St. Louis is on the move. Two new hotels are enchanting guests, The Arch Museum has reopened, and the new aquarium has been delayed but will open before the end of the year. St Louis may have lost the AKC Museum of the Dog to New York City, but it has become the international center for photography and chess. The Grand Center Arts District that contains such icons as Powell Symphony Hall, its better brother, the acoustically perfect Sheldon Concert Hall, and the Fabulous Fox Theater is growing and thriving. It now contains the new Angad Arts Hotel and at least 26 arts offering venues including my favorite, The International Photography Hall of Fame.
The other relatively new international attractant is the World Chess Hall of Fame in the Central West End. It came to St. Louis in 2011 and 2 years later started the Sinquefield Cup, a grandmaster tournament. Its hall of fame contains some famous names like Benjamin Franklin and Bobby Fischer but also some not so well-known chess experts like Maurice Ashley. The International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum’s roots are in California and Oklahoma, but it came to this Arts District in 2013. Both now have deep roots in St. Louis.
The International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum has been promoting an exciting feature since Ruth & I last visited, a Hall of Fame. It has actually been celebrating photography innovators like George Eastman since 1965 but now presents Lifetime Achievement awards and inducts practitioners each year. Its 2019 ceremony will occur on November 1, but the 8 inductees and 2 lifetime achievement award recipients have not only been announced but are already being profiled in the museum. One of the 2 achievers this year is singer Kenny Rogers. Neither Ruth nor I knew that this man who has sold more than 100,000,000 recordings is also a noted photographer. Eight photographers will join the 91 previous inductees like Ansel Adams in the IPHF Hall of Fame. An excellent source of info about them is website iphf.org. Already in is photographer John Sexton, who took the sensational “Corn Lily” photo above. The gorgeous lake view is by Adams.
IPHF continues to offer outstanding exhibitions. The current one, which is up until July 6, 2019, honors St Louis’ Sister City Nanjing, China after a 40 year association. This beautiful show includes about 150 images of Nanjing, but my favorite is local, a view of The Arch and Old Courthouse done in Nanjing’s singular Gold Foil-forging technique. IPHF’s next show sounds even more enticing. From July 20 to September 7 it will be resplendent with “Moment by Moment: the Photography of John Loengard”. I was told that this photography master who contributed many photos to Life Magazine during a long career will be in St Louis, as will Ruth and I, at some point during this show. His Moment to Moment book features one of his photographs of The Beatles on its cover.
Local business Emerson, which I grew up knowing as Emerson Electric, has provided a grant to IPHF to inventory all of its 2,264 cameras. Only a few of them can be on display at any given time. Go see them and St. Louis this summer.