A night at the galleries

Friday, November 1, 2002

In cities with thriving art colonies, the monthly or sometimes weekly gallery walk to opening receptions is a tradition. Art lovers go from one gallery to the next sampling the creativity, wine and hors d'oeuvres.

That opportunity presents itself tonight in Cape Girardeau with exhibitions opening in three different locations.

The work of Cape Girardeau artist Craig Thomas will be featured in Gallery 100 at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri. Opening next door at the Lorimier Gallery is a show called "Art for Hearts," a silent auction of local work benefiting the American Heart Association.

The reception for both shows at the arts council, 119 Independence St., will be from 5 to 8 p.m.

Just across the street at the Kelsen Gallery, 13 S. Spanish St., Tunesian native Saskia Vojacek will display her paperpaintings and collages. Vojacek, who now lives in Maastricht in the Netherlands, is flying in for the opening.

The reception will be from 6 to 9 p.m. today. The exhibition continues through Dec. 31. The Kelsen Gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Finally, Southeast art professor Dr. Edwin Smith will exhibit 45 pieces of art by former students and teachers he has taught with and by artists encountered in his trips abroad.

That reception will be from 5 to 9 p.m. today at the Juden Schoolhouse, 900 W. Cape Rock Drive. The show also will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Thomas is a rarity in Cape Girardeau, a full-time, freelance artist. This show mostly will consist of paintings, but he is as well known for his murals and sidewalk chalk drawings. For the past two years, he has been the featured artist at La Strada Del Arte, a sidewalk chalk festival in Kansas City, Mo. He also is in charge of the Cape Chalk Walk street painting festival held here each spring.

Thomas placed third among 160 participants in Chalk Fest, a competition held in the town of Grazie, Italy, where street painting originated.

He has painted murals at Franklin School and the now-closed Washington School and others at such commercial establishments as Broussard's, C.P. McGinty Jewelers, In the Wine Cellar and Indigo.

The graduate of Jackson High School and Southeast Missouri State University also runs the Wednesday Drawing Group at the arts council.

This show, Thomas' second solo shot at the arts council, will offer at least 10 pieces, most quite large. The majority are in acrylic.

All the paintings contain either female forms or investigate architectural designs. "We kidded about calling it Chicks and Bricks," Thomas said.

The silent auction at the Lorimier Gallery will offer works by a number of local artists, including Doug Baltz, Dr. Jean Chapman, Lou Varro and others. Baltz's contributions consist of portraits of the late St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile.


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