In response to designer requests, we’ve extended the deadline for Rain Garden Design Challenge submissions to Sunday, Feb 28, 2015 at midnight. Please read the CFP here, and submit your designs to homegrowncm@gmail.com.

If you have any questions, please forward them to homegrowncm@gmail.com

Please find the sites in which your rain gardens may appear below.

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HomeGrown_fundraiser poster

Celebrate our community–the people, creatives, and businesses that make St. Louis special. Impact your community by fostering sustainability and art on the same ticket. Critical Mass presents: Homegrown for the Visual Arts – A Sustainability-Minded Fundraiser.

Event Breakdown

  • Rain Garden Design Competition: Local creatives put their talents to work inventing sustainable solutions for urban gardening.
  • Silent Auction and Exhibition: Creative Stimulus winners display and auction off their work for the benefit of Critical Mass for the Visual Arts, and thus, the local art scene.
  • Entertainment featuring Yankee Racers, Robert Goetz, and Brett Williams.
  • Cash bar and ambiance in beautiful Grand Center.

All proceeds directly support Critical Mass for Visual Arts programming and provide awards to talented area artists to further and support their practices. Support sustainable solutions and local art–your support helps us bloom!


Time: Saturday, March 28, 2015, 8:00 -11:00 pm

Location:  Kranzberg Arts Center – 501 North Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103

Tickets: $20 online, or $25 at the door

Get tickets here.


Homegrown-Call For Proposals -Click here to download a pdf version of the call for proposals

Critical Mass for the Visual Arts’ HomeGrown for the Arts is an annual fundraising event that draws upon St. Louis based artists, businesses, and musicians, with the intention of fostering the local visual arts community by helping support Critical Mass for the Visual Arts’ programs and initiatives.

Building on its mission to foster an enduring artistic environment in the St. Louis region, the premier event of the HomeGrown fundraiser is a sustainability inspired design challenge. Motivated by the Watershed Cairns exhibition at the Missouri History Museum, the 2014 HomeGrown event committee is seeking imaginative proposals for a Rain Garden Design Challenge. For the purposes of this challenge, a rain garden is defined as “a depression that collects storm water runoff and allows it to infiltrate into the ground.” Using this as a starting point, design proposals must incorporate viable rain garden design concepts into an overall aesthetically driven composition with an incorporated sculptural rain water harvesting component. Local artists, gardeners, designers, and other creative and sustainability minded individuals are invited to submit design proposals, either on their own or in collaborative teams, that fuse aesthetically creative structures with green architectural processes.

For this year’s event Critical Mass has partnered with Show Me Rain Gardens to help provide advice and guidance in both the planning process for the event, as well as for the design challenge applicants during the submission process. Prior to the fundraiser a jury panel comprised of both visual arts and ecology experts will narrow the field of submissions down to the top 5 proposals that they believe exhibit the best aesthetic, structural, and environmental design choices. These 5 finalists will be expected to refine and elaborate on their design proposals for the HomeGrown event by creating additional presentation materials. During the event, attendees will have the possibility of helping these designs come to fruition by donating money to their favorite design. If a finalist’s design achieves the necessary funding ($1,500) through this crowd sourcing effort then it will be realized after the event. If finalists designs do not achieve the necessary funding, the monies collected will go to Critical Mass for the Visual Arts to help fund its annual programming.

Artists have the opportunity to have their designs funded by a grand prize jury that will select 1 of the 5 designs prior to the event. This jury will be comprised of representatives from an installation site, a sponsor, a sustainability design expert, and a visual art expert.

The award presented to the grand prize winning design will include:

1) The construction of their Rain Garden design, funded by a local sponsor, and installed at a

sponsored site within the community.

2) An additional cash award (beyond the artist’s stipend included in the design proposal).

3) Proposal details and final installation images will be featured on the Show Me Rain Gardens website.

*Note: The winning submission’s designer or team will be responsible to oversee and assist in the installation of their rain garden design on the designated sponsor’s site.

The Design Criteria

A rain garden is a functional landscaped area constructed to capture and hold storm water so that it infiltrates the soil rather than becoming surface runoff, with the goal of reducing polluted runoff and recharging the water table.


