One of Degas dancers stands in a gallery at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Get the Inside Scoop on the STL Arts-and-Culture Scene

Monday January 1, 2024

By Rachel Huffman

For the 2024 Visitors Guide, Explore St. Louis spoke with four leaders at the helm of the St. Louis arts-and-culture scene. Here, Min Jung Kim, the Barbara B. Taylor Director of the Saint Louis Art Museum, shares her favorite ways to experience the arts in the Gateway City. See all the content in the official Visitors Guide here.

Min Jung Kim, the Barbara B. Taylor Director of the Saint Louis Art Museum, poses in a gallery.
Min Jung Kim of the Saint Louis Art Museum | Photo by Gregg Goldman

As I’ve settled into St. Louis, I’ve come to appreciate all the cultural experiences that the region has to offer. I would be remiss not to mention the Saint Louis Art Museum, which is a must-see attraction. In and of itself, the museum – from our world-class collection to our exciting, rotating exhibitions to our outdoor sculpture garden – could take a day or more to fully appreciate.

Taking place next to the museum, the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival is a wonderful summer tradition, as is The Muny. I went to The Muny for the first time last year – I saw Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – and I couldn’t help but sing along. It was a fantastic experience, and I love that there are free seats available on a first-come first-served basis, making the theater accessible to a wide audience.

“This is hands down one of the most unique cultural landscapes in the country.”

– Min Jung Kim

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis also puts on incredible shows during its spring festival season, and its New Works Collective is another way to experience the art form.

A more recent addition to our arts-and-culture lineup, Music at the Intersection celebrates St. Louis’ incredibly rich and diverse musical heritage. Concentrated in the Grand Center Arts District, the festival gives you the opportunity to hear jazz, soul, hip-hop – so many musical genres in just a few days!

From Jazz St. Louis to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, there’s no shortage of places to explore in Grand Center if you miss the music festival.

The Grandel is another spot, and The Dark Room at The Grandel is particularly fun on Wednesdays when it hosts Jazz Jams. The evening begins with a short performance, followed by an open session where anyone can participate. I’ve been on a few occasions, and everyone from high school students to families played. For me, those experiences illustrated how arts and culture can thrive in a place like St. Louis, which overflows with talent.

In other cities, any one of the places that I’ve mentioned would likely be considered the jewel of the region, but in St. Louis, we’re fortunate to have an abundance of riches. This is hands down one of the most unique cultural landscapes in the country.