Public Art

After Hours

By Catharine Magel
Category: Sculpture


After Hours, a sculpture made of a steel armature with fiberglass and mosaic coating, was made for the Jazz and Blues region of St. Louis near The Jazz Bistro in Strauss Park. On one side of the sculpture, two mosaicked men pour their heart and soul into colorful trumpets, calling to mind the real-life musicians Louis Armstrong and Bix Biederbecke. From another angle, a bird and a rabbit can be seen playing a saxophone, reminding the viewer of the history of jazz and blues. The emotionally charged music of blues, which originated from African culture, gave way to the more rhythmic genre of jazz. For a long time, black and white jazz musicians were not allowed to perform together publicly. It was only at after-hours sessions that they jammed together, as Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke did in Chicago in the 1920s.

The design of After Hours was shown to young students in schools in the community, and each participant was invited to make a ceramic piece to add to the existing design. They learned about Jazz and Blues, which were the art forms that became the precursor to the Civil Rights Movement. Teachers took their students to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, during outreach sessions.

Catharine Magel often collaborates with the community when creating her artworks. According to Magel, “rebuilding and collaboration begins with the passion of the community wanting to see change. Whether it is social, political, environmental, economic, or cultural transformations that take place, it is the artist that can combine with all of these making the process of collaboration part of his or her palette. In most projects the results to the community are many…..such as healing, inclusion, eracism, education, loss of fear, empowerment, identity, a connection to nature, and economic development. Often after I design and it is time to fabricate the work, I find myself becoming part of a movement of people participating in social change and revitalization of a place.”

Dimensions: 8′ x 13′
Material: Steel armature with fiberglass and mosaic coating
Owner: City of St. Louis

About the artist: