A Minute in the City 4-10-24: The Calendar Picture That Almost Wasn’t

We lived in Kirkwood for five years. That’s not where our house was, but that was where we spent most of our waking hours. We went to church there, to guitar lessons, to obedience school. (Yes, for the dog, but quite frankly, we all needed it.) We went to Kirkwood Library and Kirkwood Farmers’ Market and Kirkwood Park. We shopped for gifts in Kirkwood, went to the movies there, boarded the train there for points West.

The Kirkwood Depot embodies for me what Kirkwood is all about. It is friendly and welcoming, sharing the street with charming shops, restaurants, and a little ice cream stand just a stone’s throw away. In the evening, people take their kids out for ice cream and stick around to watch the trains come in.

I was more than a little excited to capture the magic of the Kirkwood Depot in my 2019 calendar. But this illustration came to a screeching halt when I realized how very horizontal it was. It was not going to fit my calendar format at all!

So I added a new layer in Adobe Illustrator and drew the crossing gate on the right side of my canvas. But this did little to alleviate the problem, as I still had a hole in the lower left quadrant of the picture. The addition of a mother and her son only exacerbated the problem, leaving a huge empty space in the center.

I was about ready to ditch the whole thing when the idea of a beagle came to mind. The white of his coat would provide adequate contrast with the grass. His spots would add interest. And, because he was beagle-sized, he wasn’t going to obscure that pretty little depot behind him.

That dog proved to be a lifesaver. To this day, he is as popular at shows as Kirkwood’s most recognized landmark. Thanks to the magic of digital illustration, the two now share top billing.

 

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Want to read more about my illustrations? Watch for an exciting new development coming next month to A YEAR IN THE CITY!

In the meantime, if you’re interested in buying this art for your home or office, Kirkwood Depot is available as an 11 x 14 litho print or a 16 x 20 archival print at ayearinthecity.com/newproducts. Archivals are twice the size of lithos and last three times as long – 99 years, to be exact! They are signed and numbered and sold in a low series of just 100 copies.

A Minute in the City 1-2-24: New Beginnings

‘Tis the season for new beginnings: New Year’s resolutions, New Year’s babies, new semesters in school, new snow to make tracks in.

Yes, let’s go with that one. New snow. Whether or not it happens this year, most of us Midwesterners know the sensation of stepping out into the white stuff and claiming it for our own. Look, we say as we make tracks on the snowy landscape. We were here! We did this thing!

It is an apt metaphor for the artist. Fresh snowfall is a blank piece of paper inviting us to play, to discover, to create, to make an impression. Just let the pen fall where it will, and who knows? Something amazing could happen.

In 2017, I stepped out into the nothingness, and a calendar was born. It was such an exhilarating experience that I could hardly wait to create the next one. So I didn’t wait. As soon as my 2018 calendar was hung on the wall, I sent 2019 to the printer…and I started creating the artwork for 2020.

For seven years, I hardly knew what year it was, nor did I care. I was knee deep in experiential play and learning. I was discovering so much about St. Louis, about color and light, about people, about business. I was firing on all four cylinders at once.

My marketing background had taught me that every product had a life cycle, and I accepted that as fact. My calendar might live for seven seasons, but no more. I would not create an eighth. Instead, I would look to that enticing blank piece of paper once more and let the pen fall where it might. I would do something new.

In this first week of 2024, I have a few new products in the incubation stage. It’s still too early to tell if they’ll be viable, but, like new snow, they are inviting me to come out and play. They’re making me feel like a kid again.

In the meantime, old projects are getting new life. An illustration of the Hi-Pointe Theatre which almost made it into the calendar a few years ago is being released as an archival print this month. Like all my archivals, it will be limited to a series of only 100 prints!

The NEW CITY STUFF tab on my website will continue to amass new art as it’s created. It is the electronic version of the blank page, the snowy landscape, leading me forward. I can’t wait to get out there again.

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As its name implies, The Hi-Pointe Theatre stands like a beacon at the highest point in the city, with the world’s largest Amoco sign as its neighbor. Both were built more than 100 years ago. My Hi-Pointe image is available as a 16 x 20 limited edition, signed-and-numbered print. For more information, please visit https://ayearinthecity.com/product/a-year-in-the-city-unframed-archival-prints/

A Minute in the City 5-30-23: For the Love of Chickens

Our granddaughter, Holly, loves animals. Cats, in particular. Holly shows her affection for cats by pulling on their ears and tails and by staring them down until they attack. Our own cat, Harriet, can attest to this. When Harriet is confronted by cat-loving Holly, she runs away.

