In just over a month, St. Louis will elect a new mayor for the first time in 16 years. This historic election, along with the current political climate, has increased indivduals' and organizations' motivation to make their voices heard.

EnterĀ Citizen Artist St. Louis, a non-partisan initiative of local artists and arts professionals working to ensure that the arts have a say in St. Louis's future policy decisions. This week, A&E grabbed coffee with Kristin Fleishmann Brewer, Sophie Lipman and Shira Berkowitz, all of Citizen Artist, to discuss their strategies for the upcoming election and beyond.

Since its founding this past December, the top priority has been the Arts and Culture Town Hall Meeting on February 27 at The Luminary. In preparation for the Town Hall, they conducted a series of listening sessions and surveys to gather the art community's top concerns and priorities. They then distributed a questionnaire to each of the candidates based on these concerns. Each candidate's answers will be posted by the end of this month and willl be further discussed at the Town Hall.

"This isn't just about the election," says Lipman. "It's using whatever happens to hold whomever is elected accountable. We'll reevaluate after the Town Hall and see how to move forward."

"It's about making people feel empowered and that they can have an impact and have a voice," continued Fleishmann. "If we're doing that as a big group, that can be powerful."

Read more about Citizen Artist St. Louis and hear the mayoral candidates weigh in on the arts in St. Louis in our Mar/Apr issue of Happenings. Members receive Happenings right to their mailbox and inbox. Become a member today!