Regional Arts Commision

Octarrarium projection still
Provided by Kevin Harris

Artists Chad Eivens and Kevin Harris are designing an immersive video experience unlike anything else in St. Louis.

They’ve created a room at RAC where movements and sounds are recorded, processed, and projected on eight separate screens. The project involves complicated video manipulations but the artists say the heart of the project rests in the experience.

“It’s almost on a very simple level like what a carny would do when he brings in the merry-go-round or some kind of experience or ride for someone to enjoy,” said Eivens.

Jessica Witte will launch a seed-art project, similar to this August 2015 one in Belleville, along the St. Louis riverfront June 3-5.
Jessica Witte

St. Louisans will get to participate in a massive art project on the riverfront this summer, thanks to a new public art grant.

The local Critical Mass for the Arts announced the winner of its first-ever public works endeavor today. The group awarded multimedia artist Jessica Witte $10,000 for her “Seed the Change” idea.

Regional Arts Commission executive director Felicia Shaw, Pulitzer director Cara Starke and St. Louis Symphony president Marie-Hélène Bernard
Regional Arts Commission, Pulitzer Arts Foundaiton and St. Louis Symphony

Three women who moved to St. Louis this year to head up major arts organizations are praising the area for assets ranging from architecture to sports teams. But all three agreed on one perk: the food.

Dance instructor and Afriky Lolo dance company founder Diádié Bathily
Diádié Bathily

As an African-dance instructor in St. Louis for nearly two decades, Diádié Bathily is immersed in African culture. At the same time, he longs to experience it — up close. Now, thanks to a recent grant, Bathily can return to his home continent to soak up creative energy. Bathily is one of 10 people each receiving $20,000 fellowships from the Regional Arts Commission in 2015 (see full list here and below).

The difficulty of making money while making art will be discussed at a Tuesday night gathering.

Roseann Weiss, the Regional Arts Commission’s community arts manager, is on the panel. She wants to let artists know that local as well as national grant money is available, and encourage them to be diligent about going after the funds.

Felicia Shaw, new executive director of St. Louis' Regional Arts Commission, said she had a sense that this community would now "be open to change" after the events of Ferguson.
Nancy Fowler

When new Regional Arts Commission (RAC) executive director Felicia Shaw realized her job at a San Diego foundation might be eliminated, she wondered what that might mean for her life.

“I was thinking about what new direction I wanted to go in,” Shaw said. “And then, Ferguson happened.”

Embarrassment, sadness, anger and guilt

Last August, when Shaw listened to the news coming from her hometown of St. Louis, she went through a gamut of emotions: embarrassment, sadness, anger and guilt. What she heard loud and clear were the very same issues that drove her to move San Diego — more than three decades earlier.

William Morris, Brett Williams and Meghan Grubb
Nancy Fowler

Three local artists received $1,500 each on Tuesday night to help fund projects that include home movies and ideas about the spaces where we live.

In an event at The Sheldon Art Galleries, the local Critical Mass for the Visual Arts organization named the recipients of its 2015 Creative Stimulus Awards. The money helps pay for the cost of ongoing work as well as funding new projects.

The 2015 winners are:

Fred "Fred-O" Onovwerosuoke

Last November, African Musical Arts was awarded a $50,000 Innovation Grant from the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) to fund a two-year pilot project, “The African Performing Arts Exchange.” In addition to producing concert performances and music engravings of works by African-descent composers, the exchange will offer a web-based platform to share these resources. The Exchange is the dream of African Musical Arts founder Fred “Fred-O” Onovwerosuoke. He and development director Wendy Hymes joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter to discuss the Exchange and a concert to benefit the project.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

After three decades, Jill McGuire of St. Louis’ Regional Arts Commission will leave her post as executive director on Friday, April 10.

McGuire co-founded RAC in 1985 to help fund and support the arts in St. Louis. Since then, the nonprofit has awarded $90 million to artists and institutions, according to McGuire.

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.

Jer Thorp
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.

RAC member organizes and discusses artist ideas for actions regarding the death of Michael Brown.
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

The first artists meeting held to discuss artists organizing around death of Michael Brown at the Regional Arts Commission was filled with discussion of racial divide and catharsis. The second meeting, held one week later, focused on planning and displayed a higher level of organization.

“We really had to come in and declare here this is what we’re ready to do. Let’s roll up our sleeves!” said Ed Reggi, 43, artist and actor. Reggi is the primary facilitator of the event. He noted a change in tone from one week to the next.

Artists Gather at RAC to Discuss Possible Actions.
Willis Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

Racial divides -- in St. Louis, the arts community and the nation -- were the focus Wednesday night as artists gathered at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission to talk about Michael Brown's death.

RAC held the gathering for artists to process the week’s events in Ferguson and discuss how artists can address their role in the public dialogue about it.

“It’s equivalent to a heart attack in America,” said one woman who entered the conversation later in the evening.  “The civil rights movement of the 21st century is happening now. Here.”

