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.

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."

Two Ferguson activists have received an award for their writing in the wake of Michael Brown’s August death.

DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie won the 2015 Howard Zinn Freedom to Write Award.

George Caleb Bingham painted 'The Jolly Flatboatmen' in 1846. The oil-on-canvas painting is part of the St. Louis Art Museum's Bingham exhibit.
Courtesy of the St. Louis Art Museum

A new exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum tackles the personal interests of a Missouri painter known for his depictions of 19th century elections and politics.

“They are the most spectacular paintings he did,” said Melissa Wolfe, the new curator of American art at the museum.

Elizabeth Futral as Alice B. Toklas and Stephanie Blythe as Gertrude Stein
Ken Howard | OTSL

Opera Theatre of St. Louis’s “27” is the work of two men obsessed.

“I burrowed myself into a hole and completely allowed the life of Gertrude Stein to wash over me and to become part of my chemistry,” “27” librettist Royce Vavrek said on “Cityscape.”

George Caleb Bingham drawing
Provided by The Saint Louis Art Museum

This Sunday the St. Louis Art Museum is launching a new exhibit focused on an influential Missouri painter whose St. Louis legacy once teetered on the abyss. In 1975, the St. Louis Mercantile Library's collection of George Caleb Bingham drawings was almost sold off to private collectors.

Professor Lerone Martin holds recording of Rev. J.M. Gates
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The term "televangelist” was coined in a 1975 TIME magazine article to describe a practice now familiar to many Americans. Lerone Martin said that practice may stem from sermons recorded in the mid 1920s. Martin wants people to imagine a recording session with Louis Armstrong and his musicians in New York’s Columbia Records studios as one of the first bridges established between religion and mass media.

Printing press from 1927 at Firecracker Press's Old North location
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

Legos aren’t just for building anymore. 

Local letter press Firecracker Press is developing an unusual way to use the children’s building blocks as raw material to create patterns for stationary, cards, and wall art like posters. The company runs the plastic blocks through a press that was built in the 1920s.

“You hear Legos and you think maybe childish toys or something like but I think we’re able to come up with some pretty sophisticated stuff,” said press founder Eric Woods.

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.

Marie-Hélène Bernard of St. Louis Symphony
Courtesy of St. Louis Symphony

Marie-Helene Bernard is joining the St. Louis Symphony as its president and CEO.

"I am honored to join the St. Louis Symphony and to support this great American treasure,” said Bernard in a news release this morning.

Ferguson questions collage
Photos Provided And By Staff

Six months ago, on Aug. 9, 2014, Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson crossed paths on Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Mo. At the end of the encounter, Michael Brown was dead in the street, and life in the St. Louis region changed.

Pages