  1. The design must include a Sculptural Rain Water Harvesting Component. This object may be designed to harvest and dispense rain water or simply function as a rain water catchment device.
  2. The design should engage 300 square feet of continuous area that will function as a landscaped rain garden.
  3. The design must utilize a minimum of 60% native plants.
  4. The design is limited by a $1,000 materials & supplies budget. An additional design and installation fee of $250 is to be included in the overall budget of the project, bringing the total proposed design budget to $1,250.
  5. While the design may be inspired by any available resources, it must be original in its concept and form, and not mined or reproduced from an existing rain garden design.

Submission Guidelines

Complete applications must include the following information:

  1. A Resume or CV in .doc or .pdf format (preferred). Collaborations must include a document for every participant involved.
  2. A maximum of 10 images in JPG format or 2 websites that show examples of artwork, design, or rain garden/project based experiences. Each image should be submitted at less than 1 MB each, 300 dpi and 1920 pixels on the longest side.
  3. A one page project proposal with detailed design and supplemental information including a bibliography listing the resources and reference materials researched to create your design.
  4. Concise responses to all questions on the application questionnaire. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application Questionnaire

  1. What is the title of the design?
  1. Does the design address a location that receives
  • Full sun?
  • Partial shade?
  • Complete shade?
  1. Briefly (in 100 words or less) describe the concept of the design.
  1. How would the $1,000 materials/supplies budget be allocated? In table format create a detailed list of estimated costs, as well as the proposed source locations of the materials specified.
  1. What references (including professionals, literature, institutions, websites) were researched to develop a solution to this design challenge? Please include these in a bibliography and/or works cited page with your proposal.

All applications must be received by 12:00 (CST) AM (midnight) on Monday, February 16, 2014.

Applicants will be informed of the jury’s decision within 1 week of the application deadline.

Any applications received after this deadline will not be considered for review by the Design Challenge Jury.

How to Apply  

Applications can only be submitted electronically to: homegrownCM@gmail.com.

Email Attachments: Attachments can total no more than 5 MB in a single email. If necessary, please divide attachments into multiple email messages or use YouSendIt, Dropbox, or a similar file sharing service.

Image File Labeling: Files must be titled with a number indicating the viewing order, followed by the artist’s last name. Use “0” in front of single digit numbers. Do not use more than 30 characters; use only letters, numbers and underscores. Example: 01_Smith; 02_Smith. Mac OS users: Image files must be in JPEG format and include “.jpg” at the end of each image title. Example: 01_Smith.jpg.

Please contact the Design Challenge team through homegrownCM@gmail.com with any questions pertaining to the submission guidelines or design challenge proposal criteria.

Any additional documents or materials submitted that are not requested in the submission guidelines will not be considered for review by the Design Challenge Jury.

Rain Garden Design Proposal Advising

Recognizing the somewhat obscure technical details that may be required for this design challenge, applicants are encouraged to do research and look to community experts for assistance. In order to assist applicants in their research the HomeGrown for the Arts Committee has developed a list of Resource Advisors for this challenge, which can be accessed via the Critical Mass HomeGrown event webpage: http://criticalmassart.org/homegrown.

Suggested resources include:

-Show Me Rain Gardens: http://showmeraingardens.org/.

-Missouri Botanical Gardens, Rainscaping Guide: Rain Gardens: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/sustainability-conservation/sustainable-living/at-home/rainscaping-guide/rain-gardens.aspx

-Missouri Botanical Gardens, Native Landscaping Manual, Chapter 2: Rain Gardening and Storm Water Management: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/Portals/0/Shaw%20Nature%20Reserve/PDFs/horticulture/NLM%20Ch2.pdf

-Missouri River Communities Networks Rain Garden Resources: http://www.moriver.org/raingardens/raingardenresources.html

-Grow Native! Missouri Prairie Foundation: http://grownative.org/

-State of Missouri Native Plants Guide (pg. 6): http://mdc.mo.gov/sites/default/files/resources/2010/05/nativeplantsrevision_2012_07web.pdf

The Critical Mass social media sites are also great resources for finding out more information and updates about this design challenge and other rain garden related events, as well as information about other Critical Mass programming.

