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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Artist Peat Wollaeger is "Eyeing" Powell Square

Powell Square, a long abandoned, long vandalized landmark right off of Interstate 55 south of downtown St. Louis, is about to get a new use of sorts--civic billboard. Click here to see a series of Flickr photographs of Powell Square.

According to the Post-Dispatch, Wollaeger was approached by Chivvis Development, developer for the stalled Chouteau's Landing project in which the Powell building sits, to develop a large mural with a positive message to the city.

The message soon to be scrawled across the Powell in a 16 by 16 feet display? "Eye" Heart St. Louis. Yes, Wollaeger's trademark "eye" will stand in place of the letter "I". Above is the Post-Dispatch photograph attached to their article "Peat Wollaeger has his eye on St. Louis", which gives an indication what the piece might look like.

As someone who has called for more uplifting civic images and messages to be placed across St. Louis, I think this is great! I am especially happy Chivvis seems to have backed away from the idea of cleanly renovating the Powell Square building, renaming it the Chouteau's Landing Art Center, and then painting it the least "artsy" of all colors--beige.


kristan said...

Neat project. I must be out of it. I know Peat because he was friends with my little brother in high school, but had not idea he was an artist with a trademark eye.

Kevin Barbeau said...

That's pretty good. Although I'd like to see the original plan go into action because let's face it, to the uninformed, graffiti is graffiti regardless of whether it's commissioned. But I'll go with it.

Can we get another on there that says: (Eye) don't care where you went to high school!

It's a big world and this high school obsession just segregates us from it and discourages outsiders. Time to let that 'cute' St. Louisan trait go.

mattH said...

The only time I hear about this "obsession" with the high school question is when people like yourself bring it up and gripe about it. Most of us non-natives have no clue what you are talking about and have never heard anyone actually ask the question.

Oh, and the design for the renovation of Powell Square is quite bland.

kristan said...

@kevin, how else would I describe how my brother knew this Peat kid? I shall rewrite my comment to describe that my brother knew Peat in secondary school.

By the way, I didn't even mention the high school to which I was referring. In fact, I'm not sure where Mr. Wollaeger went to high school. I used the word high school to describe the period of time when my brother knew him.

Kevin Barbeau said...

Oh wow. Hey, I really wasn't trying to ruffle any feathers, fellas -- especially you, bm -- i didn't even realize my comment could be (accidentally) linked to yours.

The high school thing is just something that's been bouncing around my head for awhile and I kind of shoe-horned it into the story. I was just thinking of ways to wake up the city and saying 'don't be so closed off' through art seemed as good an opportunity as ever.

Sorry bm. And Matt, I'm a non-native too and it is a very real 'quirk' which is good for a laugh but does speak volumes about this city's closed off tendencies.

Also, the Powell redesign may be bland, but it's approachable. Beige probably isn't the best choice, but just because the building will house art work and artists, doesn't mean the building needs to be a canvas itself. At least the graffiti being commissioned will be meaningful -- but only as a placeholder until (hopefully) the renovation.

I don't want to abduct this post, which is very interesting and exciting in its own right, so I'll apologize again and back away slowly...

Carrie Nenonen said...

I love Peat. So much so, I am the proud owner of one of his eyes. I say, stencil on. Ever time I see his work, it makes me smile!

Doug Duckworth said...

The Powell should be rehabbed KEEPING all Graffiti.

Anonymous said...

An inside look at the powell square building...

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