SLAM: Underground and on point

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SLAM: Underground and on point

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Located on Art Hill, one of Forest Park’s most charming locations, is the majestic white building with five large pillars supporting what is better known as the Saint Louis Art Museum. This top city attraction is open until 5 p.m. almost everyday. Yet who knew that on the last Friday of every month, this museum has a nightlife better known as SLAM Underground? On January’s last Friday, SLAM Underground decided to celebrate the year of the rooster, hosting a Lunar New Year event from 7-10 p.m. Upon entering the museum, music is heard blasting from downstairs, and the realization strikes. SLAM Underground is a new side to the art museum that no one was expecting.

The spacious lobby was almost the same as what it would have looked like in normal daylight hours. One difference however was a SLAM Underground information desk placed at the center of the lobby, guarding the steps leading downstairs. The employees waited excitedly to offer a flyer filled with the schedule of events and games such as scavenger hunts. On the left,  between some paintings, there was another table with patrons building their own paper lanterns.  The table was filled with scissors and different colored construction paper, bringing back flashbacks of elementary school crafts; downstairs was more tempting to explore.

The heart of the night, it was clear to see, lay downstairs. Walking right into a dance floor to find the source of the music, 18andCounting, one could witness this DJ bringing some old school flair, using record players to mix his music. Although there was a dance floor, the surrounding art lovers preferred listening to the music while socializing in place.

On the left hand side, there were hallways filled with different colored vibrant lights making everything look red, yellow, and green depending on the stretch of hallway. On the right hand side, there was an enticing cash bar that many took advantage of along with a fancy photo booth. With a large moon as the background, and plenty of props, the photographer suggested poses, ensuring the perfect complimentary keepsake from the night. Walking past the bar and photo booth was an auditorium, from where you could hear people shouting in unison, “one more song! One more song!”

The up-and-coming band, SO MANY DYNAMOS, treated SLAM Underground to two performances that night. Having unfortunately arrived only for the final seconds of their last show, a proper assessment of the music could not be made. However, one thing was for sure; the band must have given a solid show if most of the audience had formed a mosh pit at the front of the stage, and furthermore seats were still filled as well.

SLAM Underground was a flashy event, but still managed to not steal any attention away from the true treasures of the museum that lay upstairs.

Almost every exhibit was still open, and while downstairs was crowded with people, there were equally as many art enthusiasts roaming around the exhibits. From high school students to thirty-year-old couples on a date, there were a variety of ages found on every floor of the museum.

SLAM Underground is not a distraction from the art but an accompaniment. It is an invitation to come experience the aesthetics of numerous artists, but also to socialize in a setting where all art lovers are brought together under one roof.

This February, St. Louis Art Museum is releasing a new exhibit called Art in Bloom. If an opportunity arises  the last Friday night of the month, why not make a trip to the free of charge SLAM Underground? See what the new exhibit is about, all while meeting new people and discovering new music along the way.