Critical Mass’s HomeGrown event webpage: http://criticalmassart.org/homegrown/

Critical Mass Yahoo list serve: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/criticalmass/info

Critical Mass Facebook pages: Organization: https://www.facebook.com/criticalmassart

Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/319148459824

If you haven’t already “liked” and “followed” Critical Mass for the Visual Arts, please do so!







(Photo via St. Louis Post Dispatch-  by Laurie Skrivan)

Ilene Berman takes her portable art studio to North St. Louis. This whimsical ‘Mary Poppins’ bag on wheels allows her to create spontaneous opportunities for creativity. Check out what Judith Newmark of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had to say.


Adobe Photoshop PDF

Critical Mass for the Visual Arts presents:

“Of Being Numerous: 2013 Critical Mass Creative Stimulus Award Exhibition”

August 15- September 6, 2014


Irene Berman, Christine Ilewski, and Calrie Trosclair


Jessica Baran

This exhibition showcases work by Ilene Berman, Christine Ilewski and Carlie Trosclair, recipients of 2013’s Creative Stimulus Award. Our $1500 award is presented annually to three St. Louis-based, jury-selected artists to assist them in creating new work and expanding their practices. This show features a variety of media – including painting, textiles, and installation – that represents fundamentally community-driven work, which is deeply engaged with the St. Louis area beyond conventional gallery confines.

The Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) 

6128 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112 (Across from the Pageant)


Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm; Saturday 12pm to 5pm


Friday, August 15 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm ; Exhibition continues August 15- September 6

Gallery Talk

August 27 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm.

Announcing the 2013 Creative Stimulus project winners:

Carlie Trosclair

Christine Ilewski

Ilene Berman


Carlie Trosclair

Carlie Trosclair is an installation artist who uses malleable materials such as fabric and wallpaper to re-create spaces into re-imagined realities that engineer an experience focused on the visceral and psychological elements of embodied perception. Trosclair earned an MFA from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, a BFA from Loyola University New Orleans, and is a Fellow of the Community Arts Training Institute (MO). Trosclair is the recipient of a 2013 Regional Arts Commission Artists Support Grant and the 2012 Riverfront Times MasterMind Award. Trosclair has completed artist residencies at ACRE (WI), Vermont Studio Center (VT), Woodside Contemporary Artists Center (NY), and The Luminary Center for the Arts (MO). Upcoming projects include solo exhibitions at Antenna Gallery (New Orleans), Hartnett Gallery (NY), and an artist residency at chashama (NY) this fall.


Christine Ilewski

Christine Ilewski is an Illinois based artist who works in paint, creating pieces with great personal meaning. She has earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin, a Master of Fine Arts in Prints as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education (K-12) from the University of Southern Illinois, and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri. Christine’s work has also been collected, and resides in cultural institutions such as the Alton History and Art Museum.


Ilene Berman

Ilene Berman is a St. Louis-based sculptor using the best practices of creative placemaking, such as play-streets, pop-up experiences and grassroots collaboration, to create a collection of site-specific arts engagements aimed at addressing issues of social justice. Her practice is based on her belief that art can (and should) change the world. She understands change to be the result of small shifts often expressed through simple artful gestures. She has a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and will begin a two-year post doc position in Social Practice in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts of St. Louis University in the Fall of 2013. Her work has been featured in Sculpture Magazine, the St. Louis Beacon and on the BBC. For the past five years her practice has primarily been focused on seeking to address the Delmar Divide by developing a more visible arts presence in the blocks of the Grand Center Arts District, north of Delmar.



Angela Malchionno
Travis Russell

Gina Alvarez, Jessica Baran, and Amy Thompson

Curated by B.j. Vogt

The Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission
Opening: August 9, 2013 from 5:30-7:30pm
Gallery Talk: August 22 from 5:30-7:00pm

Exhibition continues through September 28, 2013


The artworks presented in this exhibition represent the unique and varied endeavors in which artists in the St. Louis region are currently engaging. Over the past decade the local arts community has witnessed the growth and continued regeneration of its creative outlets, from DIY to well established institutions. The artworks chosen for this exhibition all deal in some way with an evolving urban environment, as well as the concept of place.


The Regional Arts Commission
6128 Delmar Boulevard in The Loop
St. Louis, MO 63112
(Free parking in the lot behind The Pageant; metered street parking)

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