Solar Flair: Celestial Bodies in Motion, Albrecht-Kemper Art Museum, St. Joseph | detail of Nebula, marker and colored pencil on paper by Bridgette Ballinger, St. Joseph


At midday on Monday, August 21, a deepening shadow will sweep through Missouri, as the sun, moon, and earth swing into what the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art calls “a cosmic chorus line.”

No matter where you are in the state, you will experience some degree of solar eclipse. And if you’re within about 21,000 square miles in a diagonal swath running from Missouri’s northwestern tip to Scott City in the southeast, you’ll get the whole shebang: totality, when for up to two minutes and 40 seconds, the moon orbits into position to completely blot out the sun.

The path of totality contains, by one reckoning, more than 400 Missouri communities. Celebrations are teeming.

Not only on the day of the eclipse but throughout the previous weekend, communities in totality’s path are mounting festivals, carnivals, viewing parties, parades, car shows, balloon glows, scavenger hunts and much more. Many of these events feature exhibits by local artists. Nearly all include live music.

Also, several Missouri arts organizations have been inspired by the eclipse to create events with an astronomical theme. Here’s our guide to those celestial concerts and exhibits, plus a sprinkling of eclipse festivals that especially accentuate the arts.

Missouri communities with eclipse-inspired arts events | original map, NASA

Now through August 18 | Ashland

Natural Phenomena | Mid-Missouri Arts Alliance

The natural world, galactic and otherwise, stars in works by Mid-Missouri Arts Alliance members and non-members.

MMAA has been incorporated as a nonprofit only since 2015, but this group of artists in southern Boone County already have their own space. Their building in downtown Ashland incorporates a gallery for exhibits and sales of work by local artists, plus classrooms and studios. MMAA produces workshops and classes for children and adults, a summer camp, scholarships, community art nights, and special events like poetry readings.

Image:  detail of All Eyes on the Eclipse, acrylic by Vicki Eultgen, Ashland

Now through August 23 | Columbia

Eclipsed | Columbia Art League

Taking a cue from Columbia’s two minutes and 37 seconds of totality, the annual members’ show invites artists to “explore shadow and light, sun and moon, from dappled to darkness…what is revealed and what is obscured.”

Cornerstone of the arts in mid-Missouri since 1959, Columbia Art League annually produces the Arts in the Park festival and six gallery exhibitions, provides classes and camps for children and adults, works with area schools, and places hundreds of works of art in community locations.

Image:  detail of WOODland Eclipse, mirror framed with inlaid wood, by Ira J. Papick, Rocheport

August 7 – September 15 | St. Joseph

Solar | Potter Art Gallery, Missouri Western State University

Like Ashland and Columbia, St. Joseph is spang in the middle of totality’s path, enjoying a full two minutes and 38 seconds of midday darkness. The city’s abundant eclipse events include an exhibit at Missouri Western State University of artworks in any medium that integrate the sun “as an element of imagery or process.”

Also, on Sunday, August 20, the university has a full day of eclipse programs including a brand-new show called Eclipse! Musical Revue—live music with solar or lunar themes woven together with eclipse stories and legends.

Image:  detail of Spirit Lake, photograph by Tim Brown, Kansas City

August 11 – November 5 | St. Joseph

Solar Flair | Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art

Solar Flair: Celestial Bodies in Motion will showcase artworks of all media depicting moons, planets, and stars from artists throughout the U.S.

Since 1913, the Albrecht-Kemper has served as a cultural arts center for northwest Missouri. The museum’s permanent collection is especially rich in American art from the 18th through 21st centuries, including works by Rembrandt Peale, Mary Cassatt, and Edward Hopper. Special exhibitions often focus on regional artists and artist organizations.

Image:  detail of Confluence, photograph by Robert H. Hanson, St. Joseph

August 18 | Columbia

A Celestial Celebration | Odyssey Chamber Music Series

A kaleidoscope of sun-inspired sounds ranges from a work for saxophone and percussion written just a decade ago by American composer Nathan Daughtrey, to a bang-up arrangement for five pianos of Mars, Neptune, and Jupiter from Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Both the concert and the following reception are free.

