Nancy Fowler

Arts and Culture Reporter

Nancy Fowler is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, with a particular delight in the stories of people working in that intersection.

She 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.

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Follow her on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

Gerard Craft throws a pizza crust at Pastaria
Greg Rannells

Local restaurateur Gerard Craft has long been a bridesmaid in the pursuit of a coveted James Beard Award. Now he’s the bride. After six years as a nominee, Craft won the "Best Chef: Midwest" award in a Monday night gala in Chicago.

A sampling of teacups at McCluer High School
Nancy Fowler

A year that began with the trauma of Michael Brown’s death is ending on more positive note, thanks to a traditional tea ceremony this morning at McCluer High School.

Calls of  “To McCluer!” between principal Jane Crawford and the students, and their shared sipping, marked the official ceremony.

The Love Doll Day 24 (Diving) by Laurie Simmons
Contemporary Art Museum

Women are objectified. Men are emotionally M.I.A. Everyone is isolated. Photographer Laurie Simmons looks at these issues and more in an exhibit opening Friday at St. Louis’ Contemporary Art Museum.

“Two Boys and the Love Doll” is Simmons’ first Midwestern solo show. She’s been working with dolls for 40 years. Back in the 1970s, Simmons made dollhouses that spoke to topics America was only beginning to grapple with, according to CAM curator Jeffrey Uslip.

Left to right. Thelma Steward, Freida Wheaton, Amy Kaiser, Ilene Berman, Shualee Cook, Cecilia Nadal, Kelly Pollack
Nancy Fowler

St. Louis women honored by the St. Louis Visionary Awards took home trophies Monday night but not before announcing visions of their own.

This was the first year for the revived awards, which skipped 2014 after Grand Center Inc. withdrew its sponsorship. At the Sun Theater ceremony, many of the seven awardees took the podium to not only say “thanks” but to tell the crowd of more than 300 about their passions.

Cara Starke
Elisabeth Smolarz

Updated with personal interviews and audio.

St. Louis’ Pulitzer Arts Foundation has named a prominent New York City arts professional as its new director.

Cara Starke will replace Kristina Van Dyke, who’s led the Grand Center institution since fall 2011.

Olive, played by Kim Furlow, and Florence, played by Colleen Backer, both standing, surrounded by friends, in in Dramatic License's "The Odd Couple"
John Lamb

A great dichotomy surrounds the idea of women and friendship. “I just love her to death,” one might say. “But I hate her for being so pretty/thin/young/talented.”

Dramatic License Productions is putting a new emphasis on the complexity of female friendships and other women-centered issues. The Chesterfield Mall-based theater company has a new mission to present a majority of work by, for and about women, according to founder Kim Furlow. 

rc)Left to right. Drew Battles (Serge), John Pierson (Ma and Larry Dell (Yvan) talk and laugh about "Art" and life
Nancy Fowler

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter,” poet Khalil Gibran wrote. Nowhere is laughter between companions more important than in the Tony Award-winning play, “Art,” presented by the St. Louis Actors’ Studio, beginning tonight.

But wait, shouldn’t a play called “Art” be about art? Well, it is — and isn’t.

2013 7GP book cover

Seventh-graders are known for the outsized emotions that begin to grip their thoughts at the onset of puberty. But a program called the 7th Grade Poetry Foundation helps middle-schoolers express their feelings.

The St. Louis Repertory Theatre will include an original play about Ferguson in its 2016 "Ignite!"  festival of new plays.

As spring flowers push their way up at the site where Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August, thoughts around the tragedy are also emerging as more pointed questions.

What institutionalized forces may have contributed to the shooting? How has it changed the St. Louis region? Will that continue? St. Louis Public would like to hear from you. (Scroll down to the end of this post to send us your questions.)

Shualee Cook and Sara Burke
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Since 2002, the Visionary Awards have honored 68 St. Louis-area women for contributions to the arts, but this year's list includes a first.

Shualee Cook, 37, a transgender woman, is honored as an Emerging Artist for her skills as a playwright. Cook’s “An Invitation Out” opens at Mustard Seed Theater Friday, April 17.

Leslie Laskey, second from left, at Art Kamp in 2010
Dennis Cope

On Thursday, Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts will laud a 94-year-old professor who’s still a working artist.

Leslie Laskey will receive the Dean’s Medal for outstanding service at an annual awards dinner. Besides Laskey, the event honors six other alumni and friends of the school.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

After three decades, Jill McGuire of St. Louis’ Regional Arts Commission will leave her post as executive director on Friday, April 10.

McGuire co-founded RAC in 1985 to help fund and support the arts in St. Louis. Since then, the nonprofit has awarded $90 million to artists and institutions, according to McGuire.

Looking for a reason to begin spring cleaning? Do it for the cats. The cats of Animal House, that is.

Gubernatorial hopful Henry Lee Neale  (Stephen Peirick) and his wife Elizabeth Neale (Maggie Conroy) are all smiles.
Provided by OnSite Theatre

Missouri’s next gubernatorial election is a year and a half away, but a St. Louis play gets a rolling jump-start on the campaign.

The OnSite Theatre comedy, called “Off the Record,” opens this Friday and runs for two weekends. The play by Alec Wild takes place aboard a moving school bus that delivers a fictitious candidate — and the audience — to a handful of local campaign stops.

Artistic director Ann Marie Mohr said that even the ticket-holders have an active part in the show.

The Artist Guild building in Oak Knoll Park
From the Artist Guild website

St. Louis’ 129-year-old Artists' Guild is in the midst of relocating. But the move won’t be far.

The Artists’ Guild is moving in late May into the old Famous-Barr building, which is owned by Washington University, in downtown Clayton.

From "Soko Sonko"
Washington University

The journey of finding yourself, the possibility of a pregnant man and a madcap trip to a hair stylist are all themes in this weekend’s African Film Festival at St. Louis’ Washington University.

Alehra Evans and Sheila Suderwalla
Durrie Bouscaren

You can tell a lot just by just looking at Alehra Evans. That she’s a joyful, creative person, for one. Wearing a puffy white peony in her hair, sporting a gold-toned animal-print jacket and multi-layered gold earrings, she's clearly into the art of fashion.

Felicia Shaw
Provided by the Regional Arts Commission

The Regional Arts Commission has announced its new executive director, after a 10-month search.

RAC announced on Tuesday that Felicia Shaw will replace retiring RAC founder Jill McGuire. Shaw is a native St. Louisan who’s returning home after a long career, much of it spent on the West Coast.

Lori Waxman at work, with artist John Early and his son at the window and local children seated nearby
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

When does reviewing art become a performance in and of itself? When it’s Chicago Tribune art critic Lori Waxman and her national “60/wrd min art critic” project, which landed in St. Louis last week.