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SLSO Fosters Art Through the Generations

Updated: Mar 20, 2019

Area students win honors in annual SLSO art contest, including great-granddaughter of former longtime SLSO violist

Members of the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer arrange entries in the 2019 Picture the Music contest.

Art runs deep in Zofia Kulikowski’s family.

The second grader at St. Justin Martyr School in Sunset Hills was recently named a Top 100 artist in the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association’s Picture the Music contest.

The annual contest – now in its 29th year – invites elementary students from the St. Louis region and beyond to create a work of art in response to hearing a piece of orchestral music. This year, thousands of students from more than 70 schools participated in the contest, including some as far away as Springfield, Missouri. The students created works based on Manuel de Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance. The piece, a movement taken from de Falla’s ballet El amor brujo (The Bewitched Love), furiously depicts a ceremonial religious dance, with frenetic trills, chromatic runs, and musical ornaments.

The talented young artists, ages 5 -12, created works with bright colors, musical imagery, and deft translation from the audial world to the visual. Zophia’s piece, “The Fox Feeter,” features a landscape scene with towering mountains and a blue/purple sky.

Judges for the contest reviewed more than 400 works submitted and selected 100 of the top works from students in Kindergarten through sixth grade. They were honored at an awards ceremony hosted by the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association at Powell Hall on February 25. The SVA has organized the contest every year for 29 years, working with St. Louis area - and statewide - art teachers, collecting submissions, recruiting judges, and mounting and transporting the artwork. The SVA also run the annual Express the Music contest, which asks middle and high school students to respond to a piece of classical music in poetry or prose. Volunteers support the SLSO in its mission to enrich the lives of others through the power of music.

Zofia Kulikowski and her mother view the Picture the Music exhibit at Powell Hall recently. Zofia was a Top 100 winner and is the great-granddaughter of longtime SLSO Principal Viola Herbert van den Berg.

Zofia's artwork features a landscape theme.

Among them was Zofia. While looking through the Top 100 pieces displayed recently in Powell Hall’s Wightman Grand Foyer, Zofia and her mother were also able to consider a deeper connection to the SLSO. Zofia’s great-grandfather was Herbert van den Burg, SLSO violist for 40 years. He joined the SLSO in the 1931/1932 season as Principal Viola, a position he held through the 1967/1968 season. He retired from the SLSO in 1971.

Zofia may also have a future in art, as well. Her piece received a Special Recognition Award in the Picture the Music contest.

The SLSO is committed to supporting young artists in a variety of media. Besides the SVA’s Picture the Music contest, it also holds an annual Express the Music contest, which encourages high school students to write prose or poetry in response to hearing a classical piece.

Additionally, the SLSO performs regularly in schools across the St. Louis region and fosters talented musicians through the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, which performs expert-level repertoire in three concerts per year.

Picture the Music is sponsored by the Employees Community Fund of Boeing. The complete list of the top 100 winners is available here. For more information about the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association including how to join, visit

Front Row: Claire Delehanty (winner in the K-3 division), Savanna Belt (winner in the grades 4-6 division), and Jeff Kaplan, Symphony Volunteer Association President. Back Row: Ron Klemm, Retired Manager of and Bev Cox, Picture the Music Chair.


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