St. Louis is America's 58th-largest city, and it's located almost exactly halfway down the Mississippi. It's also home to 100 parks, five major museums, and a whole bunch of creators. Since 2009, there have been 311 successfully funded projects within 30 miles of St. Louis. And even more amazingly, total pledges to St. Louis-based projects top $4 million. Read below for a roundup of projects from the Gateway to the West.
Mike McCubbins and Matt Bryan worked on Book of Da for two years, and the resulting book is one of our favorite graphic novel projects. It's the story of a lost diver and his encounter with a mysterious entity that rules over the emotions of the ocean — the eponymous, pyramid-shaped Da. The art is shadowy, the story sparse in dialogue, and the drawings are filled with mysteriously noirish sea creatures; the book (with its clothbound, gold-stamped cover) feels like a treasure.
"In the three and a half years since beginning that piece, more and more content that I've seen on the internet has filled me with an odd sense of emotional and literary inspiration," writes creator Aaron Zemach. Open-Source Poetry was an experiment in found poetry as much as in the intersection of humanity and technology. Zemach took bits of text from Craigslist, the chat site Omegle, and other places of web connection to create a book of poems for anyone who's ever used the internet.
The Luminary is an arts incubator for things that move through boundaries, and for ideas that have no single definition — their whole focus is experimentation and community. After their 2012 Kickstarter project, they successfully moved to a new space (formerly occupied by a variety store); since then, the Luminary folks have been using it to host art exhibits, music, film, and plenty more. There is tons of programming, so if you're passing through St. Louis, be sure to visit.
St. Louis also commands the 21st-largest media market of the US. This means they have many radio stations, including the wonderful KDHX, which is independent, noncommercial, and listener-supported. Last year, KDHX ran a project for a listening room that could host live performances. It's a great extension of the way a community radio station can function.
Brick City Farm is an urban farm in the middle of the city. Since the project ran in 2013, the people behind it took an empty lot and transformed it into a vibrant garden that produces heirloom veggies — cosmic purple carrots, zebra tomatoes, and other amazingly named things — and shares them with the community.
Photographer Davey Rocco's video is one of our favorites in recent memory — in it, he tells the story of serendipitously meeting and photographing Jack White in a diner while he develops the same image. It's a simple concept and a great story. The project was for 400 sheets of photo paper to print the images for Rocco's booth at Schlafly Art Outside, a St. Louis-based outdoor art fair.
Want to see even more great St. Louis projects? You can do so right here.