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Best Fundraiser 

Wall Ball

For the fourth incarnation of its extremely popular Wall Ball fundraiser, South City Open Studio and Gallery (4255 Arsenal Street, St. Louis; www.scosag.org or 314-865-0060) announced a change of venue: from the City Museum to Third Degree Glass Factory (www.stlglass.com). The move seemed to shake something loose in the crowd. Don't get us wrong, the audience for Wall Ball has always been energetic and generous, and the artists themselves respond well to the pressure of having to create a work of art before a live(ly) audience in less than three hours. But this year the pace seemed a bit more frenetic, a touch more electric. Maybe it was because of the heat blasting out of the massive furnaces in the vast main studio, or the close quarters of the tent on the side lawn; maybe it was sparked when Peat Wollaeger set up a tiny wrestling ring near his easel and had two luchador kids grapple wildly for twenty minutes. Whatever the reason, the crowd was into it, and that enthusiasm spread to the artists. There was much more laughter this year on the working side of those easels, a greater sense of joy in their toil — and the finished pieces, all silent-auctioned off to help SCOSAG help the kids — reflected the energy and passion St. Louisans generate when they get together. Wall Ball is a graphic reminder that the arts aren't just thriving in the River City, they're living in the River City — in our artists and the non-artists alike.

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