazines, and textiles, and other fascinating materials. 

 Not only did these two artists share stories of their efforts to create self-reflexive artwork, but they also gave the students precious insight into their personal methods and aesthetics.  After two fun and challenging NAN workshops, the students will surely be inspired to continue creating art that gives thought to personal narrative and honesty.  It was great to see their processes develop through these two workshops.  Thanks again to Sean Landers and Kit Keith!  And thanks to the NAN students for their consistent dedication, talent, and enthusiasm!

NAN Students Make MoneyBags


Artist and former New Art in the Neighborhood (NAN) student Stan Chisholm recently led a NAN workshop that introduced students to a collaborative project he has been working on for the past year.  Called MoneyBags, the project “re-evaluates wealth, worth and, currency.” Stan was joined by fellow artist and collaborator Lisa Kim, and together they invited NAN students to think about art as currency and create money bags filled with objects of their own making.

Students screenprinted designs, sewed their own bags, and created numerous drawings, art items, and secret messages to include in their money bags. Each bag was designed to be placed in a public space for unsuspecting passersby to discover and keep.

Some students gave their bags to Stan, who found places to leave them; others placed the bags themselves. Those students were asked to take a photos of the bags in their new locations and send them to Stan to post on his MoneyBags website.  You can visit the site to learn more about the project and see pictures of the NAN-made money bags:

Keep an eye out for a MoneyBag near you!

Celebrating the holidays and exploring curiosity

Next week the Contemporary will host two events, one to celebrate the holidays, and the other to explore the topic of curiosity and how it relates to a child’s desire for learning. Holiday Open House will take place on Thursday, December 10 from 6:00 – 9:00. There will be light bites and drinks, a chance to walk through the exhibition, For the blind man… and shopping! MUSE gift shop will offer a 25% discount to everyone and a 35% discount to members on all purchases (even sale items!). There will also be an art and craft sale throughout the evening, making for plenty of chances to purchase unique, handmade gifts. Two days later, on Saturday, December 12, from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 – 3:00 pm, the Contemporary will host Curiosity and Knowledge: the Heart of Learning. This is an event facilitated by The St. Michael School of Clayton, a Reggio-inspired school for preprimary and elementary age children with interactive educational activities for children, adults, and educators. At 2:30 pm, Chief Curator Anthony Huberman and Co-founder of the Cadwell Collaborative Louise Cadwell will end the day with a reflection about “curiosity and knowledge.”

What came out of Free Family Day

A couple of weeks ago the Contemporary hosted Free Family Day, a day for families to spend together while learning about and creating art. This past Free Family Day took place on Halloween and we had over 577 children and adults participate! Take a look below at some the images to come out of the day! You can also view the video of the digital animation activity facilitated by Artist Daniel Raedeke especially for the day. For this activity, visitors created creatures by using art supplies and Raedeke brought them to life through animation. The animations were projected on the museum walls so the “creature creators” could see their art work immediately.

 Halloween 2009 at CAMSTL by Peter Wochniak-245 Halloween 2009 at CAMSTL by Peter Wochniak-2

Halloween 2009 at CAMSTL by Peter Wochniak-91  Halloween 2009 at CAMSTL by Peter Wochniak-332  Halloween 2009 at CAMSTL by Peter Wochniak-304 Halloween 2009 at CAMSTL by Peter Wochniak-96

YouTube Preview Image

Curator Talk and Film Screening

Coming up this Wednesday, November 18, the Contemporary’s Chief Curator, Anthony Huberman, will give a special lecture about his curatorial process behind the exhibition For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn’t there. Huberman will present artists, artworks, and his ideas about art. Following the lecture will be a film screening of Fischli & Weiss’ “The Way Things Go.” Peter Fischli & David Weiss are both artists in the exhibition For the blind man… pursuing “their urge to understand the world by asking large metaphysical and ethical questions about the human condition.” The lecture and the film screening are both free. The evening begins at 6:00 pm.

contemp convers

Prep for National Portfolio Day


In preparation for National Portfolio Day at Washington University, the New Art in the Neighborhood (NAN) students were treated to a visit by artist, Professor, and Executive Director of the Santo Foundation, Gary Passanise. 

Gary provided the NAN students with numerous insights into the portfolio review process, sharing what he looks for when he reviews portfolios and discussed the best ways to highlight their strengths, giving special attention to content selection. He also talked about how good artwork is distracted by bad presentation. 

He then gave a demo on an easy and efficient way to mount drawings that instantly transformed the space around the work and gave them room to visually breathe. 

Gary also generously spoke about his own art work, the reflections, research, and personal thought processes that go into what he creates. I personally enjoyed this very much as it always fascinates me the myriad of ways that artists operate and arrive at what they do.   

The day ended with Mr. Passanise taking the time to personally review some of the student’s portfolios and giving individualized feedback. 

The students asked thoughtful questions, and I think in the end some of the pressure of what can be an anxious and daunting experience was alleviated. Thanks Gary!

Free Family Day on Halloween!

Free Family Day is a program the Contemporary offers as a way for families to learn about contemporary art and participate in creating hands-on art activities together. An upcoming Family Day is on October 31…Halloween and is inspired by For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn’t there. Activities include decorating black cat masks, scary tales by a St. Louis Public Library storyteller, and creating a life-size haunted house scene! Also, in celebration of Halloween, children dressed up in a costume will be entered in a raffle to win a prize. You can find out more about Free Family Days here.

You can attend this upcoming Free Family Day at the Contemporary on Saturday, October 31 at 1:00 – 4:00 pm.


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St. Louis, MO 63108
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