Cynthia Prost, President and CEO of the Arts and Education Council, stopped by to talk about the organization and their upcoming gala at the Chase on May 23rd. -----
The Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis is a unique asset in our community. The Arts and Education Council is our region's only united arts fund supported by private contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations and institutions committed to the value and benefit of the arts to our community. -------
The Arts and Education Council serves as the base - the root, if you will - through which funding, training and collaboration happens for nearly 100 arts organizations that enrich the cultural landscape of St. Louis each year. ------
Arts and Education Council grantees not only produce and present great art, they also maintain viable, impactful arts education and outreach programming for K-12 students throughout the bi-state area. Research continues to show that children who participate in the arts enjoy greater academic success, higher self-esteem, improved discipline, higher graduation rates and broad, creative thinking skills necessary for advancement in the world beyond school.
Cynthia Prost has over twenty years of nonprofit leadership experience and currently serves as President and CEO of the Arts and Education Council since 2008. In this role she oversees all institutional matters including fundraising and grant making. She received her bachelor of arts (magna cum laude) and a master of arts in management from Fontbonne University in St. Louis. Prost is an adjunct faculty member at Fontbonne University in the Nonprofit Management graduate program, teaching courses in fundraising, philanthropy, grant writing, strategic planning and board governance and management. ------
Dr. Judy Mann, Senior Curator or European Art to 1800 for the St. Louis Art Museum, stopped by to talk to Nancy about the exhibition, Paintings on Stone: Science and the Sacred 1530–1800.
About the Exhibition: In 2000 the Saint Louis Art Museum purchased Cavaliere d’Arpino’s Perseus Rescuing Andromeda, an exceptional painting on lapis lazuli. The acquisition of the small, stunning work of art spurred extensive research that culminates in Paintings on Stone: Science and the Sacred 1530–1800, the first systematic examination of the pan-European practice of this unusual and little-studied artistic tradition. ———
By 1530 Italian artists had begun to paint portraits and sacred images on stone. At first artists used slate and marble. By the last decades of the 16th century, the repertoire expanded, eventually including alabaster, lapis lazuli, onyx, jasper, agate, and amethyst. In addition to demonstrating the beauty of these works, Paintings on Stone explains why artists began using stone supports and the role that stone played in the meaning of these endeavors. ———
Bringing together more than 70 examples by 58 artists, Paintings on Stone represents major centers of stone painting and features 21 different stones. ———
Judith W. Mann, the senior curator of European art to 1800. Since joining the museum in 1988, she has reinstalled the collections of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and 18th-century European painting and sculpture three times, and organized two major international exhibitions. In 2022, the museum will organize a major, international exhibition curated by Mann that examines the art of painting on stone, a practice that flourished in Europe—particularly Italy—in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 2015, the Association of Art Museum Curators and the American Academy in Rome awarded Mann the Samuel H. Kress Foundation AAMC Affiliated Fellowship in order to allow her to continue her research into painting on stone in Rome.——-
Mann curated “Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi: Father and Daughter Painters in Baroque Italy,” which opened at Rome’s Palazzo Venezia and later was seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Saint Louis Art Museum, as well as the 2012 exhibition “Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master,” which was presented at the Saint Louis Art Museum and the National Gallery, London. In recognition for her scholarship relating to the Barocci exhibition and catalogue, Mann received the Association of Art Museum Curators’ Outstanding Monographic Exhibition Award. She holds a graduate degree and doctorate from Washington University. ———
Jessica Hentoff, Artistic Executive Director of Circus Harmony, stopped by to talk about the mission and works of the organization. ------
Circus Harmony is a non-profit social circus organization that uses circus arts to motivate social change. By inspiring individuals and connecting communities with our circus education and entertainment programs, we have a positive impact on the St. Louis area and beyond. ———
Our programs teach valuable life skills like perseverance, focus, and teamwork. Learning circus with others teaches trust, responsibility and cooperation. Perhaps the most important experience we give our participants is the opportunity to meet and interact with children from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds than their own. ———
We believe the path to peace is a path of cooperation and communication. Teaching children from different neighborhoods how to stand on each other’s shoulders may seem like a strange way to take this path. But it’s the technique we use! Circus Harmony promotes peace through pyramids, joy through juggling and harmony through handsprings. ———
About Jessica Hentoff: Jessica has been teaching and performing circus arts for over 40 years. Ms. Hentoff has been using circus arts to motivate social change since she founded the St. Louis Arches youth circus performance troupe in 1989. She created Circus Harmony in 2001 to expand youth circus opportunities for St. Louis youth. In 2009, Ms. Hentoff was named both St. Louis Arts Innovator of the Year and Outstanding Arts Educator of the Year. Ms. Hentoff is the only person to be a founding member of both the Big Apple Circus in NYC and Circus Flora in St. Louis. She serves as youth circus advisor to both the Circus Fans Association of America and the World Circus Federation. In 2014, she was honored to be the first person to receive the American Youth Circus Organization/American Circus Educators’ Excellence in Circus Education Award. Jessica is the artistic/executive director of Circus Harmony where she uses her remarkable vision and use of circus arts to build character and community and to help children “defy gravity, soar with confidence and leap over social barriers.”
