Willis Ryder Arnold

Arts and Culture Reporter

Willis Ryder Arnold is an arts and culture reporter for St. Louis Public Radio. He has contributed to NPR affiliates, community stations, and nationally distributed radio programs, as well as Aljazeera America, The New York Times blogs, La Journal de la Photographie, and LIT Magazine. He is a graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and a recipient of the Society of Professional Journalist’s award for Radio In-Depth Reporting.

Looking for the estranged husband. (Digital print, 2015) Sarah-Marie Land
Sarah-Marie Land

Artist Sarah-Marie Land is working to bridge the gap between the banality of daily life and the sometimes disturbing events that take place around us.  

“It’s important for individuals to see a different documentation of crime in our city. It really helps you think about your environment differently,” said Land. 

Author John Keene
Nina Subin / Courtesy of the author and New Directions

John Keene’s short story collection “Counternarratives” reimagines popular stories in American literature from the African-American perspective. His characters travel throughout the Americas, fight in the Civil War and experience depression-era New York. Keene spoke with  St. Louis Public Radio’s Willis Ryder Arnold about the book’s connections to St. Louis and to the grand American narrative. You can listen to the interview or read the highlights below.

Grant awardees and PNC employees gather at the Public Media Commons.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Gene Dobbs Bradford, executive director for Jazz St. Louis, stands in the Public Media Commons in Grand Center as the PNC Arts Alive grants are about to be awarded. He’s enjoying a chilly, sun-dappled morning and the chance to discuss the Jazz St. Louis programing related to jazz and baseball funded by this grant.  

“This is our attempt to help people in the community draw connections to jazz in other parts of their lives,” said Dobbs Bradford.

Jazz St. Louis is one of 11 local arts organizations that each received upwards of $20,000.

Vintage Trouble energized the crowd Sunday evening. 2014
Brian Villa | Special to St. Louis Public Radio

This year's LouFest line-up includes headliners The Avett Brothers, Hozier and Ludacris.

Festival founder Brian Cohen said the brand new line-up takes a cue from last year’s success and draws from a mix of well-known headliners and high quality musicians. The only change concert-goers can expect at this year's festival may be physical layout of the stages. 

Film Still Une Dance Des Bouffons (Or a Jester's Dance), 2013.
Courtesy of the artist and David Swirner, New York

Famed iconoclast and art world provocateur Marcel Duchamp is tortured and forced to recite chess moves. Rock and roll icon Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth runs down dimly lit hallways in wide-eyed fear. A man with eyes painted on his cheeks forces people in a horse costume to dance for his pleasure. This coterie of strange occurrences forms just a few scenes in artist Marcel Dzama’s film titled Une Dans des Bouffons.

Anna Skidis
Durrie Bouscaren

St. Louis’s Anna Skidis is an acclaimed actor and singer. She’s also a genius.

Skidis, 28, is obviously smart. But "genius" is what they call employees of Apple’s Genius Bar, who help people figure out how to make their devices work properly.

Opera Singer Denyce Graves rehearses with the Normandy High School Choir
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

World-renowned opera singer Denyce Graves entered the choir room at Normandy High School Friday morning with a bright and forceful “Good morning, everybody!” She was met by resounding applause and a collective “whoo!” of excitement from the choirs of Normandy and also Central Visual and Performing Arts High School.

Dutchtown South Block
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Two local neighborhoods — one affluent, one working class — and two local historic buildings are being considered for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

Christine Brewer is inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Soprano Christine Brewer has joined such other St. Louis greats as Chuck Berry, William Burroughs and Kate Chopin on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. At the ceremony, she said Opera Theatre of St. Louis and the city contributed greatly to her success.

St. Louis Artworks new home on Delmar Boulevard
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Artworks is preparing its first permanent home in 20 years.

“It feels like the beginning of a new day. A dream is coming true,” said Executive Director Priscilla Block.

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