The Sheldon building has long been a part of the cultural landscape of St. Louis. It was designed by 1904 World’s Fair architect Louis C. Spiering, and built in 1912 as the home of the Ethical Society of St. Louis. Known widely for its quality acoustics, the venue has hosted many of the world’s most prominent musical artists and public speakers over the years, earning it the nickname “The Carnegie Hall of St. Louis”.
With the Ethical Society’s relocation to St. Louis County in 1964, the Sheldon began featuring mostly musical performances. Ownership of the venue changed hands a few times in the ensuing decades, with the building functioning alternately as a church, gospel and jazz music venue, concert music venue, and community meeting center. The non-profit Sheldon Arts Foundation, formed in 1988, purchased the building in 1991.
In 1998, the Sheldon expanded by adding six art galleries, encompassing 7000 square feet and featuring exhibits on photography, architecture, St. Louis artists and history, and jazz history, as well as a sculpture garden. The venue features a continuous rotation of exhibitions (over 20 different exhibitions annually), in addition to a full calendar of musical concerts, lectures, and public and private gatherings. Also available are a series of weekday morning workshops for school groups focusing on various musical styles (jazz, folk, blues and classical, as well as musical theater) and regional and national history.
The Sheldon Information
- Public Transportation: Fair (walking distance to #70 bus)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/ Programs: Approximately 300 events presented annually.
- Ticket Prices: Varies widely ($10-150) depending on event and seating choice. Discounts available at select events.
- Subscriptions: Donations to the Sheldon are tax deductible and garner benefits from complimentary CDs to event tickets and free parking.