slam block party at the saint louis art museum courtesy of saint louis art museum

Saint Louis Art Museum will host free block party Aug. 19, launch hip-hop exhibition

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Fifty years ago, DJ Kool Herc and Cindy Campbell hosted a back-to-school block party in the Bronx. That day marked the creation of an American art form – hip-hop – and this year the Saint Louis Art Museum will be hosting its own free block party on Aug. 19 to commemorate that historic event and to kick off their new exhibition: The Culture: Hip-Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century. The event will feature multiple performances from St. Louis hip-hop acts, live demos of everything from graffiti to beat-making, a hip-hop swap meet and a selection of some of St. Louis’ finest food trucks.

Along with several DJ sets from St. Louis artists like Agile One, Beat Street DJs (featuring D-Ex, G.Wiz & Biko), DJ Charlie Chan, DJ Crucial, DJ Nico Marie, DJ Stan Da Man, DJ vThom – plus rap performances from Preacher In The Trap (featuring Blvck Spvde & Tef Poe) and Sir Eddie C – the event will also feature MC and dance cyphers, along with performances from the step group Gentlemen of Vision.

For new fans, and diehard hip-hop followers alike, the “Give up the Goods” swap meet will give visitors the chance to trade and buy a wide selection of hip-hop memorabilia, from records to posters.

The DJ lineup and swap meet were curated by St. Louis transplant Trackstar the DJ aka Gabe Moskoff. Moskoff started his DJ career as a student at WashU and has been touring the world as the DJ for Killer Mike and Run the Jewels for over a decade.

“It’s always good when you get an institution that's that important to the city and that mainstream shining a light on parts of the culture that don't get as much shine on a day to day basis. And it's really cool that they gave me the freedom to really put together a stage that I felt was representative of different eras of St. Louis hip-hop and different styles. And it's just really good when important institutions like that can support the local culture,” Moskoff said.

Visitors will be able to watch live demos of hair styling, beat-making, turntabling and break dancing. Other activities include a name generation game where visitors can find their personal hip-hop persona or create their own graffiti tag with Paint Louis.

“We really hope everybody will come out and celebrate the really amazing artistic expression that is hip-hop,” said Amanda Thompson Rundahl, SLAM director of learning and engagement.

The lineup of food trucks includes Cajun Seduction, Pete’s Pops, Scoops N More, the Moobile, Cinnacrush, Duchess Royal, Go Gyro Go, Farmtruk and Jive Turkey. Outside of the food trucks, there will be two beverage stations serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.

Additionally, the event will include a back-to-school supply drive organized by the group Black Men Build. Acceptable donations include new school supplies such as backpacks, notebooks, art supplies, et cetera.

The event runs from noon to 5 p.m. in front of the art museum on Fine Arts Drive. The event is rain or shine. The museum will stay open during the event, and tickets to the exhibition will be free for visitors on Aug. 19.