Grant Benoit, Director of Education for Craft Alliance, stopped by to discuss his new role at the Alliance. ----
An engaging Artist and Education professional with an abundance of experience working in educational arts, Grant Benoit comes to Craft Alliance following a tenure as the museum educator at the Louisiana State University (LSU) Museum of Art where he coordinated, developed and taught K-12, adult and university programs. Benoit received his MFA in Printmaking from Southern Illinois University and exhibits both nationally and internationally.----
With experience in art education, leadership, management, program planning, and non-profits, Benoit brings broad expertise and new ideas to a position that drives the comprehensive educational resources Craft Alliance provides to its community partners and thousands of students regardless of need.----
Kim Eberlein, Co-Chair of The Visionary Awards, and Hassie Davis, Teacher and Educator in the Theater Arts, as well as being a performer, and a recipient this year of a Visionary Award, stopped by to talk about this years award event.
About the Visionary Awards: In 2015, the Saint Louis Visionary Awards were relaunched by an independent committee of women to celebrate the numerous contributions and achievements of women who work in or support the arts inSt. Louis. From established working arts professionals and arts educators to emerging artists and community impact artists, each year's honorees are truly "visionary". The 2022 recipients are... HASSIE DAVIS, ANDREA HUGHES, DIANNE ISBELL, MEE JEY, EMILY RAUH PULITZER, PAM TRAPP
Hassie Davis, this year's recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Artist is a locally and nationally known performing and teaching artist based in the St. Louis Metro area. As a performer, she has worked with various theater companies around the country, most notably with TheaterWorks/USA performing at the Kennedy Center. As an arts educator, she has utilized her skills in Arts Integration with many arts education programs such as Muny 1st Stage, Gitana Theater, The Canvas Project, and is a member of the Wolf Trap International Arts Integration program. In addition, she is a 2016 Fellow of the Regional Arts Commission Community Arts Training Program. She helped to create and has served for the last
21 years as Program Coordinator for CLUB CHIPS. CHIPS Health and
Wellness Center’s innovative teen leadership program utilizes the arts to guide teens in acquiring valuable knowledge about their mental and physical health in order to educate and empower themselves and their peers.
Lauren Ross, Executive Director of Laumier Sculpture Park, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the park and the current and upcoming exhibits, including Salutary Sculpture, which runs through May 15th, 2022. -------
Founded in 1976, Laumeier is one of the first and largest dedicated sculpture parks in the country. In 1968, Mrs. Matilda Laumeier bequeathed the first 72 acres of the future Laumeier Sculpture Park to St. Louis County in memory of her husband, Henry Laumeier. In 1976, local artist Ernest Trova gifted 40 artworks, with an estimated market value of approximately one million dollars, to St. Louis County for the formation of a sculpture park and gallery. Laumeier Sculpture Park opened as part of the St. Louis County Department of Parks and Recreation system on July 7, 1976. One year later, Laumeier Sculpture Park was officially incorporated.
