St. Louis is home to nine Fortune 500 companies, and in recent years the business landscape has grown even more varied with a boom of startups and growth of the creative economy. So what makes for such a vibrant and healthy ecosystem for businesses large and small alike? Well, for one, an equally healthy and active arts ecosystem.

That was the topic of conversation recently on the KMOX podcast C-Speak: The Language of Executives, sponsored by PNC Bank, where Cynthia A. Prost, Arts and Education Council (A&E) president and CEO, and Felicia W. Shaw, Regional Arts Commission executive director, were guests.

In the podcast, Prost cited Conference Board’s 2017 CEO Challenge Report, which lists the ability to retain and attract top talent as the #4 top challenge for U.S. CEOs on their list of global concerns. Prost argues a vibrant arts scene can help make talent acquisition and retention easier for businesses.

“When you partner to support local theater, music, museums, dance and public art, you really help to make your community more attractive to current and future employees,” said Prost. “St. Louis’ lively arts scene attracts the educated, talented workforce that businesses need to grow and thrive.”

Fostering this vibrant arts ecosystem is something A&E has been doing since its inception more than 50 years ago. A&E galvanizes individuals, corporations and foundations across the private sector to generate support for the arts community.

A&E then invests that support throughout the bi-state region among legacy institutions like Opera Theatre Saint Louis, the St. Louis Symphony and the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and arts startups like Creative Reaction Lab and Pianos for People, as well as supporting arts projects in schools and rural communities across the area. A&E also owns and operates the Centene Center for the Arts, an arts incubator housing 20 arts organizations, in the Grand Center Arts District.

St. Louis’ robust and diverse arts community continues to thrive thanks to organizations like A&E and its supporters like you. That arts scene in turn makes St. Louis a more vibrant place sought after by the next generation of creative leaders.

To help foster a vibrant arts ecosystem in St. Louis, make your gift to A&E here.

To listen to the complete podcast, click here.