The Magic House @ M.A.D.E. is open

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

The Magic House opened its satellite location at M.A.D.E.  yesterday, June 7, at 5127 Delmar (between Kingshighway & Union). It’s located on the second floor of the 33,000 s.f. maker space, “a place where St. Louis designers create and collaborate,” which opened in late November 2018.

A veritable techy wonderland of interactive experiences awaits those ages 3 to 13—at least that is what The Magic House @ M.A.D.E.’s brochure says.  But when I spoke with The Magic House’s Chief Administrative Officer Carrie Hutchcraft on Wednesday, during a preview day for members,  she explained that kids ages 6 to 13 will be their “sweet spot” at the satellite location. Younger siblings are certainly welcome to come along, and there are plenty of things for them to do, but the activities on Delmar are STEAM focused (science, technology, education, arts & mathematics), whereas the Kirkwood location is geared toward younger children.

Hutchcraft added: “Middle schoolers think they are ‘too old’ for the Kirkwood location.” From what I observed, they will be happily engaged as soon as they walk through the doors of The Magic House @ M.A.D.E.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

M.A.D.E. was founded by Doug Auer and Jim McKelvey, who are responsible for Third Degree Glass Factory located across the street. McKelvey is perhaps best known as a co-creator of Square.

Read more about M.A.D.E. on the website here and on an earlier post here.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

At a strategic planning meeting in 2016, the board of The Magic House mandated that the organization should stretch its reach beyond its Kirkwood facility and open a satellite location in north St. Louis. The Magic House had been working closely with the St. Louis Public Schools for 30 years, but the board felt they could and should do more.

The board’s objective became to open a satellite experience in north St. Louis, thereby offering accessibility to its programs to a broader community. Auer and McKelvey had worked previously with Dennis Lower, head of  the Cortex Innnovation Community, on creating M.A.D.E. after the closing of Tech Shop in Cortex. Together they determined to create a new facility in its current location on Delmar. Happily for those of us who live nearby, that vision has been fully realized.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

In theory, according to Carrie Hutchcraft, the activities available at The Magic House @ M.A.D.E. are similar to what’s available downstairs at M.A.D.E.  There are 4 distinct areas of learning experiences, as shown on the banners above. The hope is that as kids learn from their exposure to The Magic House @ M.A.D.E., they will “graduate” and become members of M.A.D.E. (downstairs) in high school.

Some of those activities that are sure to thrill are shown in the photographs that follow:Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

As I looked at the learning opportunities it occurred to me that these activities are inter-generational, and that parents and grandparents might also enjoy learning how to code a robot to move, or create a stop motion video.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

The entry fee is $5 per person, starting at age 1. However, family membership for a year is a reasonable $50. Hours at the new location are posted above and correspond to the hours at the Kirkwood location.  A display listing the generous donors occupies a wall in the new space.  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture For kids Services Web/Tech  The Magic House @ MADE Jim McKelvey Doug Auer Dennis Lower Carrie Hutchcraft

In 2014-15 when Mayor Lyda Krewson was the 28th Ward Alderwoman, many CWEnders worked with her to cultivate the sunflower garden on a property across the street from M.A.D.E. Although it was intended that the Sunflower Project would both beautify that section of Delmar and inspire others to think about future possibilities, I doubt anyone imagined what would blossom nearby in such short order.

Progress is often frustratingly slow, but when there are people with the means and the intentions to contribute to the community, good things spring up. Thanks to Doug Auer, Jim McKelvey and the board of The Magic House for all that they’ve done for the neighborhood and the City of St. Louis.

The Magic House @ M.A.D.E., 5127 Delmar. Limited parking is available on a lot just to the west of the building, and there is free parking on Delmar. The lot to the east does not belong to M.A.D.E.  Summer hours: Monday through Saturday 9:30 to 5:30, Sunday 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

A toast to 2019’s Rose Day

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Food and Drink  Yellowbelly Shake Shack Rose Day Michael Powers   If you were out and about in the neighborhood Saturday afternoon May 4th, you had to have noticed that there was a large party going on. The sidewalks were packed with 1500 people participating in Rosé Day, a benefit for 12 non-profits dedicated to empowering women and girls in the St. Louis area. The partnering organizations were stationed at 10 different locations (see map here) where attendees could gather information and sample an assortment of rosés.