Today, Laumeier Sculpture Park is an internationally recognized, nonprofit arts organization that is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and operates in partnership with St. Louis County Parks. Projects and programs are supported by the Mark Twain Laumeier Endowment Fund, the Regional Arts Commission, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Missouri Arts Council and the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis. Laumeier presents more than 70 works of large-scale outdoor sculpture in a 105-acre park located in the heart of St. Louis County. Free and open daily, Laumeier serves 300,000 visitors of all ages each year through sculpture conservation, education programs, temporary exhibitions and public events. -------
In 2015, Laumeier closed its first major capital campaign, Sculpting the Future, culminating in the renovation of the Laumeier’s 1917 Estate House into the Kranzberg Education Lab and the construction of the new Aronson Fine Arts Center for exhibitions, programs and events. -------
Alonzo Townsend, Founder of The Townsend and Three Agency, stopped by to talk with Nancy about his career and his agency's new collaboration with the Dark Room at the Grandel. ------
The Townsend and Three Agency has taken over booking for the the Dark Room at the Grandel concert series. The artist, entertainment, and booking agency is owned by Alonzo Townsend of St. Louis. ———
Alonzo Townsend is the son of the Grammy-winning St. Louis blues musician Henry Townsend, who died in 2006, and his mother was also a musician of note, blues singer Vernell Townsend. He started working for his father, on the business side, at the age of nine, and his career progressed from there. ———
His spoken word recording, “A Letter To My City,” was featured as a part of the 18 N 18 St. Louis Blues Society Compilation Album. Townsend is a speaker and writer and board member for the St. Louis Blues Society, Blues Education programs including “Hip-Hop to The Blues,” and a presenter/youth educator for Blues in The Schools Programs. ———
“I want to make sure we have a platform to showcase the legends we still have,” he has said. ———
“But this is also where we get to highlight the underdogs, the future, who are looking for opportunities but don’t always get the co-sign, don’t get the opportunity when it comes to getting chosen for certain festivals and certain stages.” ———
Jessica Adkins is a multi-instrumentalist, instructional designer, philosopher, and filmmaker. Originally from Milwaukee, she moved to St. Louis in 2014 to pursue a PhD in Philosophy with a minor in Women and Gender Studies at SLU. Her dissertation focused on the public exhibition of anatomical bodies. She can most often be found around town playing accordion in The Opera Bell Band, Ryan Koenig and the Goldenrods, and The So Grand Polka Band. The pandemic allowed her the free time to concentrate on composing original polka scores, and she hopes to help keep polka music alive in St. Louis. In her free time, she creates stop motion videos out of paper and has placed 2nd in the City Garden Film Competition and has been screened at the St. Louis International Film Festival.
Independent Visual Artist, Sarah Paulsen, stopped by to talk to Nancy about her life and work. -----
Raised in Kirkwood, Missouri, Sarah Paulsen is an artist, filmmaker and community organizer whose artwork has been exhibited widely in local and national exhibitions, and whose prize-winning films have been featured in the St. Louis International Film Festival, the True/False Film Festival, the Black Maria Film Festival, the Motivate Film Festival and the Chicago International Children's Film Festival, among many others. She was a 2018 Great Rivers Biennial Winner culminating in an exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis. A 2010 C.A.T. Institute fellow and 2015 Regional Arts Commission Artist Fellow, she has garnered numerous awards for her work and also completed several residencies – including the Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris. A dedicated advocate for social change, a key aspect of Paulsen’s practice has always involved the orchestration of large-scale community projects, such as participatory public murals, thematic round-table discussions and the now-annual People’s Joy Parade on Cherokee Street, currently in its ninth year. Paulsen holds a B.A. in visual art from the University of Missouri, Columbia and an M.F.A. from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University. She lives and works in St. Louis, where she teaches art and animation at Marian Middle School and local colleges.
Catherine Dudley-Rose, independent filmmaker, actress, and musician stopped by to speak with Nancy about her life and career.
