Three Art Events You Should Not Miss in July

Missouri Life Market Fair

Enjoy the summer blooms and live entertainment at Powell Gardens for a two-day festival celebrating Missouri makers on Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

With local art fairs canceled earlier this season, the Missouri Life Market Fair, in collaboration with Missouri Life Magazine, gives us an opportunity to view nearly 100 booths showcasing regional paintings, sculpture, photography, and prints, as well as arts and crafts up close.

It’s also a great opportunity to sample regional fare from distillers, winemakers, and food artisans.

Food trucks and tastings available.

Members’ admission is free. Tickets are available through powellgardens.org.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

Who are the lions of Fifth Avenue? If you’ve traveled to New York City, you know they’re stone and guard the New York Public Library. In fiction, we’ve had librarians as super-heroes, keepers of age-old secrets, and guardians of the ancient past. In Fiona Davis’ new novel, The Lions of Fifth Avenue, we have librarians clashing with Greenwich Village’s new bohemia in 1913, with suffragettes, a stifled wife and mother, and book thieves.

Eighty years later, history repeats itself. The granddaughter of protagonist Laura Lyons gets her dream job as a curator at the library only to discover a new round of thefts that endanger her position. And uncover new truths about her family.

Meet the New York Times-bestselling author on Wednesday evening, July 22, at 7 p.m. at The Story Center at Woodneath Library. The event is co-presented by Rainy Day Books, rainydaybooks.com, and The Mid-Continent Public Library. Registration is required at mymcpl.org/events/speaker-series.

Déjà vu Degas

Gallery P28 is somewhat like Platform 9 3/4 in the Harry Potter novels. Now you see it, now you don’t.

Luckily for museum goers, the Gallery P28 only changes in very slow motion, just once a year. That’s when the light-sensitive works by Edgar Degas go back into storage and another part of the collection comes into view. Because the museum was closed during the pandemic, you might have missed the new works in March. But you can see them now through March, 2021, in the exhibit Encore Degas! Ballet, Movement, and Fashion.

Degas had a very unique process. He sketched ballerinas and then printed them in monotype on ribbed “laid” paper. Only then did he fill in with gouache (opaque watercolors) and smudge-y pastels to get just the right coloration and quality of light illuminating the dancers and café life so hauntingly portrayed in his painting L’Absinthe. He was also known for his sculptures.

Degas, by all accounts, was a conservative who befriended fellow artist Mary Cassatt even though he believed women were inferior painters and managed to alienate all his friends by the end of his life. He even sounds cranky in his statement to art dealer Ambroise Vollard, sometime around 1900: “People call me the painter of dancing girls … It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes.” Maybe his ill temper came from being disparaged by the British and misunderstood by the French. Now, his work can be admired by Kansas Citians.