Art Trail
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Welcome to the greatriverroad.com art trail. While researching the Great River Road area around St. Louis the editors of greatriverroad.com came across a surprisingly large number of festivals, galleries, museums, shops, and studios that involved the visual or performing arts. So much so that the decision was made to create a new section devoted to the art community of the Middle Mississippi River Valley. Most of the attractions and events on the greatriverroad.com art trail are within a few hours drive from St. Louis making an interesting way to spend an afternoon. The area covered is too large to spend exploring in one day so we suggest that you choose a region to concentrate on. 
   
 

FEATURED ATTRACTION
 

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
Saint Louis, Missouri

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, commonly known as the Saint Louis Cathedral or the New Cathedral was built in between 1907 and 1909 as replacement for the Church of Saint Louis IX, King of France (the Old Cathedral.) Two half domes stand beside the main dome, and pointed twin towers flank the center of the front of this Romanesque style church. The interior is decorated in the Byzantine tradition with mosaics made with over 41,000,000 glass tesserae tiles using over 8,000 shades of color. A museum dedicated to the mosaics is on the lower level of the cathedral.

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Meeting of the Great Rivers
Scenic Byway Area

Hundreds of artists make their home in the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway area and their showcase event of the year is ArtEast, the Alton and Edwardsville Studio Tour held every year in October. During this event the artists open their studios (photo right) and display their work in the studios or other venues. The newly opened Jacoby Arts Center in Alton has special exhibits featuring local artists as well as providing classes and workspace. There are private galleries in Alton and don’t forget the drive up the scenic Great River Road to view the 19th century architecture of scenic Elsah and to visit Grafton and its galleries and art shops.

French Colonial Country
The area south of St. Louis has its roots from the French settlers who came to this region in the early 18th century. Visitors can view unique French Creole architecture in the towns of Ste. Genevieve and Cahokia. Ste. Genevieve was once home to an art colony during the Depression era and local artists are keeping the tradition alive with annual art events. The region is the home of Roscoe Misselhorn, considered the Norman Rockwell of the Midwest, and galleries in Ste. Genevieve and Sparta showcase his work. The newly opened Schmidt Art Center (photo right) in Belleville features rotating exhibits featuring local artists as well as their collection of fine art and also an outdoor sculpture exhibit.  

Gateway to the West - St. Louis & St. Louis County, Missouri
St. Louis is home to a vibrant art scene. New and revitalized institutions, along with world-class architecture and public sculpture can be found throughout the city and county. The Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park is one of the nation's leading comprehensive art museums containing more than 30,000 works of art of exceptional quality from virtually every culture and time period. The Grand Center neighborhood is home to the midtown arts district with five free museums – the St. Louis University Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, and the Sheldon Art Galleries - within blocks of each other. The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis contains the largest mosaic collection in the world. Created by 20 different artists, the mosaic artwork covers 83,000 square feet and took over 75 years to complete. The Laumeier Sculpture Park in suburban Kirkwood is a 105-acre open-air museum in St. Louis County that features over 80 works of contemporary sculpture by internationally acclaimed artists.

Meeting the Missouri River - St. Charles County, Missouri
The Historic Main Street district in downtown St. Charles features 14 blocks with shops, art galleries, and restaurants and is home to a number of art related events throughout the year. The Festival of the Little Hills in August Activities includes over 300 craft and artisan booths. MOsaics is a fine art festival held in September that is dedicated to making a high-quality arts experience as accessible to as many people as possible. The event invites approximately 125 artists to exhibit and sell their original art work. The Foundry Art Centre is located on the banks of the Missouri River located in a 1940-era building that was formerly part of the American Car and Foundry complex. The Centre features the studios of over twenty selected artists (photo right,) three galleries for rotating exhibits, and a Grand Hall for the performing arts.  

Missouri's Lincoln Hills - The Great River Road north of St. Louis
The art scene is growing along the banks of the Mississippi River north of St. Louis in the historic river towns of Hannibal, Louisiana, Clarksville. The Clarksville and Louisiana area is becoming a refuge for artists, many who have shops in the downtown districts and Hannibal has a number of studios and galleries. The premier art event is the 50 Miles of Art adventure where professional artists and artisans in Hannibal, Louisiana, Clarksville, and surrounding communities open their studios, galleries, and retail spaces to the public. Louisiana features a mural project with over 20 outdoor scenes painted by local artists (photo right) and the Henry Lay Sculpture Garden of St. Louis University where visitors can see works by nationally and internationally known sculptors.

The Tri-State Area - Western Illinois, Southwestern Iowa & Northeastern Missouri
The Tri-State region of Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri has a robust art scene. In Quincy both the Quincy Art Center and the Oakley Lindsay Center offer programs and exhibitions to meet the needs of the area’s artists. Quincy University’s Gray Gallery hosts a number of exhibitions throughout the year. There are annual art festivals throughout the year, most notably the Midsummer Arts Faire at the end of June. The Quincy Community Theater is a good example of how the performing arts are supported. In Fort Madison visitors can see monthly exhibitions at the gallery of the Fort Madison Area Arts Association and Art in Central Park is a large festival held in September. In Canton at Culver Stockton University exhibitions are held at the Mabee Art Gallery.
 
FEATURED ATTRACTIONS ALONG THE GREAT RIVER ROAD
Foundry Art Centre
St. Charles, MO
Augusta
Missouri
Mississippi
River Ferries
Ste. Genevieve
Missouri
     






 
  Regional Guides
to the Middle Mississippi River Valley
 
       
  Meeting of the Great Rivers
National Scenic Byway
Ste. Genevieve &
French Colonial Country
Gateway to the West
St. Louis & St. Louis County
        
 
   Meeting the Missouri
Historic St. Charles County
The Lincoln Hills Region
Northeast Missouri
   
 
  The Tri-States Area
Iowa, Illinois & Missouri
The Mississippi River
Meets the Ohio River
   
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