Catherine is an award winning writer/director, actress and musician. Her first feature film, Parallel Chords, was released theatrically in Los Angeles after winning a number of awards at national film festivals. She has taught at the NY Stage & Film Program, the Broadway Theater Institute, and been a guest artist, director and performer internationally. She is a National Film Challenge winner, and an Emerging Director finalist in Seattle. She was a kick off speaker for the Citizen Jane Film Festival, celebrating female directors, and recently she was chosen to receive a RAC grant. She is an NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) funded grant recipient for her feature length screenplay Parallel Chords, and has been commissioned to write three other screenplays. Mentioned in LA Times, Hollywood reporter and Women and Hollywood for Parallel Chords winning "Best Feature Writer" sponsored by the Writer's Guild of America, West. ------
About Andrew Newman:
Andrew Newman ’87 joined the Burroughs faculty in 1992. He teachers photography and is the school photographer. Newman is also the faculty coordinator of Student Activities; faculty sponsor of the Student Congress; and a faculty co-sponsor of The Hague International Model United Nations. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Vanderbilt University and a masters of education degree from Washington University.
About Plastic Ocean:
Andrew Newman spent part of his sabbatical year from John Burroughs School out on the ocean studying and photographing the "Great Garbage Patch," an enormous area in the ocean littered with the refuse of humanity, especially plastics. ------
Researchers from The Ocean Cleanup project claimed that the patch covers 1.6 million square kilometres (620 thousand square miles). Some of the plastic in the patch is over 50 years old, and includes items (and fragments of items) such as "plastic lighters, toothbrushes, water bottles, pens, baby bottles, cell phones, plastic bags, and nurdles." The small fibers of wood pulp found throughout the patch are "believed to originate from the thousands of tons of toilet paper flushed into the oceans daily." ------
Prinze Lyons, Dancer, Choreographer, and Filmmaker, stopped by to speak with Nancy about his career and his latest project, a dance centered film. ------
Prince Lyons is a professional freelance performing artist and creative from St. Louis, MO. Prince began his dance journey at Best Dance and Talent Center under the direction of Judy Best-Person and received his BFA from Webster University— Cum Laude with an emphasis on ballet. ------
Prince has danced for Visceral Dance Chicago, The Cambrians, Owen/ Cox Dance Group, and Rambert II. Throughout his performance career, Prince has performed works by Diane McIntyre, Kevin O’Day, Robyn Mineko-Williams, Benoit Swan-Pouffer, Jermaine Spivey, Ohad Naharin, Sidi Larbi, Damien Jalet and worked with recording artists like Jessie Ware. ------
Prince has choreographed on Visceral Dance Chicago, Big Muddy Dance Company, is the 2018-2019 winner of Western Michigan University’s Department of Dance National Choreography Competition, and is the Co-Founded and premiered The K/P Project St. Louis in June of 2021. Additionally, Prince is Jaquel Knight Foundation Grant Recipient and a published model working with Nike, Kohls, JD Sports/Finishline, and Dicks Sporting Goods. His more artistic portraits have premiered in art galleries worldwide from Montreal, Canada, to Melbourne, Australia. ------
Mario Farwell, play-writer, librettist, and screenwriter stopped by to speak with Nancy about his life and career. ------
Mario Farwell is a native of St. Louis Missouri. He attended the University of MO at Kansas City and received a B.A in Theater. While in Kansas City, he founded The Black and Avant-Garde Theatre. After graduating college, he moved to New York City and lived there for eighteen years. His plays and musicals have been produced off-off Broadway in NYC, San Diego, CA, Minneapolis, MN, and St. Louis, MO. Mario Farwell is the founder and current director of St. Louis Writers’ Group in St. Louis, MO. The group’s mission is the development of local scriptwriters’ works. ———
Mario has been writing plays, musicals, and screenplays for over thirty years. His insight into the complexity of the human psyche began at an early age. As a young boy, he would spend hours at his mother’s beauty shop. There he carefully observed the many eccentric characters that patronized the shop. He soaked in all the wonderful gossip and stories that the neighborhood women would spin. His play The Seamstress of St. Francis Street was strongly influenced by this experience. The Seamstress of St. Francis Street was fully staged by First Run Theatre in August 2007. The play also won the Inaugural E. Desmond Lee Playwriting Competition, and the award-winning play was turned into a feature film entitled Pennies for the Boatman. The film has won several awards which includes Best Film and Screenplay at the Madrid International Film Festival. ———
