River View

Maybe it's up to artists to get St. Louis to look to the Mississippi

Art interventions are not for the tame. Those coming down to Artica are advised to bring their own food and water. It's not as if Poland Spring is sponsoring this -- at least not this year.

Other than the hope, says Phillips, that "no one's injured and no one's in jail," the couple wants this event to initiate an annual festival. "We want people to be interested in doing it again," says Turnage. "Make it bigger and more involved in the community. Take it to a level where there's more people coming to the area. Make people wake up to the area, or to metropolitan St. Louis, for that matter."

Scheduled installations and performances include "Arthenge," an ambitious project by Michael Morrison. He labels Artica "an urban anarchist art fair." He plans to stand railroad ties on their ends and sink them around a pit lined with sculpted hands and candles. "My Celtic cultural history is coming into this," he explains. "I envisioned layer upon layer of historical civilizations: Indians, slaves, Irish immigrants and all the things buried here."

Artists participating in Artica 2002 plan on "reintroducing life into an area that exists as an urban wasteland."
Jennifer Silverberg
Artists participating in Artica 2002 plan on "reintroducing life into an area that exists as an urban wasteland."

What if he awakens the spirits of those who came before in the dead of night? "I'm gonna be long gone."

Jenna Bauer, who's founded a new children's art center in Tower Grove Park, plans to rent a helium tank and inflate different types of balloons, to "thrust a stream of these as high as they can go." She and a friend got the idea from seeing the balloons at car dealerships.

Wolf is building a tearoom out of found objects, "mostly stuff found in Dumpsters and beside Dumpsters." He'll offer what Phillips calls an "abstract bizarro tea ceremony" to groups of three throughout the weekend. "I'm at war with boxes," says Wolf. "I liked the idea of creating space in harmonious tension with the immediate environment."

Artica 2002 will probably have grown by the time this column goes to press. "We've been getting people crawling out of the woodwork asking if it's too late," says Turnage. "It's not. Show up and make it."

In memoriam: John Hilgert died Sunday, July 28, after a long illness. Hilgert was a photographer, a thoughtful and intelligent artist. He taught at Webster University and was greatly loved and admired by the students and faculty there. Hilgert was a sweet, caring man. Anyone who had the fortune to be in the presence of his wit and humor was elevated by them. Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Betsy Millard.

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