Arts and Education Council Celebrates Innovative Arts Programs Across The St. Louis Region

For community-focused arts programs and organizations in cities across the country, the funding and institutional support they depend on to function successfully is being reduced at alarming rates. The Arts and Education Council—the umbrella organization that organizes the annual St. Louis Arts Awards—is a massive attempt to counteract that national trend.

The arts community in the St. Louis region is arguably in the midst of its own renaissance, developing with renewed energy and innovation in the wake of recent tumultuous years. But thanks to dedicated arts funding organizations like the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis, several of the region’s pinnacle arts nonprofits and organizations now have the resources that allow them to successfully support the arts communities and audiences they serve.

The St. Louis Arts Awards, one of the Arts and Education Council’s most anticipated events, celebrates individuals who embody A&E’s vision of promoting a thriving, innovative, well-supported arts community, glowing with artistic excellence. Nominations have since closed for this year’s Awards, but categories include Champion for the Art, Arts Innovator, Arts educator of the Year, Student Artist of the Year, Excellence in Philanthropy, the prestigious Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award, and more. The awards ceremony isn’t until January 23, but the kick-off cocktail reception is  5:30-8pm on Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Chase Park Plaza. This year’s list of honorees, available online, features Steven Woolf, the artistic director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, as the 2017 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award.

Established in 1963, the Arts and Education Council is the region’s only privately-supported arts fund, raising and awarding more than $100 million in support of arts nonprofits and arts education organizations in the bi-state region. Its grantees list features nearly 70 arts and education organizations, including a wide range of notables, from St. Louis arts community pillars like the Contemporary Art Museum, COCA, the St. Louis Symphony and the St. Louis Ballet, to unique St. Louis staples like Laumeier Sculpture Park, the Muny, Big Muddy Dance Company, Jazz St. Louis and Shakespeare St. Louis.

Located in the Grand Center district of Midtown St. Louis, the Centene Center for the Arts is yet another A&E contribution to the St. Louis region, offering rehearsal, performance, meeting and event space, an education center, art gallerias and more for tenants. Also hosted in the Centene Center are several arts-focused professional development programs like the Arts Leadership and Management Academy (ALMA) and the Executive Directors Round Table, both organized by the Arts and Education Council.

Featured image by Alejandro Escamilla

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