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.

Email her: NFowler@STLPublicRadio.org

Follow her on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

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.

'A Midsummer Night's Dream' was the big winner for the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.
Provided by the Rep

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis was the biggest winner at Monday night's local Theater Circle Awards.

The Rep won nine awards, overall, more than any other company. Five of them were for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

From New Line's "Passing Strange," 2011
Jill Ritter

When Scott Miller founded New Line Theatre in 1991 it was a risky proposition, in more ways than one.

The nonprofit would occupy a tight niche: musicals only. It would also ride the first wave of a national trend, producing work about topics avoided by many in polite St. Louis company: politics, violence, race, sexuality and religion.

David Royal recites "Fire and Ice" as Gitana's Cecilia Nadal looks on
Nancy Fowler

The death of Michael Brown and its aftermath have invigorated a core group of protesters. Now, at least one of them is becoming an actor as well an activist.

This photo of St. Louis' Big Red Burlecamp was taken in St. Charles in 1963. Big Red is in the center, with guitar.
Reedy Press

When Kenneth Johnson was a young boy growing up in rural Missouri in the 1940s, his bedtime routine included music. But the sounds that lured this youngster into dreamland were the live performances of dance-hall musicians.

Thelonius Kryptonite
Durrie Bouscaren

Ah, high school. The place where you can reinvent yourself after middle school, screw up, then graduate and reinvent yourself again. But for St. Louis musician Thelonius Kryptonite, University City High School was where he started out strong and just kept going.

It began with a little tabletop musical improvisation. Soon Kryptonite, known then as Corey Williams, began living a dual existence: joining marching band and becoming the king of hip-hop. Before graduation, he was already signed to the Soul Tide record label.

From top left, Freida Wheaton, Kelly Pollock, Ilene Berman, Cecilia Nadal
Photos provided

Updated with link to winners' bios and photos.

The revived Saint Louis Visionary Awards is recognizing seven individuals in its 2015 list of women who are making a difference in the arts.

Working on new chandelier from "Phantom"
Nancy Fowler

A new chandelier, updated special effects and a sense that the main characters have spent some time in a therapist’s chair: these are all changes included in Cameron Mackintosh's new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Rick Dildine
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

Just months after leaving Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Rick Dildine is returning to his post of executive and artistic director.

Lydia Berry, number 100, in orange leotard
The Muny

Ever thought about trying out for America's oldest, largest outdoor theater?

Each year, the 98-year-old St. Louis Muny holds open auditions; anyone can come. Singers and dancers try out on different weekends.

Jerry, Keith Thompson, left, asks Montel, Marshall Jennings, right, why he's brought Andrea, Christina Rios, to the show.
Jill Ritter Lindberg

Adults with diaper fetishes, dancing Klansmen and blasphemous portrayals of religious figures are all part of “Jerry Springer: The Opera.” So it's fitting, really, that edgy New Line Theatre is the company bringing this irreverent musical to St. Louis.

Lee Patton Chiles, left, and Cecilia Nadal
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

When Cecilia Nadal of Gitana Productions heard about Michael Brown's shooting death, she raced right over to Ferguson. She wanted to participate in the protests and try to understand what happened, but she also “knew that I was looking for something."

Logo for new arts magazine
Provided by All The Art

Some St. Louis arts professionals are cooking up a new publication, following a proven recipe: “Sauce” magazine.

“All the Art” is set to debut with a short stack of 500 copies in April. Backers expect to begin their first full distribution of 10,000 copies on Sept. 1. They plan to pay for the soft launch with a crowdfunding campaign. They hope advertising sales will fund the full launch of the quarterly publication.

Nancy Bell, left, is interviewed by Willis Ryder Arnold and Nancy Fowler.
Stephanie Zimmerman

Nancy Bell has enjoyed a thriving soap-opera career and nabbed top TV gigs including “Law and Order" and “Star Trek." So what's she doing in St. Louis, reworking the words of none other than Shakespeare?

It all started five years ago, when Saint Louis University lured Bell away from the big time, with a teaching job. Now, she's a regular player in the local theater scene.

Fox Smith and Ben Nordstrom star in White to Gray.
John Lamb

Forty-eight hours after the ocean liner S.S. Lurline left Honolulu for San Francisco, the sun rose on “a day that will live in infamy.” In a new drama based on this real-life voyage that began two days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, a young couple is caught in the crossfire.

