Exhibitions + Programs
Two vital criteria drive ASL's Programming:
Our community needs working visual artists.
We champion the artists who live and work in our community who, through their ongoing creative activity, are quietly and steadily earning a reputation for the community itself as a generative arts hub, on par with any major metropolitan capital. Simply, artistic activity, access to it, along with endorsement and championship of it is a powerful magnet, attracting and fostering diversity and vitality.
In order for this celebration and accessibility to people from all walks of life to work, it has to be part of the everyday life of the region.
Working artists need a supportive community.
Sporadic opportunities are not enough to provide community engagement.
The work of ASL is a major component of creating this needed magnetic effect. The year-round, equitable, accessible and sustainable programming focused on local art and opportunities for advancement fill the need to provide the foundational support to help retain and attract talented, career-minded artists to stay and contribute to the cultural fabric of our community in a sustainable way to nurture a healthy visual art ecosystem.
Exhibit Programming has 6 Intersecting Elements:
Local Visual Artists
Exhibitions at ASL feature artworks created by visual artists:
ages 18+ who work and live within a 200-mile radius of downtown Saint Louis,
as selected by a series of guest jurors and curators, and
are presented to the public free of charge.
Exhibition programming features seven exhibits per year, including our Annual Exhibits: Varsity Art, Honor Awards, and our signature namesake exhibition, Art Saint Louis: The Exhibition.
Our exhibition seasons also feature four Theme-based Exhibitions.
Our Artistic Director selects themes with the intention that our calls for entry appeal to a vast pool of diverse artists throughout our city and greater region, allowing our calls to provide a platform for diversity of interpretation and intention, as well as the opportunity for artists to have their work seen from new perspectives that looking through the lens of the broadly interpretable theme (e.g., Parenthood, Personal History, Creatures, Sin City) provides.
Themes are also selected to appeal and be accessible to diverse audiences, both those who are regular attendees of art exhibits and events, as well as those who are drawn to our gallery by our Catalyst Coffee Bar and find a welcoming space without judgment in ASL to experience and enjoy visual art.
The use of a blind jury process in the majority of our exhibition programming provides local artists with a variety of opportunities throughout the year to have their work seen and potentially selected for professional exhibition by jurors who are leaders in their respective fields (gallerists, art faculty, artists, critics, consultants, curators).
Jurors provide the opportunity for connectivity & potential career advancement while both elevating program quality & ensuring diversity of perspective in selection while providing cohesion.
Artists need exhibition space and community to thrive, but by-and-large, artists need patrons and collectors to purchase their work in order to maintain and thrive in their artistic practice. ASL’s exhibition programming is also an opportunity for artists to have their original work purchased by visitors of our gallery and for visitors and collectors to be introduced to or continue to collect original works of art in a generative community space. While is not required that an exhibiting artist lists their work for sale, ASL is proud to provide this outlet and opportunity for cultural and economic connection while ensuring that artists keep 70% of their work’s sale price.
At the Exhibit
At the exhibit, the juror(s) select eight works as honor awards and honorable mention awards, with the artist of the top honor award winning work named "Best In Show" and receiving a $250 stipend. These awards provide validation and a stipend further creates a supportive community for working visual artists.
Our jurors each receive a monetary stipend to provide a supportive community grateful for the work and professional impact that the art workers who serve in these roles provide.