In July of 2021, I decided to take Holly to see the cat house at Purina Farms. If you like cats and you’ve never seen it, you owe it to yourself to make the trip. The cats live independently – as cats always do – in a multistoried house with cat-sized furniture and lots of windows to look out of. From a cat’s perspective, the house is just about perfect. They live in comfort with good food and clean litterboxes – a safe distance from their most ardent fans.

But sadly, when we visited Purina Farms, the cat house was closed. I mean, COVID-closed. Out-of-an-abundance-of-caution closed. Just-in-case-the-virus-jumped-species-closed.

But the dog-diving pool was open that day, and the piglets and bunnies were in their pens. And the chickens were strutting their stuff to impress any four-year-olds who might be happening by. A staff member saw Holly eyeing the chickens and asked if she’d like to pet one.

Personally, I’d have declined the offer. I mean how much fun could it be to pet something with talons and a beak? And how could feathers possibly be as nice to the touch as the fur of a kitten or bunny? But Holly was all in. Bring on the chickens.

The woman showed Holly how to pet a chicken softly, and Holly petted for a good minute or two. I’m not sure, but I believe girl and chicken became friends that day.

Holly was just four then. And she’d been sheltering in place for a third of her life. She’d been wearing a mask for as long as she could remember. Most of her memories were of her own family and her own house and her own dogs. That chicken at Purina Farms was welcoming her back into this great wide world.

Animals have a way of doing that. If you watch a dog or cat for 10 minutes, you can’t help seeing what they see – the ball, the laser light, the squirrel in the yard. And suddenly, your world is bigger and lighter and better than it was before. It’s easy to empathize with animals.

Before my husband and I had kids, we had pets. They were ours to love and care for. Because, face it, we are born to love and care for others. As a species, it’s time we relearned that.

And that’s a real challenge as we emerge from our COVID-induced ennui. Because we’re not used to being around people who aren’t naturally cuddly anymore. And we’re not used to driving in traffic or waiting in long lines at the store. We’re definitely not used to those who have sharp beaks and talons. But maybe, if we all took time pet a chicken, we might realize just how much we need each other. Holly could have told you this at four.

I’m happy to report that two years after her visit to Purina Farms, Holly has learned how to care for animals, and Harriett has begun to accept her advances. Girl and cat are friends. Except that Harriett still reserves the right to avoid Holly – and everyone else – anytime she likes.

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Purina Farms is a St. Louis treasure and the March feature in my 2023 A YEAR IN THE CITY calendar. It is also available as an 11 x 14 litho print or a limited-edition 16 x 20 archival print. For more information, please visit ayearinthecity.com.

A Minute in the City 2-16-23: One Cool Day

One soggy morning in July of 2021, I packed up the car before dawn and headed to Tower Grove Farmers’ Market to sell calendars. I wasn’t exactly happy about it. The sun wasn’t up yet. But even if it had been, no one would’ve seen it. It had been raining for most of the night, and wild storms were predicted during market hours. Not what I’d signed up for.

I grumbled as I put up my tent and arranged my calendars and cards. I rolled out my rug – a usually cheery addition to my booth – and strung up a chain of neatly packaged t-shirts. And then I waited.

After one intolerably long hour, a man came into my booth, rifled through my prints, and walked away. A while later, a woman made the first purchase of the morning: a three-dollar bookmark. That wasn’t going to pay for my booth space. Then a dog wandered into my tent and peed on the rug. I was having a no good, very bad day.

But everyone outside my booth seemed to be having a fine time. People were laughing in the rain, pushing their carts and carrying canvas totes. Just as many were carrying brightly-colored yoga mats. A little Amish girl dressed in vivid blue was walking among the customers. Big bouquets of vibrant flowers were spilling from bags, along with corn, tomatoes, and peaches. Umbrellas were popping up everywhere in florals, rainbows, and Cardinal red.

When you put all that color against the backdrop of a gray day, it isn’t a gray day anymore. Watching the customers, I began to feel the clouds lifting inside my head, and I stopped caring about my sales. And that’s when business picked up. Really picked up. People weren’t just buying calendars that day. They were buying holiday cards. Holiday cards…in July! And they were asking me, as they always do, about this site or that. Have you ever thought of doing a print of Grant’s Farm? Have you done Powell? Do you know Jazz St. Louis?

