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.


Data Visualization
8:39 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

St. Louis Data Project Reaches Half-Way Point

Jer Thorp
Credit Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio Intern | File photo

Data artist Jer Thorp completed the research-based stage of his $75,000 project to examine and creatively present St. Louis’ data. The New York based artist’s research consists of city visits and extensive demographic and mapping research coupled with an unexpected emphasis on experiencing the physical environment of St. Louis.

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Panel Discussion
5:28 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Interfaith Panel Attempts to Bridge Gap On Social Issues From Klinghoffer To Ferguson

Brian Mulligan as Leon Klinghoffer and Nancy Maultsby as Marilyn Klinghoffer in Opera Theatre of St. Louis' 2011 production of The Death of Klinghoffer.
Credit Ken Howard | Opera Theatre of St. Louis

"The Death of Klinghoffer" drew protests Monday night at its opening in New York. In St. Louis Monday, faith leaders who had worked together in 2011 to create community discussion around the opera met again to consider the experience in light of Ferguson.

They hope past conversations about social issues will inform public response to the shooting death of Michael Brown. These leaders view conversation a way to change the future.

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Literary Small Press
8:13 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

St. Louis' Dorothy: A Publishing Project Gains Critical Acclaim

Credit Provided by Dorothy

Dorothy: A Publishing Project is small literary press that’s making big waves in the literary community. The press publishes only two books each fall. This year Dorothy released Nell Zink’s "The Wallcreeper" and Joanna Ruocco’s "DAN." Critical acclaim continues to grow for Dorothy. "The Wallcreeper" is reviewed in the influential New York Time’s Book Review this weekend.

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Arts & Culture
3:21 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Hands Up, Don't Shoot — Artists Respond Show Opens

Alan Johnson, Black and Blue
Credit Provided by the Artists Respond Show

The area-wide art show "Hands Up, Don’t Shoot — Artists Respond" opens this weekend.  The show was conceived by Salon 53 owner Freida L. Wheaton and will feature national and local artists’ responses to the shooting death of Michael Brown and subsequent protests in Ferguson. 

“All art galleries, especially ones located on universities, have a responsibility to address topical issues that are going to be important to their community and their students,” said Gallery 210 Director Terry Suhre, 61. He chose photography for display at the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Gallery FAB.

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Ethics Committee
3:33 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

New ZMD Ethics Code Torn Between Two Approaches

The ethics committee meeting on Oct. 15.
Credit Willis ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The Zoo Museum District Ethics Committee remains stretched between two poles. Board member Charles Valier continues to call for an annual disclosure of board member assets while board member Tom Campbell says this disclosure would be an undue burden on ZMD leaders.

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At Least 49 Arrests
10:03 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Ferguson October Night Four: Protests Pop Up At Democratic Fundraiser, Walmarts, Rams Game

Protesters unfurled a banner outside at a fund-raiser for Democrat Steve Stenger. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill was the featured speaker at the event.
Credit Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

The fourth night of Ferguson October demonstrations was marked by a series of decentralized actions by small groups of protesters at widely divergent venues across the region.

Protesters showed up at a fund-raiser for Steve Stenger, the Democratic candidate for county executive. Stenger has been the target of some protesters because of his political connections to county Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch.

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Featuring Local Artists
1:21 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Worlds Collide: Hip-Hop And Chess At The World Chess Hall Of Fame

Benjamin Kaplan
Credit Act3

For the next six months chess and hip-hop will live under the same roof here in St. Louis. "Living Like Kings: The Collision of Chess and Hip Hop Culture" is an ever-evolving exhibit examining the relationship between the two art forms. Hip-Hop Chess Federation founder Adisa Banjoko, 44, thinks hip-hop and chess share a common noble truth.

“The spirit of competition in hip-hop and in chess is what helps us figure out who we are,” Banjoko said.

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10:01 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

The History Behind The St. Louis Symphony Protest Song

The musical protest at the St. Louis Symphony on Oct. 4 included banners.
Credit Screenshot from the YouTube video posted by the St. Louis American

Last Saturday night a group of protesters interrupted the St. Louis Symphony at the very end of intermission. The protesters sang an adaptation of the old folk song “Which Side Are You On?” They dubbed the performance “Requiem for Mike Brown” and began their protest shortly before the Symphony began Brahms' German Requiem.

This song wasn’t picked at random.

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Local Bands
9:35 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Bruiser Queen Releases Its Second Album, Sweet Static

Morgan Nusbaum
Credit Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Bruiser Queen is a pair of St. Louis residents that play catchy, scuzzy, rock music that lands somewhere between 1960s girl groups and 1990s riot grrrl punk. Morgan Nusbaum fronts the band, commanding both microphone and guitar.

She’s backed by Jason Potter on the drums. The duo practices in an old doctor’s office off Cherokee street. The walls are a faded bubble-gum pink and plastic bins for charts are still screwed to the wall near every exam room. The duo rehearsed for Friday’s record release show promoting their newest album Sweet Static.

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Peaceful Protest
10:44 pm
Sat October 4, 2014

Ferguson Protesters Delay Symphony After Intermission

Powell Hall
Credit Alise O'Brien

Saturday night protesters used a new tactic to raise awareness about the shooting death of Ferguson resident Michael Brown. They brought their own music and a chant to the St. Louis Symphony’s performance with a continuation of the ongoing protests in Ferguson.

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