InSITE 2020 Artist Profile: Ellie Balk

February 27, 2020

Categories RAC News

Photo of the artist Ellie BalkEllie Balk is a St. Louis-based public artist whose work centers on mathematics and data visualization. Using color and abstraction, Balk creates visual systems to convey information.

Balk will bring her inimitable style to Downtown St. Louis as one of the five projects chosen for InSITE 2020 through a large-scale vinyl installation that will be focused in and around a prominent skyway over Seventh Street between Locust and Washington.

Balk is conducting an online survey to source data on the quantity of time spent on our cell phones as well as how we utilize our phones in order to showcase a very private and intimate data set to the public. By creating an engaging experience – both for people inside the space, on the street, and in surrounding offices and homes – she hopes to ignite conversation and investigation into our cellular habits.
Click the following link to participate in the survey,

“A skyway is particularly interesting because it reminds me of a pneumatic tube,” Balk said. “The pneumatic tube system was invented in 1799 as a way to connect people through sending and receiving information and communications. Our phones are now our main conduit for connecting, and the skyway is the perfect place to visualize data on how we use our phones to connect to one other.”

Balk believes the interactive nature of large-scale work allows people to experience a connection to space and to each other. In the studio, she has been using data to document space, time and sound by creating work that allows for interactive visual play through painting, printmaking, stained glass and sculpture.

Balk’s murals can be experienced throughout the world including Brooklyn, New York; St. Louis; Buenos Aries, Argentina; Mae Rim, Thailand; and Kassak Sud in Senegal, West Africa. Balk holds an MFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and a BFA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

You can see her work in St. Louis at the baggage claim in terminal two at Lambert Airport, on South Broadway in Carondelet, at 4240 and 4220 Duncan in the Cortex Innovation District and St. Alexius Medical Building on Jefferson. Her most recent work in the St. Louis area includes a ground mural in the Chroma Plaza in The Grove, which depicts patterns of population growth over time for St. Louis and 11 other river cities experiencing a boom in tech culture.

In her free time, Balk can be found traveling the world in search of new color palettes.

InSITE 2020 is a temporary public art exhibition designed to enhance Downtown St. Louis. It was developed by The Downtown STL Public Art Initiative, a partnership between the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC), Explore St. Louis and Downtown STL, Inc.

Arts and cultural events are waiting around every corner throughout the St. Louis region. Explore the abundant creativity our area has to offer. From gallery shows and performances to public installations, St. Louis is rich with culture and the arts in all forms. Browse these links to experience our arts community firsthand.


Due to the ongoing financial impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) has been working diligently to adjust our annual grantmaking programs to ensure alignment with RAC’s strategic priorities, and in response to feedback from the arts community.


We have gathered a variety of news, information, and other resources to sustain the health and vibrancy of our arts community.


As the leading public catalyst for arts and culture in St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission leverages the power of creativity to strengthen and enrich our community. Read our commitment to diversity, racial equity, accessibility, and inclusion, and see our strategic plan for the next five years.


Covid-19 has impacted us all. But what it hasn’t changed is RAC’s commitment to finding innovative ways to support arts programming, arts organizations, and individual artists through the pandemic, and to resuming these programs as soon as conditions allow.


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