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Commentary Detail

Arts Alive on Both Sides of the River
Commentary by: Nancy Kranzberg
Aired June 04, 2010

An ad campaign some years ago said,"St. Louis has it from A to Z". I wholeheartly agree, but take a trip across that muddy Mississippi to Illinois and you're also in for a treat. My patient friends from the east side of the river are always reminding me of just how many high quality art venues are in their neck of the woods.

The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts, located in Lebanon, Illinois on the campus of Mckendrie University, lends itself to performing arts events of all kinds, from jazz to opera. The Looking Glass Theatre, a community theatre, also resides in Lebanon.

Patty Gregory, the founding director of "Art on the Square" in Belleville reminded me that the fair has been ranked number one twice in the last three years in the Art Fair Source Book and the "Wine,Dine and Jazz Festival", also Ms Gregory's creation, will take place next weekend and is growing stronger every year.

A branch of Lindenwood University located, in the former Belleville West High School, has a masterpiece of a theatre created by the famous Ittner architectural firm. The city also has a Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra founded in 1867 which is the second longest running symphony orchestra in the United States.

Belleville also is home to the Schimidt Art Center located at Southwestern Illinois College, which not only has a fine permanent collection but high quality rotating exhibitions often curated by director Libby Reuter.

Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville has a new fine arts building and the "Arts and Issues" program features top-of-the-line performing arts in every medium.

The Jacoby Art Center in Alton features rotating art exhibitions both of regional and national stature and also has quality educational programming. Edwardsville and Alton also present a wonderful fall spectacular, "Art East", which lasts for two weekends with open artists' studios with various works for sale.

Ride just a tad farther to Mt.Vernon, Illinois and one can visit Cedarhurst, nestled on a 90 acre site with year round arts programs. The rolling meadows and woods are home to Cedarhurst Sculpture Park with over 60 large scale sculptures. Also on the grounds is the Mitchell Museum with contemporary art exhibitions in two galleries, including a children's gallery. The museum features works by Mary Cassat, Maurice Prendergast and more.

While the arts are alive in St. Louis, anyone can take a drive and have some fun enjoying the arts on the east side of our town, too!

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Nancy Kranzberg

Nancy Kranzberg

Arts Aficionado Nancy Kranzberg has been involved in the arts community for some thirty years. She serves on numerous arts affiliated boards, including The St. Louis Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park where she is the Co-Chair, The Sheldon Arts Foundation and the Sheldon Art Gallery Board, Jazz at the Bistro, The Missouri Mansion Preservation Inc., The Mid American Arts Alliance, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Nancy was named Women of Achievement and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnae Award at Washington University Nancy is a docent at the St. Louis Art Museum and is an honorary docent at Laumeier Sculpture Park. At age 60 she became a Jazz singer. She performs with the Second Half which features Chancellor Tom George on the piano.

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