Rosé Day co-founders Michael Powers, above left, and Jim Barnthouse, right, reported that this year’s crowd was twice as large as last year’s inaugural event.  Also photographed is volunteer Chico Weber, middle.

Two CWE restaurants, Yellowbelly and Shake Shack. dedicated a portion of the day’s sales to two of the non-profits. Shake Shack contributed over $1,300 to Safe Connections, and Yellowbelly supported Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis.
Photographs below are courtesy of the Rosé Day organization.
Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Food and Drink  Yellowbelly Shake Shack Rose Day Michael Powers

The event was a boon for CWE businesses such as Provisions STL, above, which was packed with customers all afternoon.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Food and Drink  Yellowbelly Shake Shack Rose Day Michael Powers

If you missed this year’s event, be sure to watch for info about May 2020’s Rosé Day.  Organizers are already in the planning stages.

Mary Engelbreit’s art takes a star turn in 101st season at The Muny

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater For kids  The Muny Roald Dahl's Matilda Mike Issacson Mary Engelbreit Forest Park

Photo courtesy of Phil Delano

St. Louis-based, internationally-known artist Mary Engelbreit’s long list of artistic accomplishments veered in a new and completely unexpected direction when she was tapped by Mike Issacson, Artistic Director and Executive Producer of The Muny, to design the costumes and set for this season’s production of Matilda.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater For kids  The Muny Roald Dahl's Matilda Mike Issacson Mary Engelbreit Forest Park

This isn’t Engelbreit’s first association with 11,000 seat outdoor musical theater in Forest Park. Her delightful drawing,”I Knew He’d Like It,” above, was the cover art on the program for 2012’s season.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater For kids  The Muny Roald Dahl's Matilda Mike Issacson Mary Engelbreit Forest Park

Engelbreit said that when Issacson reached out to her earlier this year “I was floored. I said yes I’d LOVE to do that!…I don’t know how to do that!”

Issacson explained that there were “real” costume and set designers working on the show, and that all she had to do was draw the characters and set pieces as she envisioned them. They would take it from there. The design team was also granted access to Engelbreit’s database of 13,000 drawings to mine for more ideas.

The Roald Dahl book and the subsequent movie had been favorites of the Engelbreit/Delano family. She had read the book to her boys, and she and her daughter Mikayla saw the play in New York, which they both loved.

When I visited Engelbreit’s studio, I was able to photograph her early sketches for the project, above. Those who are familiar with her work will recognize the resulting graphics, costumes, and depiction of characters, below, which are saturated in her signature style.  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater For kids  The Muny Roald Dahl's Matilda Mike Issacson Mary Engelbreit Forest Park

From left, Mike, Zinna Wormwood, Mr. Wormwood, and Matilda.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater For kids  The Muny Roald Dahl's Matilda Mike Issacson Mary Engelbreit Forest Park

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater For kids  The Muny Roald Dahl's Matilda Mike Issacson Mary Engelbreit Forest Park

Zinna Dance for Matilda

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater For kids  The Muny Roald Dahl's Matilda Mike Issacson Mary Engelbreit Forest Park

The plaid fabric and contrasting tie designed for Mr. Wormwood are so perfectly ME.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater For kids  The Muny Roald Dahl's Matilda Mike Issacson Mary Engelbreit Forest Park

Engelbreit’s sketch of  the dreaded chokey.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater For kids  The Muny Roald Dahl's Matilda Mike Issacson Mary Engelbreit Forest Park

From left, Mary Engelbreit’s design for the Matilda t-shirt, Crunchem Hall Primary School, and the Russian sketch.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater For kids  The Muny Roald Dahl's Matilda Mike Issacson Mary Engelbreit Forest Park

Matilda t-shirts, sized from youth to adult—$15, $20, and $22—are available at The Muny and on the website.

Matilda at The Muny, August 5 to 11, ticket information here. The Muny generously offers 1,450 free seats to the public each night during the season, available on a first-come, first-serve basis.