2020-2021 Season Hightlights
Though many of The Sheldon’s 20-21 concerts were rescheduled to the following season, small but mighty socially-distanced audiences enjoyed live concerts at The Sheldon by jazz legend Joey DeFrancesco; acclaimed vocalist Kurt Elling; members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra including Bjorn Ranheim, David Halen and Roger Kaza; and The 442s, whose November 2020 concert was the first live event inside The Sheldon since the pandemic shut-down in March.
The Sheldon reached tens of thousands of old and new fans with a robust schedule of weekly streaming concerts, including the long-running Tuesday night Notes From Home series, and a new partnership with HEC Media – “Live From The Sheldon.” Through this monthly series, streamed for free on Facebook, YouTube and on HEC’s website and cable channels, “Live From The Sheldon” brought national touring artists such as Marquise Knox, Sarah Jarosz and Zakir Hussain into living rooms around the world. The series was also simulcast throughout the Midwest by presenting partners in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Kansas.
Steward Family Plaza took center stage (literally) as The Sheldon also launched a new outdoor concert series of “Picnics on the Plaza.” These intimate, casual concerts featured local favorites such as Anita Jackson, Janet Evra, Hudson and the Hoo Doo Cats, Roland Johnson and more, while guests enjoyed drinks and dinner under the vertical garden.
The Sheldon Art Galleries welcomed visitors back in July 2020 with the 3rd annual “Golf the Galleries” exhibition. With masking, social distancing and extensive health and safety guidelines in place, over 3,000 golfers enjoyed the artist-designed, indoor mini golf course. “Get a Clue” by Natalie Pinson won the artist-choice award for best hole.
Fall exhibit highlights included Carlie Trosclair’s All Roads Leave/Lead Home; Jen Everett’s New Arrangements; Defining Line: Kit Keith, Sandra Marchewa and Frederick Stivers; and Melodies from Mozambique, a photography exhibit by youth choir members in Malema, Mozambique who documented their lives with cameras sent by The Sheldon with a mission team from St. Louis.
In the spring of 2021, The Sheldon announced Paula Lincoln as Gallery Manager and Lead Curator, bringing a fresh approach to the galleries with a curatorial concept focusing on local and regional artists with an emphasis on sculpture and installation. Notable exhibits closing out the 20-21 gallery season included Guen Montomery: Indexical Lacunae; James R. Southard’s Why Buy the Cow; Stefanie Jacobson Kirkland: City in Memory; and recent work by Tim Hahn.
Over 75,000 students participated in Sheldon Educational Programs during the 20-21 school year – almost three times the usual reach. With interactive streaming programs including The Jazz Story, Drums and Dances of Africa, The Music of Lewis and Clark and more, students and teachers alike praised the ability to incorporate live music into their classroom, even during a pandemic. The programs were offered free of charge to all school groups and home schools, and were available for viewing two weeks after the initial live stream event.
The Sheldon’s most successful and engaging education initiatives, SOLID (Science of Learning Instrument Design) persevered through the pandemic as well, offering virtual teacher professional development for this popular STEAM-based program that teaches students the Engineering Cycle (Ask, Research, Imagine, Plan, Create, Test, and Improve) in order to build their own instruments from reclaimed objects . With a focus on reaching students in under-resourced areas, SOLID has grown from 12 schools in its first year to 65 schools during the 20-21 season.
The Sheldon’s North County Big Band, led by Harvey Lockhart, and The Sheldon’s City of Music All-Star Chorus, led by Maria A. Ellis, both continued to serve students during the school year as well, initially via Zoom and other online sources, and eventually in person with distanced rehearsals and online performances by the all-star ensembles.
Intimate events, careful planning, and even couple-themed masks and other thoughtful touches made weddings, receptions and community events possible again by fall of 2020. Events such as Chamber Music Society of St. Louis live streams, Washington University’s School of Nursing Commencement, the Big Muddy Tour de Dance – a progressive dinner/fundraiser, and the Mindseye Drive In Gala kept our spaces busier than expected during a pandemic!
A Look Back
Year-End Financial Statement
The 20-21 season tested our vision to present Arts Without Borders more than we could have imagined, but The Sheldon emerged stronger than ever, ending the fiscal in the black for the 20th consecutive year.
20-21 Annual Donors
We cannot overstate the impact of our supporters and donors over the past season. Thank you to all of the individuals, corporations and agencies that helped us fulfill our mission during the 20-21 season.