The Arts and Education Council announced today that the 2021 St. Louis Arts Awards will take place at The Big Top event venue, 3401 Washington Avenue in the Grand Center Arts District on Monday, May 24, 2021. Now in its 30th year, the event honors individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the St. Louis region’s arts community. The 2021 honorees are: Amy Kaiser, Lifetime Achievement in the Arts; Kirven and Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Excellence in the Arts; Brian Owens, Excellence in the Arts; Lynne and Jim Turley, Excellence in Philanthropy; Antionette Carroll, Arts Innovator; “Such Sweet Thunder” presented by St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Nine Network of Public Media, Jazz St. Louis and The Big Muddy Dance Company, Arts Collaboration; James McKay Jr., Jennings School District, Art Educator of the Year; and John Nickel, 30th Anniversary Chairperson’s Award.

Live performances for the 30th annual event will include the Red and Black Brass Band, who paraded through St. Louis neighborhoods bringing joy amid COVID-19; vocalist Denise Thimes, 2015 Excellence in the Arts recipient, and the Denise Thimes Ensemble; and Brian Owens, 2021 Excellence in the Arts honoree, with young artists of the Life Creative Group.

Pat Rich, who founded the St. Louis Arts Awards in 1992, will serve as Honorary Chair. Centene Charitable Foundation serves as the presenting sponsor.

The Arts and Education Council can accommodate half the usual occupancy of the St. Louis Arts Awards. Ticket and table sales are expected to be in demand. Guests are encouraged to make reservations early.

“As we slowly emerge from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to celebrating the resiliency and creativity of our arts community. We’re grateful for the opportunity to recognize an incredible class of honorees in a fun and safe venue, The Big Top, owned and operated by our friends and neighbors at the Kranzberg Arts Foundation,” said Cynthia A. Prost, Arts and Education Council president and CEO.

Kranzberg Arts Foundation (KAF), owner and operator of The Big Top, has delighted St. Louis audiences with safe, in-person events since August 2020. KAF works directly with the City of St. Louis Health Department to exceed health and safety recommendations that will ensure the comfort and confidence of our St. Louis Arts Awards honorees, guests and staff.

The Big Top safety protocols currently in place include:

  • An open-air environment through its flexible wall system, with additional advanced filtration;
  • Temperature checks upon arrival for guests, staff and vendors;
  • Contactless check-in and seating procedures for guests;
  • Distinct seating zones with dedicated entrances/exits, and staff (ushers, sanitation, food/beverage service);
  • Safety officers and sanitation coordinators; and
  • Regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces with EPA certified cleaning supplies throughout the event.

Additional information can be found here:

Proceeds benefit the Arts and Education Council, which offers programs and services that support more than 70 arts and arts education organizations impacting 1.6 million people throughout the 16-county, bi-state region.

For more information about the honorees, sponsorship opportunities and tickets, click here