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st. louis locals - please help with relocation questions

Hubby & I are both artists interested in relocating from Charleston SC back to the midwest where we both grew up (him: Omaha, me: Detroit). We are narrowing in on St. Louis because it seems to be a fairly progressive city with a thriving arts scene. I wonder if some residents could help answer some questions I'm having trouble uncovering in my research>

-How predominant are visual arts in the city? Does the public actually support the arts (as in buying art) or is it more interested in just visiting a museum periodically? Any suggestions on galleries that are receptive to new/local artists in the community? How about any art festivals/fairs in the area?

-Housing: We would like to be within the city limits and preferably within walking distance of parks/restaurants/some shopping. However, our budget is not huge. Hoping to find something in the 100,000 - 150,000 range. We are not opposed to alternative living spaces such as lofts or warehouses, and also would be open to an older home that needs fixing up. Any suggestions for neighborhoods to look at? My only request is that it's relatively safe. We don't have children, so a great school district is not an issue for us.

Climate: I know there are four seasons. How hot does it really get in the summer, and how long does the heat last? We are both really tired of the Charleston summers, which start in May and don't let up until October, with daily highs averaging 90 degrees and a humidity that makes it feel like 105. However, we don't want to do a complete 180 to 6 months of frigid weather either, though an actual winter would be nice. What is it really like in StL? Monthly averages don't tell you the whole picture.

Sorry to be so long-winded! Of course we're planning a trip to see the city first-hand, but any info from residents is always helpful and much appreciated!

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