Best Festival - 2003
Readers' Choice: Fair St. Louis
The second annual Artica festival, which took place the weekend of September 20 within the vast industrial wasteland of the north riverfront -- Tailgate Central during Rams season -- was a resounding success. The brainchild of Nita Turnage and Hap Phillips, Artica invited St. Louis artists to peruse the land, lay claim to a spot (be it a thicket of brush, a gathering of trees or the remnants of a lost building) and create heaven within. For two days the area was magical. Walk through a mystery path and stumble across stunning found-object still-lifes. In the trees, flickering: Follow the light into a charmed oasis of candles, placed on branches and nestled in nooks -- a Tolkien dream. Everywhere amid the nowhere was manmade beauty, which accentuated the natural beauty of forgotten, sacred ground. And, best, once built, a community arrived to celebrate, kindreds drunk with love and possessed with the spirit of the old St. Louis, busy working to forge a new St. Louis. These are the people who must build it.