 That last one gave me pause. Jazz St. Louis had been on my radar for many years and for many reasons. First, there was the role that St. Louis had played in the very creation of jazz, thanks to a certain Scott Joplin. That I knew well. Second was the talent that just seemed to grow up here or find its way here, with the likes of Tina Turner and Miles Davis. Third was the swanky Jazz STL bistro itself on Grand Avenue, which had always reminded me of the clubs of the silver screen.

Then there was the proximity of Jazz St. Louis to other important arts venues – like the symphony and the Fox, giving it a well-deserved spot on the cultural stage. And finally, from a strictly visual standpoint, there was the way that Jazz St. Louis sat on the land, spilling out onto a little urban park, just as its music did. Some things are so cool, they just can’t be contained.

But actually, I didn’t make art of Jazz St. Louis because of Scott Joplin or Tina Turner or Miles Davis or the building or the park. I did it because, on a rainy day in Tower Grove, a mother and her teenage daughter asked me to. The daughter was doing an internship with Jazz St. Louis. For the next five minutes, we talked about her music.

I don’t know how it is that music or art or dance or theater gets into the blood of young people. But I do know that the encouragement of others brings it center stage. It happened to me a long time ago. And it’s happening now to St. Louis’ young artists. It is because of arts programs in the community that St. Louis continues to be a powerhouse of creative talent, and that makes life better for all of us. Even on a gray day. Especially on a gray day.

And so it was on another gray day ten months later that a woman approached me at Laumeier Art Fair. “I met you at Tower Grove last year,” she said. “My daughter’s with Jazz St. Louis?” I handed the woman a calendar and opened it to February, the longest short month of the year, when spring feels hopelessly far away. Before the green leaves and pink flowers and blue skies roll in to distract us. When there’s just that one thing: that beat, that strain of a saxophone, taking center stage.

 

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Jazz St. Louis is the February feature in my 2023 A YEAR IN THE CITY calendar, now on sale for just $15 at ayearinthecity.com/newproducts. This image is also available as an 11 x 14 litho print or a limited-edition 16 x 20 archival print.

A Minute in the City 1-9-23: What is art?

At last fall’s art fairs, I showcased my print of 100 Above the Park, the new St. Louis building designed by noted architect Jeanne Gang and the January subject of my 2023 calendar. It drew more attention than anything I’d hung at a show before. Everyone had an opinion. Not about the art, but about the building.

I would argue that architecture is art in so many ways. And something about hearing all those comments last fall transported me back to art school, where we would critique one another’s projects weekly. Critiques, which often went on for hours, were my least favorite thing about college. It was not easy to have my work picked apart by my peers. It wasn’t easy to pick theirs apart, either. But it was required.

Forty years later, I think I understand why. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And when beholders speak, they steer the future of visual art. The people who came by my booth at the fall shows were doing exactly that by sharing their views on that crazy new building in the West End.

“Hey, look! It’s the artichoke,” somebody said. “It’s that pineapple building!” chimed in someone else. “It’s the coffee filter!” “It’s the Chinese take-out boxes!” “It’s the cheese grater!”

“I know someone who lives there,” a woman told me. “I want to live there,” said another. “I couldn’t stand to live there with those slanted walls. I’d be afraid to look out.”

“I would want to look out over the park.” “I’d want to look east, toward the arch.” “Can you see the arch from there?” “I don’t know. Do they have balconies?”

“I remember when it was going up. I said what the hell?” “All that glass!” “It looks different than everything around it. Out of place.” “It looks different than anything around it, and I think that’s good, you know?”

“Everybody gets a corner, I heard.” “That’s all it is. Corners.” “Depending on where you’re standing, it looks square or rectangular or some other shape. I can’t get my head around it.”

“I like seeing it from the park.” “Nope. From around back, the northeast, I think.” “It has a different vibe.”

Yes. The 100 Building definitely has a different vibe. And, with its stacked and splayed design, it does kind of look like an artichoke (and everything else it’s been called.) But, before I displayed it at my booth, I had no idea the buzz it would create. All the talk doesn’t mean the design is good, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad, either. It just means that it is seen, that people are responding to it.

Back in college, I was forced to respond to art. That was part of my visual training. Once, two hours into a critique, an instructor posed the question, “What is art?” which pretty much guaranteed that we’d be sitting there for another two hours. We didn’t reach a consensus on the subject that day. But 40 years later, I think we’re getting closer. When hundreds of people see the same picture in a single day and feel compelled to comment, it really does matter. It says that art is shaping our world, that raw inspiration and nonlinear thinking continue to work with science and technology to move us forward. You know the art is working when people respond.