William Burton Jr.
Stephanie Zimmerman

Originally published Tuesday, May 13. Updated Friday, May 16 to include audio from Cityscape. Look for more STL Art Game-Changers in an upcoming series.

St. Louis artist and activist William Burton has a history of helping teenagers from unstable environments. Now Burton’s own outreach efforts are facing homelessness.

Layers Reveal Truths About Challenges And Beauty In RAC Show

Jan 21, 2014
Photo of David Dolak artwork
Provided by RAC

Rene Dimanche of the Regional Arts Commission has gathered three artists whose combined work makes manifest aspects of the human condition that are difficult to express. Dimanche writes that in their group exhibit, Irrevocable Fragments, artists Byron Darnell Rogers, David Dolak and Clayvon Ambrose Wesley “deal with the disintegration and re-integration of information we digest from places and people we come across in our lives.”

EAC/Portfolio’s “Ebony Creations”

St. Louis-area art openings this Friday explore the beauty of nature, teapots and African-American works. “Ebony Creations” is a joint project of Portfolio Gallery and the Edwardsville Arts Center.

Regional Arts Commission

Whether they were on stage, leaning into the kiln or creatively advocating for justice, it was a banner year for many local artists.

The Regional Arts Commission this year began an unprecedented awarding of money
to St. Louis-area artists through its Artists Count program. Dozens of visual, performing and literary artists were given grants of between $500 and $3,000 for specific projects.

Provided by Kathryn Bentley

The Regional Arts Commission (RAC) today handed local artists Kathryn Bentley, Arny Nadler and eight others $20,000 each to make their dreams a reality.

Bentley, a theater artist, and Nadler, a sculptor, are among the first group of 10 visual, performing and literary artists to become RAC Artist Fellows. Their names (see full list below) were announced in a morning news conference at RAC's offices. (Note: An earlier version of the article said the offices were in University City. They are in St. Louis.)

From Katie Ford's work
Provided by RAC | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The 2012 Creative Stimulus Award exhibit at the Regional Arts Commission is titled Within an Evolving Horizon. The horizon found consistently in the artwork, however, is that of the city of St. Louis.

The Role Of Money In The Arts

Jul 5, 2013

Money talks, and a new book was just written by Travis Brown entitled, Money Walks. Money is the root of all evil, etc., etc. etc.

I recently attended a few of the second annual St. Louis Humanities Festival offerings. The theme this year was "Money" and the subtitle was, "Need,  Greed, and Generosity."

(Courtesy: Regional Arts Commission)

St. Louis native Michael Drummond is a fashion designer.  You may recognize him from his appearance a few years ago on the Lifetime television series Project Runway.

Drummond is the curator of a new exhibition at The Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission.  The exhibition, Dressed, features the work of four local residents, Bob Trump, Laura Kathleen, Marie McInerney and Deborah Pontious.  It’s meant to highlight the combination of fashion and art as well as the growth of St. Louis fashion.

Genius Loci by Michele Ryker-Owens
Provided by RAC | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Environmental science and studio art teachers should all take their classes to see Shifting Ground at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission. Artists Ron Fondaw and Michele Ryker-Owens have filled the gallery space with wondrous things while referencing environmental events and offering “for further information…” suggestions.

Ryker-Owen’s Misi-Ziibi is a large-scale wall hanging constructed from moss and other creeping plants. A Klimt-colored metallic river divides a bright, light and dark green topography. The silver river runs like tendrils, the mosses literally fall off the board base. It is lush and lovely.

More than 3,000 St. Louis area artists filled out a survey called Artists Count, which helped inform the Regional Arts Commission’s (RAC) strategic plan.

The RAC has not previously funded individual artists, rather opting to fund nonprofit organizations and consortiums since 1985, when the organization was created.

Jill McGuire, Executive Director of the Regional Arts Commission, said “After reading this survey we made a commitment that the results of the study will affect our policies.”

St. Louis arts economy doing well, according to study

Jun 27, 2012
UPI | Bill Greenblatt

St. Louis art institutions continue to grow despite the down economy. 

That’s according to a report issued by Wells Fargo which found that economic activity tied to St. Louis arts and culture increased by 4 percent since the last study five years ago.

Donna Wilkinson is the Chairwoman of the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, which contracted the study.

“The big takeaway is really that the arts do mean business here in St. Louis,” Wilkinson said. “That on an annual basis, close to $600 million is generated in economic impact.”

For "Screwed Again," a reprise of sorts of 2008's "Screwed In" at the Gallery of the Regional Arts Commission, nine local artists spent days painting a mural that occupies three walls of the enormous main gallery.

Christopher Burch, sitting against the door, and Bryan Walsh, looking to his left, are the co-curators of Screwed Again.
Rachel Heidenry | 2010 | St. Louis Beacon

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - At the Regional Arts Commission, nine artists are blurring the line between gallery floor and sidewalk. Milk crates and overturned paint buckets sit on the threshold, where the guys catch a break to chat, smoke a cigarette, have a beer. Behind them is their mural in progress, art exposed and open, still laced with ladders and drop cloth.