The Seamstress of St. Francis Street was produced in 2010 in Ghana, Africa by the University of Ghana at Legon. ———
His plays have won The Emerging Playwright Awards at Urban Stages in NYC, been included in the Summer Play Festival at Jungle Theatre in Minneapolis, MN, won Best Play at Scripteaser in San Diego, CA, and nine of his plays have been selected for production at First Run Theatre in St. Louis, MO. ———
Mario’s full-length plays include Last Days of Café Café, Life Among the Trees, The Healing of Joey Padowaski, The Seamstress of St. Francis Street, You Know I Can’t Eat Buffalo Meat When There’s a Terrorist on the Loose, Apollo's Way, and Icarus Wings. He has written numerous one-acts: I AM GOAT, Service With a Smile, Beans, Naughty Boy, Naughty Girl, The Body Exchange and Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m Beautiful are a few of his short plays. ———
He has also written a screenplay entitled, The Eyes of Forever. He is currently working on completing two musicals, the first Joan of Arc a musical drama based on the life of Joan of Arc and the second musical entitled Starfest is a sci-fi adventure infused with Afro-American culture and music. Recently, Mr. Farwell has produced and directed a showcase production of his musical Joan of Arc.
About Jewish Rock Radio: -------
Mission: Jewish Rock Radio is the flagship initiative of Judaism Alive, a non-profit 501c3. The mission of Jewish Rock Radio (JRR) is to strengthen Jewish identity and engagement for youth and young adults through the power of music. -------
BACKGROUND: Jewish Rock Radio, the first high-caliber, 24-7, Jewish rock internet radio station was founded in 2009 by Jewish music pioneer, Rick Recht. JRR serves as a powerful network, promoting and elevating the international Jewish artist community while sharing a wealth of engagement opportunities available in the Jewish world for teens and young adults. -------
JRR has launched a variety of impactful initiatives including JRR Live Across America, The JRR Gift of Music, and the Jewish Star North American Talent Search to identify, attract, and support new talent in the Jewish world. -------
Kristen Sorth, Director and CEO of the St. Louis County Library System, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the goings on at the SLCL. ----
Among the happenings are the community outreach programs, including the diaper give-aways, and period supply give-aways for those that need them.----
Also discussed are the covid protocols and the ways the library has handled things during the pandemic, with curbside book programs, and online functions... as well as the massive renovation project happening within the system. ----
“I really believe I have the greatest job ever,” says Sorth, who celebrated 20 years with the St. Louis County Library in 2018. “All I have to do is walk into a branch and see the level of engagement between our staff and the community to know that all of our efforts are worth it.” When Sorth became Director in 2013 – the first woman to hold the title for the library system – she took over management of its more than 650 employees and $50 million annual budget and faced an enormous task ahead – a $120 million capital improvement project to renovate or replace 19 of the library’s 20 branches. (The project is on track for completion in 2022.).
Renée Franklin, Chief Diversity Officer for the St. Louis Art Museum, stopped by to speak with Nancy about her role at the Museum, and the Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship, among other topics.
Renée Brummell Franklin is the Chief Diversity Officer at the The Saint Louis Art Museum, a new position that will oversee the implementation of a report on diversity, equity, access and inclusion that was adopted in summer of 2020 by the museum’s board of commissioners. Franklin works closely with all museum departments to implement the report, which details immediate, actionable initiatives as well as longer-term considerations.
Franklin joined the museum as coordinator of community outreach programs in 1998. During her time at the museum, she has served in a sequence of roles of increasing responsibility. Most recently as director of audience development, Franklin led the museum’s efforts to expand and cultivate sustainable relationships with diverse audiences.
