Last week, the Arts and Education Council and PNC received the David Rockefeller pARTnership Award from Americans for the Arts for their collaborative work on the stARTup Creative Competition in St. Louis. This award recognizes a company and an arts organization or artist for an exceptional project, program or initiative that represents a true alliance, collaboration or exchange between the two. The award was presented by Americans for the Arts at their virtual gala on Oct. 15.

The Arts + Business Partnership Award is national recognition given annually to businesses that have mutually beneficial, innovative and sustained partnerships with the arts. Each year, winners of this award are celebrated in October at the awards gala and become part of a network of like-minded businesses and leaders. These companies set the standard for excellence and serve as role models for others to follow.

Other honorees recognized by Americans for the Arts included Audible (Newark, NJ), NMG Network (Honolulu, HI), University of Michigan Credit Union (Ann Arbor, MI), Underestimated People of Purpose (UPOP) (Denver, CO), Universal Orlando Resort (Orlando, FL), Vestar (Phoenix, AZ) and Aziz Hasan, CEO of Kickstarter.

The evening was hosted by Tony-Award winning actor Brian Stokes Mitchell. In addition to award presentations, the Arts + Business Awards included an inspiring performance of Broadway classics by Tony award winner LaChanze.

The Arts and Education Council and PNC have collaborated extensively since PNC entered the region in 2010 and introduced the stARTup Creative Competition in 2017 to address the needs of small and emerging arts organizations in Greater St. Louis.

“Our collaboration with PNC is an excellent example of what happens when companies are attuned to the needs of our community and provide the resources that lift up our region,” said Cynthia A. Prost, Arts and Education Council president and CEO. “In 2020, with the support of PNC, Soul Shed University was named the 2020 stARTup Creative Competition winner. Through this program, local musicians are gaining the necessary tools to begin and sustain a music career.”

The stARTup Creative Competition fuses three pillars of the Greater St. Louis community: a thriving arts scene, a dynamic startup culture, and a commitment to philanthropy. It’s a competition that values more than talent, vision and creativity; business strategy, entrepreneurship and community impact factor prominently in the criteria. In addition to a monetary prize to help fund their creative concepts, winners also receive one year of space and incubation support at the Centene Center for the Arts, the Arts and Education Council’s arts incubator; free performance and meeting space; access to technology and Wi-Fi; and mentoring, idea-sharing and professional development opportunities.

“The arts contribute significantly to the vibrancy and economic activity of the region, and we are fortunate that organizations such as the Arts and Education Council are committed to helping deliver arts and cultural experiences throughout the community,” said Michael Scully, PNC regional president for St. Louis.

Learn more about the Arts + Business Partnership Awards and the 2021 honorees here.