Next month, the individual prints from my 2023 calendar will go on sale. And, by this time next year, I’ll have a pretty good idea which of the new images resonate most. Will it be the iconic ones that celebrate St. Louis’ history? Will it be those that recount a “day in the life” of customers? Or will it be those that get us talking? Whichever way it goes, the responses matter. The eye of the beholder shapes what comes next.

 

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100 Above the Park is the January feature in my 2023 A YEAR IN THE CITY calendar. In February, it will go on sale as an 11 x 14 litho print. It is available now as a limited-edition 16 x 20 archival print. Both the calendar and prints can be found at ayearinthecity.com/shop.

A Minute in the City 10-22-22: A Print Primer

In the spring of 2018, about the time I sold my last calendar for the year, I discovered there was a market for my trimmed-down “calendar” prints. This was a surprising little byproduct of the calendar that I hadn’t even thought of before. That first year – and every year after – I was able to sell prints from leftover stock at the end of the season.

In late February of every year, I sign and package prints from my surplus inventory and put them up for sale. For my customers, it’s an inexpensive way to nab multiples of their favorite images. For me, it’s a responsible use of overstock and a way to extend the calendar season indefinitely. It really is a win-win for all.

I currently sell 58 different images as 11 x 14 prints for just nine dollars apiece, and I’m really comfortable with that price point. Like so many things in this city, my prints are affordable to all.

But these little gems are finite in number, and the per-unit cost of reprints is much higher than a full calendar run. It just isn’t feasible to go back on press for a single image. When a print is gone, it’s gone.

Earlier this month, at the Best of Missouri Market, that happened with my print of the MOBOT Garden Glow. The December feature from my 2021 calendar was the first of my prints to sell out completely. A few more are likely to follow in the coming months.

There is good news in all of this. First, judging from the interest in my 11 x 14 prints, it appears that the St. Louis experience is valued. That means a lot to me. Second, I still have 58 different nine-dollar prints available for sale. And third, every image I have ever created is still being sold as a limited-edition archival print, including the Garden Glow!

Archival prints are much different from litho prints – or “calendar prints” as I often call them. Here’s a side-by-side comparison to help determine which type of print is right for you.

I don’t know that I’d be doing this deep dive into prints, were it not for the fact that my sales seem to be nudging me in that direction. But, as sad as I am to say goodbye to that little print of the Garden Glow, I really am excited about the bigger picture. In just a few short months, I’ll have 84 giclée images on my site, prints that people can hang in their homes and pass down to loved ones, prints that will remind those in the next century just how much we loved St. Louis today.  

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Archival prints and litho “calendar prints” are available for sale at ayearinthecity.com/newproducts

A Minute in the City 7-12-22: Your Home is Your Castle

My husband and I love houses. We love them so much so, in fact, that we’ve purchased ten of them over the years.  We buy houses like most people buy shoes, not quite wearing them out before feasting our eye on the next. And whenever we go driving, we always see one or two more we want. But, in spite of this obsession with houses, it’s rare that I get to include one in my calendar.

And that’s too bad. Because St. Louis has some pretty amazing houses. There are the gorgeous Queen Annes of Webster Groves, miles of mid-centuries in Crestwood and U City, the stately Victorians of Lafayette Square, the Arts and Crafts bungalows of south city. Like a box of assorted chocolates, each is more tempting than the last.

Inside, though, every house is a home. And our homes are our castles, safe places to kick off our shoes and forget our troubles. Places where we can zone out, be quiet, find rest.

But what if your home really is a castle? What if the place you live really is that place people are ogling from the outside? Well, if you live at the Magic Chef Mansion, you let them in.

Last weekend, we finally stepped inside the Magic Chef Mansion, a home we’d first learned about in 2019. It was built for the founder of Magic Chef, the world’s largest producer of stoves in the early 1900s. Then in the late 1900s – 1990 to be exact – the mansion was sold to a woman who lived a block or two away. Now people gather at the base of her driveway once a month, and she welcomes them in like friends.

Photo courtesy of the Magic Chef Mansion

Despite its stunning beauty, the authenticity of its furnishings, and its historical significance, the Magic Chef Mansion feels unpretentious. It is a home, first and foremost, a place with a life and a story that keeps on going. Its owner welcomes you into the foyer herself and chats amiably with you for as long as you care to stay. Docents in every room do the same. You’re simply a guest at your neighbor’s house, and that house just happens to be a castle.

