St. Louis-area visual arts community sees a boom in young talent | Arts & Culture


Photo of Mona Chalabi by Heather Sten, courtesy of St. Louis Museum of Contemporary Art

The metropolitan area’s visual arts community has recently seen an incredible boom in young talent. These inspirational artists may well shape the future of the local scene, and so they have great insight into the biggest current challenges in their chosen field of endeavor, how they hope to overcome those challenges, and what inspires them to tackle them. day after day. .

“One of the most pressing challenges for artists in the St. Louis metro area, I believe, is finding ways for artists to authentically address the community’s most pressing issues with their artwork. “, comments BJ Parker, a member of the St. Louis Artists’ Guild. .

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Photo courtesy of BJ Parker and St. Louis Artists’ Guild

Parker works in graphite, charcoal, and oil, is currently a senior instructor at the Gateway Academy of Classical Art in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, and is characterized as an Old Testament scholar.

His website,, notes his commitment “to advancing the realist tradition in the world of contemporary art. Mindful of this challenge, I aim to let St. Louis and its history nurture myself with the hope that when I draw and paint, the roots of the city support each work,” Parker says.

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One of Parker’s colleagues at the guild also contemplates what could be the biggest speed bump on the road to success, satisfaction, or both for painters, sculptors, and similar creators of visual art.

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“Companionship” by Dominic Finocchio, 2022, oil on canvas, 24×18 inches, courtesy of Duane Reed Gallery

“I would cite the biggest challenge for artists in the metro area today as more solo exhibition opportunities in the region, as well as getting their shows published,” says Zackary Petot, who is an adjunct professor at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park. Petot’s website,, notes that his own print “explores themes of queer codes within the LGBTQ+ community, which are still referenced or long lost in our current queer culture.”

“As exhibition director at the Artists’ Guild of St. Louis,” he continues, “I try to create as many of these opportunities as possible in our exhibition schedule, to help provide that for artists in the metropolitan area, but [also] as an artist myself…to encourage artists in the area to keep pushing and doing their best to spread their works in the community.

To some extent, photographer Tiff J. Sutton echoes Petot. “What I find to be the biggest challenge for me is finding commercial galleries to exhibit my work,” she notes. “The field of art is very competitive and it is difficult to stand out. My way of getting noticed was by exhibiting in unconventional galleries and having engaging social media and a good website.


“A warm stone” by Kelly Kristin Jones, 2022, archival pigment print, 17×22 inches, courtesy of the artist

Sutton notes that his website,, “works with digital, film and instant cameras.” On her website, she states that she “decided to work exclusively with black women, as a way to reconnect with herself and discuss social movements.”

From a multitude of perspectives, the visual arts landscape in the metropolitan area remains exciting – and certainly deserves continued exploration by aficionados of all ages.

St. Louis Artists Guild, 12 N. Jackson Ave., Clayton, 314-727-6266,


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