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‘2-5-Oh!’ Exhibition Tells Story Of ‘Surprise, Sadness and Struggle' In St. Louis

Perseverance and triumph in St. Louis history will be explored in a new exhibition, opening today at Salon 53, a private art gallery in north St. Louis.

"2-5-Oh! Surprise, Sadness and Struggle in the Mound City" is part of a year-long series by the new Alliance of Black Art Galleries, called “St. Louis Through Artists’ Eyes,” in connection with St. Louis’ 250th birthday.

The 25 artists of "2-5-Oh!," all with ties to St. Louis, examine good times and bad. Their work reflects on adversity brought about by repression and discrimination, beginning with St. Louis’ original Native American inhabitants. It continues with an exploration of real-estate redlining that kept African Americans and others from living in many neighborhoods.

Credit Provided by Freida Wheaton
Freida Wheaton

Salon 53 owner Freida Wheaton told St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon that the component of "struggle" marks the challenges that led to achievement.

“To get to the ‘happy’ in life sometimes you have to go through a lot of hurdles,” Wheaton said. “We wanted to include those aspects of those struggles that eventually lead to triumph.”

Wheaton hopes that people will leave the exhibit with a feeling that St. Louis is not several cities, but one cohesive place.

“We’re not the North Side, we’re not the South Side, we’re not the West End, to the exclusion of other geographic areas,” Wheaton said. “I’m hopeful they will have a sense of ‘What do we need to do next as we kick off year 251?’”

More Alliance Openings Through April

"2-5-Oh! Surprise, Sadness and Struggle” runs through Dec. 31. It’s one of eight exhibitions of “St. Louis Through Artists’ Eyes,” which opened on Feb. 1 with "We Have Not Forgotten" atGya Community Gallery on Locust Avenue. “Not Forgotten,” an exploration of local history and some of the African Americans who helped make it, runs through March 7.

"Celebrating the Past," the Alliance's second exhibition in the series is open at 10th Street Gallery near Washington Avenue. On Feb. 29, 14th Street Artist Community Gallery will debut its “St. Louis Blues: A Musical Legacy." On March 1, Portfolio Gallery in Grand Center opens "Moments The Time of Your Life," which includes “Songbird,” featuring South African artist Jabu. And on March 8, Bentil's Jah’z Art Private Gallerypresents “Kreative ConneXions" with a viewing that’s open to the public.

More “St. Louis Through Artists’ Eyes” exhibition openings continue through the spring at L. D. Ingrum Gallery & Studio and Exodus Gallery, which debut their shows April 19.


‘2-5-Oh! Surprise, Sadness and Struggle in the Mound City’
Where: Salon 53, a private residential gallery, 4932 Maffitt Pl., 63113
When: Opens Saturday, Feb. 22; runs through Dec. 31
How much: Free; by reservation only; call 314-494-4660 or email FreiWhea@aol.com
Information:STL250 website

Follow Nancy Fowler on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.