When we lived in Olivette, we were often guests at our neighbors’ houses. One of those neighbors was a man named Frank, an artist I had worked for at the very beginning of my career. I still marvel that I got to work for him – he was a trailblazer among designers – and I still marvel that I got to be his neighbor some years later.

Many a night we stood in Frank’s kitchen, sipping wine as he and his wife made dinner. The kitchen, after all, was the heart of their home. And the Magic Chef range was the heart of their kitchen. You see, Frank had designed ranges for Magic Chef early in his career, which gave him a unique way of approaching graphic art. After his Magic Chef days, he started his own company, employing dozens of young artists (including yours truly) in promotional and dimensional design.

Frank’s home in Olivette was small, but it was definitely his castle, a space to let his creative mind take flight. The house had a bridge that ran over a little brook, and an addition that required its own basement on account of that brook. It was filled with the work of painters, sculptors, and industrial designers. It was once featured in a national magazine.

But for all its quirks and charm, Frank’s house was a home. A place with a life and a story.

I was secretly hoping that my tour of the Magic Chef Mansion might lead me back to Frank. I was hoping to find his prototype range on display with a picture of him as a young artist. But, alas, other than the logo on the kitchen appliances, I found no connection to my old boss. And yet, there was something familiar about stepping into a place so extraordinary and feeling 100% at home. That’s the kind of magic that happens when you’re welcomed into someone else’s castle.

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The Magic Chef Mansion is featured in my 2022 A Year in the City calendar. It is also available as a litho and limited-edition archival print. You’ll find all these products at ayearinthecity.com/shop. For more information on the Magic Chef Mansion – or to sign up for a tour – visit magicchefmansion.com. Finally, if you’re interested in Frank’s design, you’ll find a delightful interview with him at https://vimeo.com/23928210.

A Minute in the City 6-3-22: Little Things Mean a Lot

In the first year of the pandemic, a friend of mine set out on the ultimate donut challenge, sampling every donut from every shop in St. Louis over the course of several months. When COVID cases finally started coming down and his family started traveling again, he went out for donuts in other cities, reviewing them on Facebook with his kids. He was taking on the monster problem of COVID in the smallest of ways… with just a little sweetness. And it worked.

My friend’s story was reminiscent of one from my own childhood. Every Saturday morning for eight years, my dad got up early and took me out for donuts on the way to orchestra practice. We went to Dippy Donuts in the mall at seven in the morning, before the other stores were open or the lights were on.

We ordered the same thing every week: one dozen assorted day-old donuts. We consumed them on site – two and a half for each of us – while standing at Dippy’s high-top tables. Then Dad took the rest back home to my mom and sister and brother while I was at orchestra. Looking back, it makes us seem so poor – to be walking through the darkness for a meager meal, to be taking the crumbs home for the rest of the family to divide amongst themselves. You can almost hear the violins playing, can’t you?

But this memory is anything but poor. This was my one hour a week spent as an only child, the one hour I didn’t have to share with anyone else. In some ways, that 2.5-donut allotment and Dad’s endless stream of silly jokes gave me the confidence to sally forth, to believe in myself.

I’m sure I needed that at the time, and my parents knew it. I was the middle child, after all, the one who didn’t get quite as much undivided attention as my siblings did. And I was scrawny and near-sighted and – oh yes – I played the violin, which, back in the day, was about the most uncool thing a person could do. In other words, I was in my awkward years, like everyone else my age. So Dad took on all my monster problems with just a little bit of sweetness. And it worked.

It was never about the donuts exactly. But somewhere along the line, donuts became a symbol in our family of something greater. To this day, when one of us has a job interview or a major hurdle to overcome, we buy them donuts as a small reminder that we believe in them. And this gesture always takes me back to Dippy Donuts, where this verse hung behind the counter:

As you ramble on in life, children
Whatever be your goal
Keep your eye upon the donut
And not upon the hole

I googled it and discovered it is known as The Optimist’s Creed. And it works. When sadness and doubt descend on me, I follow the crumbs back to my Saturday mornings with Dad, and there I find the strength to keep on going. Funny how much the little things mean.

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I chose The Donut Stop as the June feature for my 2022 calendar after sampling donuts from several area shops. The gourmet in me was really smitten with Vincent Van Doughnut, the one-time party girl loved Strange Donuts, the sometimes history buff knew that World’s Fair Donuts had to be in the running. But, when The Donut Stop garnered top honors by Food & Wine Magazine, I had to give it a try. The cinnamon glob looks just like it sounds, but it tastes much much better. And it makes St. Louis such a sweet place to live. The Donut Stop image is available as a limited edition archival print or litho print at ayearinthecity.com.

