As kids, many of us curated time capsules. We gleefully tossed our Pokémon cards, Backstreet Boys CDs and TV Guide with Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the cover into a plastic container and buried it in the back yard, thrilled to leave culturally representative treasure for the next generation to find.
And while all of that might have been silly, the idea of preserving a slice of modern history has merit. One St. Louis musician says it's time to focus on important local touchstones in a similar way.
"St. Louis has a very rich and extensive art and music history that often has gone under-recognized through the years, and right now is a very exciting time in that history," says Chuck Crittenden. "There is so much tremendous talent and passion on display here, and we want to find a way to freeze this moment in time, to capture the St. Louis art and music communities in a time capsule."
A guitarist in folk-rock act Arthur and the Librarian, Crittenden and his team are curating Last in the American League, a collection of new St. Louis songs and visual art that feed off of each other and showcase the artistic uprising that has been burning throughout the Gateway City in recent years. Crittenden has noted the talent and support crossing from one creative community to the other, and he sees this representing a special era in St. Louis culture.
"It wasn't always this way," he explains. "But now we've got a chance to show everybody that this is something special in a lasting form."
Last in the American League will package two vinyl LPs of new St. Louis music with a book that features specially commissioned local art. But these debut works won't stand alone; the music and art will operate together, forming a multisensory creative experience.
After drumming up interest in the project among the art and music communities, Crittenden selected eighteen musical acts and eighteen visual artists to participate. From those eager contributors, he formed creative pairs consisting of one musical act and one visual artist (listed at the bottom of this article). In his vision, the musician and artist who comprise each pair will influence each other's work, perhaps by discussing artistic concepts or through becoming creative comrades. The result will be a brand new song and an original painting, sculpture or photograph.
"For me, it's one of the most exciting parts about this -- to see how artists interpret a piece of music from a band they might not have known before," Crittenden says. "As a musician, I know that you see your songs a certain way, but to have someone outside come in and talk about some possibilities you might not have thought about before -- you get some really interesting results out of that."
Continue to page two for more.
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