Franklin helped develop several successful initiatives at the museum, including the Friends of African American Art Collectors Circle, the Art with Us youth residency program, and the Teen Assistant Program, a mentoring program that includes paid, summer employment. Franklin has long overseen the Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship, a national model for increasing under-represented professionals working in museums.
Franklin received a master’s degree in education and master’s degree in business administration from Webster University and a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration from Towson University.
Professor Timothy G. Solberg of Washington University stopped by to speak with Nancy about a new course that aims to teach people about how to manage the arts as a business.
Tim Solberg has been appointed as the academic director for the business of the arts minor at WashU Olin. The business of the arts minor integrates specialized coursework, experiential learning and rich networking opportunities for undergraduate students looking to gain a deeper understanding of how business principles apply to a range of arts-related fields.
Launched in 2018, the program offers students a framework of business, financial, marketing and strategic approaches for managing a career out of their artistic pursuits.
Tim joined the Olin faculty in 2018. He is a professor of practice in finance as well as the academic director of the corporate finance and investments platform. He will lead the business of the arts minor program in opportunities that engage faculty, students, alumni, and community members.
The minor launched with a generous donation from Richard Ritholz, BSBA ’84, his wife Linda, who expressed a commitment to challenging students to practice their artistic endeavors with rigor and business savvy. The Ritholz’s donation is targeting the creation of new courses, experiential learning opportunities in the arts, scholarship funding and internship stipends, and paying for faculty members to teach and publicize the program.
“I am excited to be the academic director of the business of the arts program. I have always had a deep commitment to the arts, whether performing or design, or literature,” Tim said.
“We are designing a program that will have on-site experiential learning with fashion and garment design and creation, gallerists and museum managers, theater and media producers to learn the backstage operations methods. With my teaching experience in arts management at the premier arts and media management school in Chicago, Columbia College, and my own musical education, I am eager to mix finance and management with the arts and provide a hands-on experience for the students.”
In addition to his background in the arts, Tim has worked 30 years in finance, including as a corporate banker and investment advisor for endowment and foundation trustees on their asset allocation and spending policies.
ABOUT THE ROMARE BEARDEN GRADUATE MUSEUM FELLOWSHIP:
The Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship is a critical component in the museum’s long-established commitment to increase diversity among its professional staff. Past fellows have gone on to hold key positions at the Saint Louis Art Museum, as well as at other noteworthy museums and universities, including the Art Institute of Chicago, National Gallery of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art and University of Texas at Austin.
Named for African-American artist Romare Bearden, the paid fellowship is designed to prepare graduate students of color seeking careers as art historians and museum professionals. Fellows gain valuable hands-on experience working throughout the Art Museum on specific assignments tailored to their background and interests. Since the program’s inception in 1992, Bearden Fellows have spent their year teaching, researching works in the collection, developing programming, writing gallery materials and assisting curators with the development of exhibitions.
This year’s expansion of the fellowship is funded in part by the Romare Bearden Fellowship Endowment, which was created with a $100,000 gift from the Frost family.
About SHAKA MYRICK
Shaka Myrick (2021-2023) earned a bachelor’s degree in painting at the University of Missouri in Columbia and spent the next decade working and interning at the NYCH Art Gallery in Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City. She earned a master’s degree in art history from the University of Missouri–Kansas City, where she concentrated on West African culture and presence in Brazil. Last year, Myrick curated Real Black, the first exhibition featuring all Black artists at the UMKC Gallery of Art.
About DELYN STEPHENSON
Delyn Stephenson (2021-2022) earned a bachelor’s degree in art history and archaeology at the University of Missouri in Columbia and a master’s degree in history through the Museums, Public History, and Heritage program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. While at UMSL, Stephenson worked with the Griot Museum of Black History to create the exhibition Still We Thrive: The Neighborhoods of Fountain Park, Lewis Place, and The Ville. She also completed an internship with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and worked at the National Blues Museum in St. Louis.