The Luminary, the self-styled “expansive platform for art, thought and action” in St. Louis’ Benton Park West neighborhood, recently opened a multifaceted initiative by Aaron Fowler entitled “N2EXISTENCE.”
According to a press release from the organization, the yearlong series of projects includes, currently or prospectively, a community-centered retail storefront on Cherokee Street, an exhibition at The Luminary proper, billboards by other area artists, a mural near Fowler’s childhood home at 16th and Carr streets, and a permanent public art commission in north St. Louis.
The artist, whose work has been exhibited both across the U.S. and in London’s distingué Saatchi Gallery, splits his time between here and Los Angeles. With “N2EXISTENCE,” Fowler returns to St. Louis to create “the largest series of projects of his career and the first in his hometown,” the release states.
The storefront launched the series on Oct. 10 at 2834 Cherokee St., due east of The Luminary, in St. Louis’ Gravois Park neighborhood. It focuses on “manifesting the dreams of Fowler’s family, friends and communities throughout the St. Louis region,” states the release. “The name [‘N2EXISTENCE’] is a nod to words of encouragement – almost a mantra – that the artist’s grandmother has uttered his entire life: ‘You need to speak it into existence.’”
With the storefront, the release continues, Fowler seeks to speak “a new future into existence, as an aspiration of hope, for himself, his family and his city in this moment of traumatic change. The storefront will be a space in which a growing group of creators from around the region who may not otherwise have access can try new ideas, present their work to the public and collaborate directly with the artist to create new works to share. Fowler hopes the project helps build ‘a movement to create cultural change, inspiring people to use their passions to manifest new realities of freedom.’”
Starting with fashion designer Traci Petty, a lifelong friend of Fowler’s, creators at the storefront “will rotate every few weeks through March 2021, ranging from podcast makers, shoe designers, recording artists and entrepreneurs,” according to the release.
“We think this is an ideal series of projects for our time, growing out of the pandemic and uprisings of this season into potential new paths forward grounded in collaboration, equity, and manifesting new visions of home and healing,” James McAnally, The Luminary’s executive and artistic director, states in the release.
With The Luminary, STLMade is supporting Fowler’s “N2EXISTENCE.”
The Luminary, 2701 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314-773-1533, theluminaryarts.com
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