Fans of St. Louis now have one more reason to celebrate the Gateway City. Today, the Arts and Education Council will unveil a 35-foot by 50-foot mural on the East side of their incubator, the Centene Center for the Arts, located in the heart of the Grand Center Arts District. The mural, titled “St. Louis Honey Bears”, is an original artwork commissioned by the Gateway Foundation.
“St. Louis Honey Bears” was painted by fnnch, a St. Louis native based in San Francisco whose work has become wildly popular on Instagram and can be found in Chicago, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, St. Louis and Tel Aviv. This mural is the artist’s first large-scale work in his hometown and his largest to date.
In a nod to St. Louis, the mural features four of his signature honey bears, which are intended to spread happiness as they surprise and delight people. Blues Bear commemorates the St. Louis Blues’s 2019 Stanley Cup victory; Artist Bear honors the Arts and Education Council’s Centene Center for the Arts on which the mural is painted; Violin Bear references the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s historic Powell Hall, the Fabulous Fox Theatre, and The Sheldon Concert Hall & Art Galleries, all of which are nearby; and Fancy Bear references St. Louis’s Gilded Age history and the 1904 World’s Fair.
“This mural reflects all the creativity happening inside our Centene Center for the Arts incubator, home to 20 arts organizations, and is a great example of the pure joy the arts can bring to our lives,” said Cynthia A. Prost, Arts and Education Council president and CEO.
The mural was created using multi-layered stencils and spray paint. It is the first mural funded by the Gateway Foundation, which has purchased more than 30 sculptures in the St. Louis region since 1986 and opened the Citygarden sculpture park in downtown St. Louis in 2009.
“We are proud to have partnered with the Arts and Education Council on a mural that celebrates our great city,” the Gateway Foundation said. “The Arts and Education Council is an organization that shares our commitment to increasing access to the arts in St. Louis.”
Nearly 100 people are expected to welcome the artist and the mural to St. Louis at the July 17 public unveiling.
“I grew up in St. Louis and have a lot of family in the area, so it’s cool to create one of my murals here, especially at this size, and have such an enthusiastic response from the community. Everybody deserves great art,” said fnnch.
For more information about the Arts and Education Council and “St. Louis Honey Bears”, visit KeepArtHappening.org/fnnch.