Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Arts Council hosts solo exhibitions for spooky First Friday

Saturday, October 12, 2019

On the first Friday of every month, Cape Girardeau has several entertaining activities available downtown for the community thanks to the Arts Council and other organizations.

The Arts Council hosted Mary Robbins and Michael Baird at an opening reception for their respective exhibits Friday, Oct. 4, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Robbins is the media specialist at the Heather MacDonald Greene Multimedia Center in Kent Library. Her exhibit on Spanish Street consists of a multitude of painted circles paired with embroidery thread. Robbins has pin-up buttons and framed work available to view or buy.

Robbins spoke about how the circles were meant to inspire meditation.

“I like feeling the color and then reacting to that,” Robbins said. “I really love color.”

Michael Baird exhibited a collection of folktales come to life. Baird teaches sculpture at the Missouri University of Science and Technology and spends a lot of time researching mythical beasts and recreating the creatures with media such as taxidermy, plaster and ceramics.

Baird said his interest in mythical mysteries began at a young age, and cited influences such as Sesame Street.

“Of course I was going to be into monsters,” Baird said. “It really wasn’t an option for me.”

An associate of the gallery, Kelly Downes, discussed the specifics of hosting galleries. Downes said she is in charge of finding artists to fill the gallery, which gets a new exhibition every month. Different events require different artists, so a prospectus is sent out online.

“With member shows or with solo shows, those artists are usually people a little bit closer to the Arts Council,” Downes said.

Cape Girardeau residents Pat Dahl and Susan Koen met at the gallery and discussed their love for art.

“We are both career art teachers,” Koen said.

The art enthusiasts explained the importance of public galleries to the community, especially for those who may not be regulars at the galleries.

“It might introduce some of the community that is not already involved in the arts,” Dahl said.

Koen said she is a regular among First Friday events.

“It's one day a month that I know I'm going to be going to the art galleries,” Koen said.

The Arts Council is located at 16 North Spanish Street. These exhibits will remain open until Oct. 26.

The Art Council's next activities will take place in November.