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 August 2 reception of ASL's curated _Summer Exhibition_ exhibit view through October 26,

Our Story

As much as ever, the programming and community of ASL is creative and innovative within our region and to our audiences, in part, because we remain the only nonprofit visual art organization headquartered and active in downtown Saint Louis. For thousands of neighborhood workers, residents and visitors, including hundreds of thousands of convention and event attendees each year, ASL is the one and only place nearby where these audiences can discover and enjoy the most current and engaging contemporary visual art being produced in our region, free and year-round.

Works by Eric Wieringa and Liz Moore. As the original curator of Angad Arts Hotel, ASL's curated Summer Exhibition, 2019.

​We challenge and develop our audience by:

  • Creating a fair, open and competitive forum for visual art exhibition. We maintain high standards of integrity by selecting new jurors for each component of our programming's blind jury process and exhibition.
     

  • Introducing the viewing public to a wide spectrum of artistic expression, artists and creative leaders (through our unique jurors). Through a range of perspectives offered in each group exhibit, viewers are invited to appreciate diverse technical and aesthetic approaches. In this way, our gallery serves as a model for public discourse that celebrates individuality and diversity and its impacts on other individuals and community.
     

  • Developing artists and viewer reflection within exhibition themes that are both widely interpretable and universally relevant, giving intellectual weight and cohesion to every exhibit.
     

  • Exchange in that in order to develop, maintain and grow an artistic practice, by-and- large, artists need buyers, collectors, patrons – people and organizations who purchase their work for their own collections, homes, offices. Having original artwork in your space undeniably enhances the quality of life in that space by inspiring, setting a tone, narrative, emblem or other quality that becomes inherent to the space in large part due to the work that is displayed in it. When that work is purchased from a local artist, not only is it life-giving for the buyer, it is life-giving for that local artist and thus generative and life-giving for our community as it nurtures and makes possible a region where artists are visible, paid and recognized for their value, making St. Louis a viable place for artists to live and work.

Timeline: Learn how ASL has  supported Saint Louis' artists and curators over the last 40+ years

  • 1977: Art Saint Louis (ASL) was originally founded as the Arts Coordinating Council for the Area by artists concerned with the state of the visual arts and the lack of exhibition and professional opportunities for local artists in Saint Louis.
     

  • In 1985, the exhibition that became our namesake, Art St. Louis, The Exhibition, showcased the work of some of the area’s top visual artists, beginning as a selection of the “top 100 contemporary works of art from Saint Louis artists that year”.
     

  • In 1986, with a name change to the St. Louis Arts Coalition, the group incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
     

  • In 1991 the organization changed its name again to Art Saint Louis (ASL) to more accurately reflect the mission and programming of the group to accessibly exhibit, educate and connect. Initial operations began in a donated space with a small staff with the commitment of continuing with one major exhibition Art St. Louis, The Exhibition, plus several smaller juried exhibits.
     

  • 1993-94 ASL collaborated with other visual art enthusiasts and leaders in creating the nationally recognized Saint Louis Art Fair, and specifically brought sought-after artists to join the fair via invitation as well as directing the live artists’ demonstration portion of the Fair, leading in these areas until 2011.
     

  • 1995 Varsity Art became a part of ASL’s annual programming! Since this inaugural exhibition, each year Art Saint Louis works with professors and faculty from area colleges and universities (within a 200-mile radius of downtown Saint Louis) and invites the instructors to select up to two students to represent their school in this always exciting and telling exhibit.
     

  • 2017, in collaboration with our contracted partner Jessica Mannisi, ASL directed, curated and produced the inaugural permanent fine art installations and exhibitions, the fine art in the guest rooms and permanent exhibit spaces at Angad Arts Hotel in Grand Center, as well as curating and producing the rotating exhibitions at Angad until 2021, when the hotel took the curation and art program management in-house, adding a permanent position to their staff for exhibitions.

 

Over the years, ASL added a full schedule of annual exhibitions as well as outreach programming to enrich the community through the work of our region’s visual artists and provided artists with professional engagement opportunities. Outreach programming has included:  

  • Saint Louis artists’ studio tours

  • Saint Louis Gallery Guide

  • Arts in Transit

  • Artist residency programs in area high schools and middle schools

  • Art exhibitions and consulting in hospitals, offices and other spaces such as Fleishmann Hillard, Kitchen K, Des Peres Hospital Art Program, RCGA, World Trade Center St. Louis

  • Pavement art and murals for a variety of venues and events

  • Pop-up galleries in vacant storefront spaces

  • Creation of the ArtLoupe mobile app, a national discovery, promotion and sales tool for contemporary visual art

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