by Michael R. Allen
Kudos to Kira and Gordon McKinney, who earlier this month hosted the grand opening at what is probably the first art gallery in Old North St. Louis in this century, if not ever. The Flop House at 13th and Hebert opened on December 8 to a ragtag assembly of young people, many of whom had not ever visited the neighborhood before. On display at the opening — again, an Old North milestone — were charcoal-on-paper works, accompanied by the requisite snacks and Stag beer. (Incidentally, Stag Beer was brewed for awhile in the 1950s by the Griesidieck family at the nearby Hyde Park Brewery at Florissant and Salisbury avenues.)
Needless to say, rehab at the Flop House is not yet complete, and it did not have heat for the chilly opening night. Not that such limitations matter to Kira and Gordon or the attendees. In true neighborhood fashion, someone had an idea and didn’t let trivialities stand in the way of making it happen. This spirit has helped Old North’s older generations overcome great troubles, and in newer residents it’s helping generate a vibrant cultural energy that’s infectious.
Keep watch for great things at the Flop House in the new year.