Get on the Grid! Benefit Show Next Saturday

by Michael R. Allen

Although we are all exhausted as Historic Preservation Week winds down, let’s set sights on an important event next weekend.

Next Saturday, May 24 at 7:00 p.m. at Shaw’s Gallery (4065 Shaw at Thurman) is the Get on the Grid! benefit show for the St. Louis Building Arts Foundation. A $7 cover change and cash bar will go straight to helping the Foundation raise the money it needs to connect its facility to the electric grid.

The back story: The Foundation is the organization set up by Larry Giles to administer, conserve and interpret his collections of over 300,000 architectural artifacts and 100,000 books, trade journals, photographs and drawings. In 2005, the Foundation purchased a 12.5-acre, 14-building former steel foundry in Sauget, Illinois near downtown (the old home of Sterling Steel Casting) where the collections are being consolidated. Meantime, Larry was able to make his library available to researchers by appointment in a rented space in St. Louis.

As work at the foundry progressed, financial needs dictated moving the unique library to Sauget. Trouble is, the money for completing the library space was not in place and the library is now again in storage. The first need is completing the electrical service at the foundry so that lighting and climate controls are possible. Hence, the need for the show.

Yes, there are many worthy causes but none with an appeal so direct and compelling as this. Get on the grid. Pay at the door and the Foundation might hook up the power. With power, researchers can again access one of the nation’s most important collections of literature and documents related to architectural materials. Good research will lead to information we need to restore historic buildings, interpret and defend those we have and inspire people to care about our built heritage.

Your seven dollars will go a long way, but the starting point is clear.

Those who can’t attend can send donations to:
St. Louis Building Arts Foundation
2412 Menard Street
St. Louis, MO 63104