A Minute in the City 4-26-22: The Thing About Moms and Dads

It was an idea that took years to materialize: greeting cards to celebrate moms and dads.

The reason it took me so long was that I had questions about the subject matter. What did it mean to be a mom or a dad? And how did adult children really feel about the once-a-year celebrations to honor them? The answer was complicated. There was no one-size-fits-all answer.

First, many kids – and let’s face it, we’re all kids – have an expanded idea of what a parent is. Some grow up with extra parents – aunts, uncles, grandparents, and family friends – who love them and lead them and help them explore their universe.

Others grow up with one parent. Or with two moms or two dads. Still others grow up in homes far from their countries and families of origin. How does one create a greeting card for all of them?

It took losing my own parents a few years ago to realize how complicated the parental role is. My mother was a witty woman who could think on her feet, so she could handle anything that came her way. She was a teacher, a domestic engineer, and a practical joker. And she was content to perform all these duties to her own high standards without ever expecting to be recognized for any of them. In fact, she really didn’t like it when I thanked her for being a good mom.

My dad, on the other hand, loved the accolades. And he deserved them. He worked hard all day and played just as hard in the evenings and on weekends. He threw the ball with us in the aisles of the grocery store. He took us swimming at the Y. He took me out for donuts every Saturday morning.

In other words, he was a dad. And my mom was a mom. And the older I get, the more I realize just how much that means. So it was with deep personal reflection and with a recognition of all families that I created Artcards “suitable for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.”

These cards aren’t specific to one parent or the other. And they’re not tied to a single day of the year. But they say what is sometimes hard to say on a daily basis. And they say what is especially hard to say to those who know us better than anybody else. An everyday message for an everyday 24/7 relationship. We’ll be looking up to them forever.

 

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A YEAR IN THE CITY Artcards are designed to “matte in a minute” so they can be displayed as mini-prints after they are received. Packaged 8 to a box with brightly-colored envelopes and all-occasion messages: 2 birthday, 2 love, 2 Mother’s/Father’s Day, 1 “missing you” and 1 congratulations.  Click here to purchase or here to watch the quick little matte-in-a-minute video.

A Minute in the City 4-9-2022: Energy in Motion

I may have been deprived as a child. I didn’t have kinetic sculptures to teach me about science. I didn’t have wind tunnels and archaeological digs. I grew up in a time when science was serious and dangerous and even a little angry. Science wasn’t meant to be fun. It was meant to be intimidating. And my, how it delivered on that promise!

I played through eighth- and ninth-grade science, dressing up the life-sized classroom skeleton and drawing diagrams of Brownian Motion in my notebooks. (You guessed it. The pictures were of brownies running away.)

Later, I discovered that there may have been a reason that I didn’t take STEM more seriously. In an education course I took in college, I learned that girls’ brains develop differently than boys’ do – the right brain being dominant earlier in life, while the opposite is true for boys. Historically, this led educators to believe that women weren’t meant to be scientists. When I learned this, I felt vindicated. I was free to pursue my right-brain impulses! I had permission to ignore science!

And you have permission to judge me for that. Older Janet judges Younger Janet all the time. Especially when I consider the company I am lucky enough to keep now: professors, researchers, and doctors who happen to be women. Not only are they making a difference in the world. They are communicating what they know to the right-brained without prejudice, including little girls.

Only now is my left brain beginning to question the world around me, way too late in life for me to do anything about it. But, if the point of learning is not to advance, but to understand, that’s still something, isn’t it?

So back to the St. Louis Science Center, the largest part of which was erected off of Highway 40 (as it was then called) in 1991. We had just returned to the St. Louis area after a prolonged hiatus, with two little kids in tow. And the science center became one of our favorite places to play.

At the time, I hadn’t learned too much about science, but I’d learned a lot about kids. One thing I’d learned was that play was just another word for learning. And our kids played hard. In many ways, they were like the balls of the Energizer Ball Machine racing above their heads – bright, beautiful illustrations of energy in motion. It took only the slightest nudge and they were off and running – learning, playing, discovering the power within.

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The St. Louis Science Center is the April feature in my 2022 A YEAR IN THE CITY calendar. It is also available as a limited edition archival print or litho print. For more information, see ayearinthecity.com.