This morning Urban Farmer Arthur Culbert sent the following note and accompanying photos which I am delighted to bring to your attention.
Good morning Nicki. I hope you are well. I wanted to share with you that I was Inspired by Mary Engelbreit's work (see previous post) and I wondered what I could do. Nancy and I decided to miss a week (first in four years) of deliveries to our two food pantries here in the CWE (Trinity and Second Presbyterian Churches) and instead take this beautiful bounty, above, of more than 100 pounds of fresh greens and other vegetables to the residents of Ferguson.
We connected with Herc, co-owner of Red's Barbecue, in red apron above. Herc was delighted to help with the distribution throughout the day making sure it reached the hands of residents in Ferguson. As Herc said, "It doesn't get any better and that barbecue and fresh greens will put a smile on the faces of many."
Pictured from left are Arthur Culbert, Herc, Arthur & Nancy Culbert's daughter Katie Patton, Nancy, and Shaun, co-owner of Red's Barbecue.
I believe that we can all make a difference. Arthur
Stop by and see the bountiful CWE Farm located on Waterman a couple of blocks west of Kingshighway. Arthur has done an incredible job of providing fresh produce for the neighborhood food pantries, as mentioned above. His program has become part of the curriculum at the neighborhood's New City School too. Read more about it here and here.
Mary Engelbreit, whose very "cute" studio is located in the CWE, says she was shocked at the response she received after posting a drawing, above, on Facebook. About 700 people "unFriended" her, and Facebook removed the poster in reaction to requests saying it was offensive. On the "breit" side, 10,000 people became "Friends." Facebook has since apologized and put the poster back on, and promised it won't happen again. As Mary said in an email: "This was offensive?....when a photograph of a reporter's beheading was allowed to remain on Facebook?"
In an interview with Diana Reese who writes a blog for TheWashington Post website, Mary explained that seeing Michael Brown's anguished mother touched a nerve (read it here) and "So she did what she does when she’s upset to process events and emotions: She draws." Mary was "hoping the drawing 'could help in some small way' and perhaps lead to a dialog about race relations."
An 11 x 14 print of "In the USA" is being sold on ME Store's website. T-shirts will be available soon. All proceeds will be donated to the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund, which is coordinated by Straub’s, where Michael Brown’s mother works.
Mary concluded her email with these words, "What a world...what a world."
P. S. - To hear Mary's touching interview with Steve Potter on Cityscape (NPR's St. Louis Public Radio) click here.
Two reporters from The Washington Post, East Asia Bureau Chief Chico Harlan and Video Producer Lee Powell were roaming the CWE Thursday afternoon. The following article appeared on The Washington Post's website Friday.
A portion of the article is copied below. To see the related video and read article in its entirety click here:
To get a sense of the fracture that cuts this city in two, drive along Delmar Boulevard, a major four-lane road that runs east to west. Hit the brakes when you see an Aldi grocery store and put your finger on the blinker. Decide which world to enter.
In the blocks to the immediate south: Tudor homes, wine bars, a racquet club, a furniture store selling sofas for $6,000. The neighborhood, according to U.S. Census data, is 70 percent white.
In the blocks to the immediate north: knocked-over street signs, collapsing houses, fluttering trash, tree-bare streets with weeds blooming from the sidewalk. The neighborhood is 99 percent black.
The geography of almost every U.S. city reveals at least some degree of segregation, but in St. Louis, the break between races — and privilege — is particularly drastic, so defined that those on both sides speak often about a precise boundary. The Delmar Divide, they call it, and it stands as a symbol of the disconnect that for years has bred grievances and frustrations, emotions that exploded into public view on the streets of the majority-black suburb of Ferguson after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager. Ferguson is north of Delmar; the suburb of Crestwood, where the officer lives, is south.
Even the way people perceive the Aug. 9 shooting and the street protests that have followed is influenced by geography.
Map of St. Louis, Missouri (The Washington Post)
“I’m one of those people that feels sorry for the officer,” said Paul Ruppel, 41, a white business owner who lives just to the south of the divide. “For the most part, I believe the police of St. Louis are doing a great job.”
Said Alvonia Crayton, an African American woman who lives just to the north of Delmar: “My reaction is, what took them so long? Michael Brown was basically the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
St. Louis’s geographic divide stems from a legacy of segregation — legal and illegal — and more recent economic stratification that has had the effect of reinforcing racial separation. Even now, some tony suburbs maintain large-lot single-family zoning, essentially closing the door to lower-earners who might want to subdivide a property.
St. Louis, its urban center hollowed out, has had far less of the gentrification that has transformed other Rust Belt cities, including Chicago and Pittsburgh. Look at a map of St. Louis, color-coded by race, and majority-African American communities sit almost exclusively to the north — that is, above Delmar.
“You have a division between the haves and have-nots,” commented Carol Camp Yeakey, founding director of the Center on Urban Research & Public Policy and Interdisciplinary Program in Urban Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. “People on one side are prospering, and the people on the other side are not.”
The divide is hardly absolute. Middle-class and well-off African American families are scattered throughout the northern part of the city and St. Louis County. Some areas, like University City and Florissant, have long been considered appealing places to live.
Missouri Style Week, which has been wowing a stylish crowd at The Moto Museum in Grand Center this past week (Wednesday through tonight, Saturday), was founded by Cillah Hall, whose business Xanadu Public Relations is located in the CWE. Her partner in the MOSW venture is K. Lee Productions.
The photos above and below were taken during Friday night's runway show and feature fashions by designer Jaer Caban. The emcee at last night's event was L. A.- based "Stylist to the Stars" Derek Warburton, whose gold shoes were photographed almost as much as the models on the runway. The nonprofit spotlight for the evening (each night features a different nonprofit) was focused on Connection for Success.
The video shows the fashions of designer Alexis Cook. At the end of the video you'll see Cillah Hall wearing a red dress stand to applaud the designer.
The beautiful collection of designer Trang Nguyen, seen at the end of the video.
If you missed an earlier post about the amazing Cillah Hall, read it here. In addition to Missouri Style Week, which Cillah describes as staging four weddings back-to-back, Cillah recently launched a new magazine, Gazelle STL. The publication has been so successful that Gazelle, which was slated to be published quarterly, will become a bi-monthly after the first of the year.
The photograph of designer Kristen Kempton, above, who moved to the CWE after she fell in love with the neighborhood following her participation in the CWE Flea, was taken during an interview for an earlier post (here). Kristen's been working night and day getting her collection, "iheartfink," ready for tonight's turn on the runway. There are four additional designers on the program this evening: Richard Cotto (Avante Garde), Olivia Radle, Hasheli and Rachel Frank.
Missouri Style Week, tonight (Saturday), 6 to 7:45 p.m. "Style Marketplace," 8 to 9 p.m. Runway Show, $35. Tonight's nonprofit spotlight is Urban League of St. Louis; Emcee: Post-Dispatch Music Critic Kevin Johnson. Steve Smith, founder of The Moto Museum, 3441 Olive St., is a huge sponsor of the event.
Purchasing tickets online has a CWE connection too: Chris Holt and Eric Hamblett of Bazaarboy.com & TechArtista are handling ticket sales.
CWEnder Suzanne Miller sent the following email which she has allowed me to post here:
"If you are wondering how to help those affected in Ferguson by the riots, the biggest need is diapers, formula, toilet paper, toiletries and non perishable food. I was up there yesterday and they told me that diapers and toilet paper were in short supply but all would be gratefully accepted. With many unable to leave their homes in the ‘ground zero’ area of the riots and many unable to get to work, the need is great. If you would like to help, I will be making another trip with goods to donate to the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church food pantry on Sunday and will happily add your donations to the mix. You can leave your donations on my front porch at 4531 Maryland Avenue.
Landscape designer Steve Schultz has created a very dense and lush sidewalk garden for the Residences at Forest Park Hotel, located at 4910 West Pine. The plantings pictured above and in the photos below wrap the corner of the building at Euclid.
This post, which has been sitting in my draft folder for months, happens to be one of my favorites. I can't explain why it's taken so long to bring it to you, but as summer comes to an abrupt end with children heading back to school, it seems that now is an approprite time.
As I was walking home late one afternoon in mid-March I glanced in Left Bank Books and noticed an author event in progress. It was then that I remembered that children's author and syndicated cartoonist Lincoln Peirce (Purse) was scheduled for a 5 p.m. event. I never need an excuse to stop in the neighborhood bookstore, in fact I try to limit my visits since I know I'll always be tempted by a new book. But after a particularly stressful day, and with no particular schedule to follow, I slipped into the back row and immediately relaxed while observing the scene.
Ninety percent of the audience was male; all were accompanied by a parent or two, several arrived with sisters in tow, and one arrived with a story-book-perfect dog, above. There was nary a digital reader in sight, instead, all of the kids, boys and the few girls in attendance, had copies of Big NateIn the Zone (the sixth in the author's series) in their laps. As Peirce answered questions, the kids hung on his every word. There was something so sweet about the easy rapport between the author and his young readers.
Perhaps the easy banter is due to Peirce's early career teaching art and coaching baseball at the all-boys St. Francis Xavier High School in New York City. At least one of his characters is based on a student he taught in those early years.
Peirce left the teaching profession after three years to become a writer and eventually a syndicated cartoonist. Big Nate comic strips appear in 300 newspapers in the U.S. and online daily (here).
The audience requested that the author draw favorite Big Nate characters, which he was more than happy to do (that's Pickles the Cat above), except for one - Chester - whom he says will never be drawn so the character can be left up to the reader's imagination. Someone also wanted to know how long it takes him to write a book: 5 months for the story and then 5 months for the drawings. The author plans a total of 8 Big Nate books.
When asked why his female characters are so annoying (by a girl in the audience) Peirce said he actually created the character Dee Dee, who's not a pest, after his first visit to St. Louis years ago, when a girl in the audience asked the same question. Pierce explained that to Nate, who's in sixth grade, girls are annoying.
The stop at the bookstore that early spring afternoon certainly lifted my spirits, and on my way out I purchased a book for myself too...no surprise there.
Author Susan Vreeland at Left Bank Books Tues. 7 p.m. author of "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" to discuss "Lisette's List" available at special "staycation" 20% off. Sample complimentary wine & French confections during reading, free event but click on link to rsvp, 399 N. Euclid.
Pop Up Museum across from Pulitzer Foundation Sun. 9/7 Noon to 4, a pop-up created by the people, for the people. Bring object to tell story about STL's unique approach to food, music, architecture, etc., like "Antiques Roadshow" meets "Story Corps," under the "Lots" installation (a temporary construction by Freecell Architecture.