Founded in 2004, the Odyssey Chamber Music Series presents masterpieces of chamber music repertory that span four centuries, in mixed ensembles of all instruments. Many performances take place in the warm acoustics and intimate atmosphere of Columbia’s historic First Baptist Church.

August 18-21 | St. Clair

Darkening of the Sun Festival | Hawk Arrow Springs

A rustic campground hosts a gathering of music, visual arts, and Northern Cherokee Nation heritage. Dozens of regional and national bands perform on two stages. Throughout the grounds, tribal citizens do demonstrations and visual artists create art on the spot. Stories are told at evening bonfires. A Little Observers Area provides hands-on art, music, and nature activities for children. The celestial climax on Monday will last for a whopping two minutes, 40 seconds.

Just to the west, among the many events at St. Clair’s four-day Get Your Eclipse on Route 66 festival are Friday night parade with fireworks, a Saturday bluegrass fest, and a Sunday Route 66-themed car show.

August 18-21 | St. Joseph

Trails West!® Festival | Allied Arts Council

Trails West!® is celebrating its 25th year as a feast of the arts. This major outdoor festival traditionally takes over Civic Center Park on the third weekend of August. So in addition to the usual scads of visual artists, folk crafters, musicians, dancers, and theatrical performers, this year’s event features prime views of the eclipse.

Trails West!® is the signature annual event of the Allied Arts Council. Founded in 1963, the Council is a federation of 15 local arts organizations. The Council produces community programs, raises funds, and supports its member agencies.

Image:  2017 festival theme artwork by Brittany Losensky, Cameron

August 19 | Perryville

573 Chalk Art Festival | Perryville Area Chamber of Commerce

Perryville will one of the final communities in Missouri to experience the splendor of totality (for two minutes, 34 seconds) as the shadow of the moon moves across the state. The city is going all out to celebrate.

The science-themed 573 Chalk Art Festival is part of Friday and Saturday’s Solarfest on the downtown square. Solarfest also includes a carnival, live music, gyro rides, science demos, a mobile planetarium, and two events with particularly felicitous timing: the unveiling of the sundial at the Perry County Courthouse and a moon pie eating contest. On Super Solar Sunday, there are events at the City Park, Seminary Picnic Grounds, and Regional Airport.

October 19 – December 17 | St. Peters

Night Sky | St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre

Being just outside the path of totality isn’t stopping the St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre from joining the supernal party. As winter darkness approaches, the Centre will light up with an exhibit of artworks themed around the night sky.

Located within City Hall, the St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre has enriched its community since 1990. The Centre hosts performances in a 306-seat theater; produces a weekly Acoustic Music Jam; coordinates classes in music, art, and theatre; and creates six themed gallery exhibits every year. The exhibit through August 20 is Big or Little.

Image:  Stormy Night, fused glass by Paul Frank, Chesterfield | from Once in a Blue Moon exhibit (2014)

More about Missouri’s eclipse

National Comprehensive Websites With State-Specific Sections

NASA: Total Eclipse 2017 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s dedicated eclipse website has science facts, maps, events across the nation, downloadable resources, live streaming and more. – There are pages for Missouri and every other state in the path of totality, with links to the cities for which the site’s creators have information about special events. – The Missouri section includes detailed regional maps with totality times given second-by-second. – The events section covers all the totality states. – Retired NASA astrophysicist “Mr. Eclipse” Fred Espenak has a detailed page about the science of the eclipse in Missouri.

State of Missouri Websites

The State of Missouri’s succinct one-pager, MO Eclipse, pulls together resources from several State agencies: statewide highlights collected by the Division of Tourism, eclipse events at Missouri State Parks, the 54 prime viewing spots amid the Department of Conservation’s 1,000 official conservation areas, traffic tips and updates from the Department of Transportation, educational materials from the Department of Natural Resources,  and safety advice from the Department of Public Safety.