Paintings hang on the walls of Soulard Art Gallery.

Home to 14 Resident Artists, Soulard Art Gallery Is a Hot Spot of Local Art

Wednesday October 19, 2022

By Rachel Huffman

Established in 2007, Soulard Art Gallery is a beloved piece of the spirited Soulard neighborhood in St. Louis.

At the nonprofit co-op art gallery, visitors can marvel at locally made paintings, sculptures, pottery and functional art, among other creations, and everything you see is for sale. The resident artists stay the same, but the artwork changes and evolves, making for a unique experience every time you walk through the door.

Here, Dave Rudis, one of the resident artists, shares his admiration for his fellow artists, his inspiration and high notes of Soulard Art Gallery’s community outreach.

What does it mean to be a co-op art gallery?

There are 14 resident artists who are part of the co-op, and each artist has his or her own gallery space. As a co-op, we all run the gallery; so, no matter what day you visit, the people working here are also resident artists.

How would you describe the work of the resident artists?

Impressive. I’m very humbled to work with them. We have painters of different styles and different mediums, a photographer, a potter and more. Personally, I’m a reuse artist, meaning I create sculptures from items that have been found or given to me.

As an artist, what inspires you?

Because of my medium, I get inspired by materials. When I have a pile of objects, I love that eureka moment when I can visualize exactly what I’m going to make with them. Recently, I’ve created a number of robot sculptures, which are a sort of homage to Bill Christman, whose work is displayed in Beatnik Bob’s and the Museum of Mirth, Mystery, and Mayhem at City Museum, among other places.

You’re one of the 14 resident artists at Soulard Art Gallery, but you also manage community outreach. Tell me more about that.

Every five weeks, the show in the main gallery space changes. To curate every show, we determine a theme and then put out a call to artists within 200 miles of the gallery, and they can submit up to three pieces that correspond to the theme. If they’re selected for the show, there’s a $30 fee, but we don’t charge a sales commission. Some places, you have to pay $30 to submit your work, and you don’t know if you’re even going to be selected; plus, you have to pay a commission on anything that you sell. We’re really lucky that we’re able to produce such artist-friendly shows. In conjunction with our current show, The Art of Food, we’re hosting a food drive for the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Tell me more about the area where Soulard Art Gallery is located.

We’re so fortunate to be based in Soulard. It’s an active neighborhood, full of restaurants and bars. You can start your day at the Soulard Farmers Market, come to Soulard Art Gallery and then go for lunch at Molly’s in Soulard or Bogart’s Smokehouse.

Soulard Art Gallery is open on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 12 to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. If you visit the gallery in the evening, stick around for a drink and live music at 1860’s Saloon, Games & Hard Shell Café or Hammerstone’s, among other St. Louis hot spots in historic Soulard.