Critical Mass for the Visual Arts


Critical Mass For the Visual Arts

Client: Critical Mass for the Visual Arts
Location: St. Louis region
Partner: Critical Mass for the Visual Arts Board Members

Pictured Above: Seed the Change by Jessica Witte, 2016. Photos courtesy of the artist.


Critical Mass supports St. Louis artists through dialogue, its list serve and as one of the only organizations to provide direct financial support to artists in the region. Via is proud to a partner with Critical Mass as our local artists are key to our success.


Critical Mass was established in 1995 by a group of artists and administrators determined to create new opportunities that would attract and retain artists who study at St. Louis-area universities to work and live in our community after they graduate. Emily Blumenfeld, of Via Partnership, was one of its’ founding members.


Via has played a key role in developing past and current programs including the Passport to Contemporary Art (a region-wide effort to celebrate contemporary visual art in the region), One Night Stand exhibitions, and Three-Day Weekend curated by Dave Mueller.


Through Via, Critical Mass has also hosted a series of workshops in different areas of St. Louis to consider public art planning and programming. Imagine Art Here workshops were designed to spark a lively debate about art as a visible, street-level enhancement, by identifying public spaces where art could be located and opportunities where artists could be utilized to tackle design challenges created by distinct, site-specific characteristics. Artists, designers, architects, residents, business owners, and interested citizens in Downtown St. Louis, Grand Center, South Grand, Forest Park Southeast and the Central West End have contributed their time and creativity to these programs. The resulting reports have served as a tool for these communities to begin to fundraise for and implement the recommended public art projects.


Currently, Via facilitates the Creative Stimulus Projects and Public Works Projects with direction and support from the Critical Mass Board. Jessica Witte’s Public Works Project, Seed the Change, funded by the William E. Weiss Foundation and hosted by the Great Rivers Greenway, was honored by the Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network Year in Review in 2017.