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Chesterfield Arts To Cease Operations In August

"The Awakening," a sculpture by J. Seward Johnson, in Chesterfield, Mo. Chesterfield has been designated "No. 2" on Missouri Life magazine's "Top Ten Towns" in Missouri list.

In August, Chesterfield Arts will stop day-to-day operations because of a shortage in funds.

The non-profit organization works to promote art education and public art in West St. Louis County.

This year the nonprofit faced declining revenue. In addition, they were forced to move. The organization was notified in the fall of 2013 that they would have to relocate by June of this year.

Chesterfield Arts Board President Mary Brown said  they were unable to find a new permanent home.

“When we realized that we did not have anywhere to go, on top of the fact that we had faced declining revenue in 2013, and 2014 was not looking any better, we really had no choice but to cease everyday operations,” Brown said.

That decision meant the elimination of its staff and the end to arts classes and public outreach programs.

Chesterfield Arts is responsible for many of the outdoor sculptures throughout Chesterfield, including “The Awakening,” which depict a giant rising from the earth. 

In addition to promoting public art thought exhibitions and galleries, Chesterfield Arts also offered numerous classes for youth, adults and disabled individuals.

Stacey Morse is the former executive director of Chesterfield Arts. She resigned in June after the board decision to cut back. Morse says she thinks Chesterfield Arts has had a great impact on the community.

“The work that Chesterfield Arts did to really help build a community, that had an identity that was focused around the arts and culture has made a difference,” Morse said. “We always had it in our sights to use the arts as a way to engage a community and get people to connect in ways that maybe they didn’t have the opportunity to do in the past.”

Morse said she’s not sure what the future holds for the organization.

“Chesterfield Arts has accomplished so much over the past 12 years” Morse said. “And that positive work, I would hope will continue on in varying forms. I’m not sure what forms that will take at this point.”

Chesterfield Arts will continue to function as a nonprofit and the board will act as stewards of the organizations art collection. But Board President Brown says she’s not sure what the future of the organization looks like.

“The biggest challenge for our board is going to be figuring out a way that we can continue to offer programs, try and bring back our classes and have the security in knowing that we are fiscally able to do that.”

Brown says she hopes Chesterfield Arts will be able to restore some of their programs in the future.

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