Michael Castro
Ros Crenshaw

This Saturday, St. Louis’ first Poet Laureate Michael Castro will publicly read his first official poem, commemorating the city’s 250th birthday.The reading will take place at a coronation ceremony from 3-5 p.m. at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd.

The performing and visual arts can bring history to life. During Black History Month, St. Louis is bursting with opportunities to celebrate and learn through movement, music, drama, film, painting and sculpture. (See list, below.)

From Left, Frank Schwaiger, Nancy Fowler, Willis Ryder Arnold, Bruno David and Leslie Laskey
Donna Korando | St. Louis Public Radio

This week, St. Louis Public Radio debuts its first arts podcast,"Cut & Paste."

We invite local visual and performing artists to tell stories. Who inspires them? What are their successes? Where have they stumbled along the way? Sometimes, in the conversation, it's us doing the stumbling! But we always have fun. We hope you will, too.

The Lambert International Airport roof was installed in 1956 and sustained damage from a tornado in 2011.
NikonHiker | Flickr |2011

The old copper roof at Lambert airport is enjoying a revival on the walls of St. Louis homes and businesses.

The roof was installed in 1956 and replaced last year. Lambert officials asked local presses to create printmaking plates from the discarded copper tile, and artists came up with three sets of limited-edition prints with nostalgic themes. One, by Firecracker press, shows a young, mid-century couple happily heading for their honeymoon.

Human Rights Campaign / HRC logo

Missouri has a long way to go to achieve equality for LGBT residents, according to a national advocacy organization.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a report today showing Missouri is among 29 states lacking basic equality standards. The organization gives Missouri particularly low marks in two areas:

Steph James
Jess Dugan

Until her late 50s, Steph James of Maryland Heights lived a life that, from all appearances, looked like the American dream.

Jess Dugan, left, and Vanessa Fabbre
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

When the TV show “Transparent” won two Golden Globe Awards a week ago Sunday, many transgender people felt validated, and a little less invisible.

Antonio Douthit-Boyd
Jacob Blickenstaff Photography

For dancer Antonio Douthit-Boyd, the time has come to return the favor.

At 16, the beat of a drum lured him off the street and into a Washington Avenue dance class, where he was soon taken in as a disadvantaged prodigy. It changed his life.

Now, he and his dancer husband, Kirven Douthit-Boyd, are coming home to instruct and nurture a new generation.

“I hope that Kirven and I can do for other students what they did for me,” Antonio Douthit-Boyd said.

Bridge-Spouted Whistling Vessel, Inca, Peru, 1400-1500 CE, 8 x 7.5 x 3 inches, Collection of the Sheldon Art Galleries, Hartenberger World Music Collection
Provided By the Sheldon Art Galleries

The Sheldon Art Galleries in Grand Center is the new owner of a collection of musical instruments worth more than $2 million.

Local university music professor Aurelia Hartenberger spent more than 40 years accumulating 2,500 instruments from nearly every continent. Some are contemporary, others date back 3,000 years.

Reena Hajat Carroll, executive director of the Diversity Awareness Partnership, says the number of diversity training requests have "been crazy."
Provided by the Diversity Awareness Partnership

Many older Americans were introduced to their first interracial couple in 1967 by the Sidney Poitier classic featuring what was then a shocking pairing, on-screen or off. 

But today, especially when even same-sex interracial couples can marry in St. Louis, we don’t care who’s coming to dinner — right?

Two looks of Raja
Provided by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

As our city rocked from the upheavals of 2014, a series of quieter changes was taking place in the St. Louis art world.

Several arts organizations debuted, others expanded and a few folded. Some relocated and others featured uncharacteristic fare to appeal to wider audiences. Here’s a look at eight of this year’s evolutions in the local arts scene.

The Arches of Circus Harmony
Jessica Hentoff

St. Louis’ Regional Arts Commission announced its very first Social Impact Fund grants today, with nearly one-third of the 28 winning projects related to Ferguson.

One of the winners is Circus Harmony, an organization that promotes social change though circus arts. The group will use its $2,200 grant to bring kids from Ferguson into the tent.

at the post office s. grand 11.26
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Since 1966, The Arch has represented St. Louis as the Gateway to the West. But it also has other connotations, especially now.

Michael Castro
Ros Crenshaw

Updated to include Michael Castro's poetry and interview audio, and reaction from poet Shirley Bradford LeFlore.

Except for dotting the “i’s” and crossing a “t” or two, St. Louis has its first official poet.

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