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.

Inside Euclid Records in Webster Groves
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Two iconic St. Louis record stores born two years apart -- Vintage Vinyl and Euclid Records -- are entering middle age finding renewed purpose in an international celebration of selling music.

Protesters march down W. Florissant Ave.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The call for a national day of protest was met with scant participants in St. Louis on Tuesday. Despite the low number, protesters remained committed to calling for social change in the face of police violence against minority populations. 

“Legislation got to change. Laws got to change. Everything must change. We are sick of police officers having the carte-blanche right to take lives and not answer to it,” said Pastor Paul Hudson.

Hikaru Nakamura
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis | File Photo

The Webster University challengers provided excitement in this year’s U.S. chess championships, but in the end the top ranking players — GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Irina Krush walked away with the titles.

The City & The City: Cotton Belt Freight Depot, 2015
(Courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE, New York ©Mariam Ghani)

Mariam Ghani came to St. Louis with the idea of an already divided city.

“There’s a lot of long and complicated history that goes into making St. Louis what it is today,” Ghani said.

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.

Fair Saint Louis enters its 35th year with a line-up that includes acts from Chris Young to Kool & the Gang. PR Chairman for Fair St. Louis Alonzo Byrd says organizers strive to acknowledge St. Louis is a music city.

Renée Cox, “It Shall Be Named” (1994). Gelatin silver prints, mahogany, and plexiglass, 105 x 104 1/2 x 4 3Ž4"(framed). Peter Norton Collection.
Courtesy of the Kemper Art Museum

A new gift of more than 50 artworks will expand the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum’s collection of politically conscious contemporary art. 

“Most of the works really have a political edge in relation, for example, to racism or feminism. There are also many works that deal with our media and image saturated society,” said the Kemper’s Director and Chief Curator Sabine Eckmann.

Evan Sult and Paige Brubeck of Sleepy Kitty will perform in Upstream Theater's 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner.'
Sleepy Kitty

For its latest production, Upstream Theater has enlisted the help of local indie rock band Sleepy Kitty.

"Rime of the Ancient Mariner" has been adapted for the stage, and will include live music composed and performed by Sleepy Kitty. The play is based on a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge about a fantastical sea voyage and a sailor's search for redemption.

It’s unlike anything the band has done before.

Darin Gray and Glenn Kotche of On Fillmore
Courtesy of the band

Intense friendship may not be the first thing that springs to mind when hearing the phrase “experimental music.” Yet according to founding member Darin Gray, shared personal connections motivate improvisational duo On Fillmore.

National Blues Museum Director Dion Brown
Courtesy of The National Blues Museum

The National Blues Museum continues the march toward its late 2015 opening with the hiring of its first executive director, Dion Brown. Brown says the role carries an obligation to maintain the link between blues originators and contemporary music.

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