St. Louis Regional Arts Commission

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Just Jazz
preserving the jazz syncopations of American culture

May 31 - July 8, 2007

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 31 l 5:30 to 7:30 PM

Just Jazz postcard

Presented by:
Zuka Arts Guild

Is jazz alive in St. Louis? Are the bebop and swing rhythms reduced to a soft whisper over the Mississippi or are St. Louisans still fluent in the raw language of jazz? According to Kenneth Calvert, curator of the Just Jazz exhibit, the music endures, yet people need to be reminded of its importance to keep it vital.

"St. Louis has a rich history of jazz," said Calvert. "St. Louisans have been playing and listening to jazz for almost a century and the city has been home to such jazz giants as Scott Joplin, Miles Davis and Lester Bowie. Through this exhibit we hope to play a part in preserving this truly American art form."

This exhibit features paintings, photographs and sculptures by eleven local African-American artists whose work honors the essence of jazz. In step with a fundamental element of this musical genre, improvisation, the art presented is as exhilarating, vibrant and varied as the music to which it pays homage.

The artists include Alfred Brooks; Gundia Lock Clay; Joseph LaMarque; Craig A. Miller, Sr. (Hefenua Maa); Andrea Hughes; Ron Young; Jennifer Everett; Robert Campbell; Sonya Lewis; Milton Holmes, Jr.; and Kenneth Calvert. Calvert is the president—and the other artists are members—of the Zuka Arts Guild, an organization devoted to the development of self-confidence and a personal style and aesthetic in artists of any level.

The confluence of the two creative categories, visual art and jazz, brings a dynamic element to this exhibit. Certainly, the artists involved are no strangers to blending distinctly different ideas. For instance, Jennifer Everett studied architecture, and while her paintings have structural influences, she is also inspired by the rawness of street art and hip hop culture. Robert Campbell is a realistic and abstract painter, magician and musician, and Kenneth Calvert draws on his experience as an illustrator, painter, graphic designer and muralist, and combines his technical savvy with aesthetic sensitivity and social awareness. Their rich African-American heritage, however, offers a well of inspiration to each and every one of them.


All images of artwork on this Web site are copyright of the individual artists.
Unauthorized copying and/or redistribution of the images is prohibited.

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