For a city like St. Louis, opportunities are best created when people come together. In addition to the world-class venues and performance art organizations that you know so well, there are dozens of local and emerging arts troupes, organizations, and collectives that make up the backbone of Grand Center Arts District’s creative lifeforce, inspiring the greater community to support, discuss, participate, and grow within the arts.
From education to performing arts, there’s something new to discover around each corner. Hop over to the Centene Center for the Arts, owned and operated by the Arts and Education Council, and you will find a vibrant collective of arts organizations and arts-focused programming. With 21 current organizations in residence of the nearly 100 organizations benefiting from A&E programming and support, A&E is a major driver of arts funding in the District and beyond.
Their newest public series which launches this fall is called Catalyst Conversations and will feature two creative industry experts, a host and a special guest, who will open up a dialogue between each other and attendees about various topics surrounding the arts. The thought-provoking series will take place once a month, and A&E hopes that it will encourage those who attend to think of arts in a new way.
“Grand Center is the heart of the St. Louis creative community, and what we are able to do and inspire here ripples throughout the city and beyond,” says A&E’s Director of Marketing and Communications Emily Hellmuth. “With events like this, we are able to connect the dots and bring people together with the goal to inspire and share resources and ideas.”
Just up the street, fellow innovators and city-wide arts supporters, the Grand Center-based Kranzberg Arts Foundation not only provides a number of the city’s most accessible venues, resources and programs for artists at all levels, but they also host music artist-in-residence and resident organization programs that support local individuals and arts-focused organizations.
In both programs, KAF helps by providing infrastructure, marketing support, studio space, and patron support – key areas for both individuals and organizations who are trying to build their audience and make a name for themselves. “The program helps to build a diverse artist community while giving artists space and a stage to elevate their work,” says Senior Marketing Manager Andrew Warshauer. “We believe artists are the soul of our city and this is our way to support them directly.”
For students, Grand Center Arts Academy’s art-focused curriculum, and the Montessori Lab School’s recent tech and facility updates are ensuring that the passions for the arts are being fueled at a young age. Larger institutions – like CAM and Craft Alliance – are expanding the breadth and accessibility of their programming to reach more kids at more schools across the region. And student-run and led organizations, like KAF resident St. Louis Story Stitchers, are putting kids and teens in the driver’s seat of area innovation through storytelling and literary arts.
Grand Center Arts District is more than just an entertainment destination, it’s a vibrant cultural and creative hub that generates millions of dollars in the local economy and is home to dozens of organizations that are funding progressive arts and community-based programs throughout the region. If you haven’t been by to support or learn about the many organizations that live here, we challenge you to try something new this month!
November 13, 5-7pm | Catalyst Innovation Lab in the Centene Center for the Arts, 3547 Olive St.
*Hosted by Chuck Harper, Department Chair of Theater and Dance at SIUE, and featuring Hana Sharif, the next Artistic Director at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis