Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Nancy Fowler

Arts and Culture Reporter

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.

She’s an avid reader of memoir and a big fan of all true, compelling stories, which is why she loves public radio.

Nancy received a regional Emmy Award for news writing at WXYZ-TV in Detroit, and the Pride St. Louis' Felton T. Day Award for service to St. Louis' LGBT community. Her numerous fellowships include USC Annenberg’s NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater, and the Wake Forest University Addiction Studies Program for Journalists.

Email her: NFowler@STLPublicRadio.org

Follow her on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

Omega Jones plays Jesus in Stray Dog Theatre’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.” This rendition is set in a dystopian world and portrays Jesus as a complicated human.
Stray Dog Theatre

Growing up in and out of foster care, St. Louis singer and actor Omega Jones managed to find a silver lining: self-reliance.

It’s a trait that helps him confront racism as a young black man — and handle  the ups and downs of musical theater.

“I know at the end of the day, I’m taking care of me; no one else is,” he said.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis premiered Champion by Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer in 2013.
Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ departing general director and his replacement may very well pass each other on the way to their new jobs.

The St. Louis organization has announced that Andrew Jorgensen will become its new general director. Jorgensen comes to St. Louis from the Washington National Opera in Washington, D.C., where he directs artistic planning and operations. It’s the same organization where current Opera Theatre general director Timothy O’Leary is heading July 1 to become general director there.

Tickets to the touring version of "Hamilton," coming to the Fox Theatre, sold out in less than five hours.
Joan Marcus

After standing in line, waiting in online queues and forking out big bucks, St. Louisans will be able see “Hamilton” in their hometown.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blend of musical theater, hip-hop, blues, jazz and rap begins Tuesday night and runs through April 22 at The Fox Theatre. The musical turns traditional casting on its head, with actors of color playing the men who shaped the nation, including the first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and Vice President Aaron Burr.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In Emeara Burns’ north St. Louis neighborhood, gun violence is a way of life.

Shelley Richmond, a transgender woman, and her wife live in the same house in this Cahokia neighborhood where Richmond grew up.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Eighty-year-old Wisper Lowe, a transgender woman from Belleville, grew up during World War II, a period that demanded patriotism and strict gender roles.

Lowe was assigned male gender at birth. When she was 5, her mother caught her putting on lipstick.

“And her response was to smear the lipstick all over my mouth and then push me onto the front porch where all the neighborhood kids were playing in the street — and lock the door,” Lowe said.

“Souvenir,” the story of singer Florence Foster Jenkins, presented by Max & Louie Productions, won five Theater Circle awards including Outstanding Actress, Actor and Production of a Comedy.
Max & Louie Productions

St. Louis’ small theater companies were the big winners Monday night in the sixth annual Theater Circle awards.

Stray Dog Theatre took home six awards for the musical “Ragtime” and another for “A Doll’s House.” “Ragtime,” the story of African-American life in the early 20th Century, won in categories including Outstanding Actor, Actress and Production of a Musical.

People lined up outside the Fox Thatre last October to buy "Hamilton" tickets.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louisans who missed out on “Hamilton” tickets now have a chance to see the sold-out musical — for the cost of a box of popcorn.

On Monday, the Fox Theater announced a lottery in which 40 orchestra-level tickets for every performance will go for $10 each. The lottery begins April 1 for the April 3 opening night.

Lottery participants can enter only once for the chance to get two tickets.

Kevin Gardner is a Gateway Men's Chorus member and an Master Sergeant in the Air Force.
Carolina Hidalgo| St. Louis Public Radio

 

 

The deep camaraderie of singing with other gay men drew Kevin Gardner to St. Louis’ Gateway Men’s Chorus. Eleven years later, the Air Force Master Sergeant believes it’s time for the group to broaden its focus.

 

A boy named LaRon enjoys a class at the former Intersect Arts Center building, before the organization moved into its new renovated space.
Intersect Arts Center

St. Louis artist Sarah Bernhardt had no idea she’d be teaching children when she first moved into her Gravois Park studio. But that changed after a rock sailed through her window and she invited a teenager with a good throwing arm to come inside for an art project.

That was five years ago, in the early days of her Intersect Arts Center, 3636 Texas Ave. A $3 million renovation recently transformed the center, but the commitment to free art classes for local kids remains a cornerstone.

Hip-hop artists perform during a Story Stitchers event called Make Music on the Loop, June 2017.
The Sheldon

An exhibit at the Sheldon Art Gallery will display videos and photos of young St. Louisans working through their experiences with gun violence.

“Pick the City UP” is a presentation of the Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective. The exhibit, which opens Friday, documents work from the past several years.

Susan Colangelo and several other artists founded the nonprofit in 2013 with the idea to tell stories through embroidery. Now, the work encompasses written and spoken word, including hip-hop and poetry.

McCluer High School theater students rehearse “Man of La Mancha” at the Florissant Civic Center. Feb. 21, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis schoolchildren in well-funded school districts often enjoy newer amenities like updated textbooks and newer technology. They may also have an advantage when it comes to the arts.

The disparity of resources is illustrated by theater departments at two local high schools. Clayton High School, whose students are mostly white, gets more help from the district and the community. In Florissant, predominantly African-American McCluer High School largely relies on the theater director, Doug Erwin, for funding.

Kahlil Irving completed his BFA in art history and ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute. In May of 2017, Irving earned his Master of Fine Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.
Kahlil Irving

St. Louis multimedia artist Kahlil Irving is only 25, but he’s enjoying a level of success many artists never see.

Much of his work, which challenges Western constructs of identity and culture, is now being shown from coast to coast. Irving embraces the rush of recognition and is enjoying being “on top.” But his work, and even his successes, conjure up issues from the past.

Injustice Bear is the title of the black-and-white piece; Justice Bear is the name of the gold and yellow work. A street artist known as finnch created the contrasting canvasses.
St.ART

An international conference in Atlanta will spotlight St. Louis artists who took part in a festival designed to highlight local racial and socioeconomic divisions.

The exhibition at the Hope Global Forums conference in March stems from the inaugural St.ART street art festival  this past October in Forest Park and Fairground Park.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 8, 2012 - Various iterations of "Falling Man" and other works by Ernest Trova will soon land at Washington University's Modern Graphic History Library. The Trova family collection will include sketches, models, photographs, casting molds, blueprints and correspondence.

Trova, a self-trained St. Louis sculptor, died in 2009. During the 1960s and 1970s, his "Falling Man" series catapulted him to international fame. Works from the series are displayed at such institutions as MoMA and the Guggenheim in New York City, the Tate Modern in London and in several St. Louis locations including Laumeier Sculpture Park and at Brentwood and Maryland Boulevards in Clayton.

Visual artist and RAC grantee Ellie Balk works on a mural. She hopes to use some of her RAC fellowship money to create a workbook to demystify the process of creating public art.
Michael Toolan

The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis has reached a major milestone in a program supporting local artists.

In 2013, RAC began awarding $20,000 to 10 Artist Fellows. Today, the group announced its fifth round of grants, bringing the total to $1 million.

This album was recorded live at Club Imperial in 1965.
George Edick

When George Edick Jr. was in elementary school, he received a present he’ll never forget: a guitar from Ike Turner.

Edick grew up in the 1950s around musicians like Turner who played at his father’s Club Imperial, 6306-28 West Florissant Ave., in the Walnut Park West neighborhood in northwest St. Louis.

The run-down building escaped the wrecking ball last month after the St. Louis Preservation Board voted to save it.

Erise Williams, wearing a gray and white striped shirt, stands by the window, talking with guests at Rustin's Place, a drop-in center  serving mostly young, black, gay men. January 2018
Erise Williams

Black History Month is a time to spotlight African-Americans who made a difference. But many people don’t know that prominent African-Americans were part of the LGBTQ community.

Among them was Bayard Rustin, an openly gay black man who worked side-by-side with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The civil rights strategist who died in 1987 is honored every day at a little storefront in St. Louis’ Vandeventer neighborhood, called Rustin’s Place. It’s a drop-in center that largely serves LGBTQ people, particularly gay African-American men.

The St. Louis Symphony performs at Powell Hall in a 2016 concert.
File | St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony has announced its 2018-2019 schedule, which includes a mixture of classics and new works.

The method of selecting the lineup was also new. For its 139th season, the orchestra asked its musicians to weigh in.

It just made sense to include them, according to Marie-Hélène Bernard, symphony president and CEO .

Carmen and Isabel Garcia with a Clydesdale, on location in September 2017 at Grant's Farm for a promotional St. Louis Blues video.
Carmen Garcia

For years, teenager Isabel Garcia performed in school plays as her mother, Carmen, beamed from the audience.

Isabel knew her mom once loved to perform, too, and had the playbills to prove it. But she’d never seen her mother on stage.

This is a recent photo of the building that once housed Club Imperial.
Robert Vroman

Updated Jan. 23 — A building that was the site of an historic St. Louis music venue will remain standing, at least for the time being.

The St. Louis Preservation Board Monday night unanimously backed a decision to deny a demolition permit for the former Club Imperial.

Building owner Robert Vroman, who bought the building last August in an auction, said he hopes public attention will entice a new buyer with plans to restore the space. The deadline for paying additional taxes is summer 2019, Vroman said. He said that if no one steps forward with a renovation offer by then, he’ll let the property return to the city for another tax auction.

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