The Arts and Education Council announced today that 12 organizations have been awarded a total of $120,000 in funding through the Arts and Healing Initiative. These grants bring the total of funds distributed into our community through the Initiative to $235,000 to date. In partnership with Missouri Foundation for Health, this initiative aims to improve the quality of life for people throughout our region. In year two, the initiative expands beyond the initial focus area of St. Louis City and County to also include other Missouri counties.

Three organizations that were awarded Arts and Healing Initiative grants in 2020 have been awarded grants for the second program year: The Angel Band Project, St. Louis ArtWorks and Prison Performing Arts. These organization will build on the success of their first year of programs, further providing evidence of the critical role the arts have in improving an individual’s health and social well-being

“We’re looking forward to learning and growing with the 2021-2022 Arts and Healing Initiative grantees whose programs will have a profound impact on our community,” said Jessireé Jenkins, Arts and Education Council Manager of Grants and Programs. “As we enter the second year of this innovative initiative, we anticipate that the impact of the arts used as interventions in healing will not only supplement clinical practice, but also improve overall community health by addressing the social determinants of health. These results will be far reaching throughout our state with participants of varied backgrounds and ages.”

The organizations and programs that have been awarded 2021-2022 Arts and Healing Initiative grants are, in alphabetical order:

  • The Angel Band Project (St. Louis region) Through Telehealth Music Therapy for Survivors board-certified music therapists with experience in trauma will conduct music therapy programs with survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.
  • Bread and Roses Missouri’s (St. Louis region) Workers’ Theater Project strives to make theater more accessible to workers and their families, broaden who partakes in artistic expression, and welcome working-class St. Louisans into artistic spaces by using theater to examine and discuss the political and economic landscape of the region, getting to the roots of the poverty and inequity in St. Louis.
  • Family Resources and Community Connections (St. Louis region) Families will learn how to release stress, anxiety and depression, build self-esteem and awareness and how to express, communicate and connect through music, drama and writing.
  • Intercultural Music Initiative (St. Louis region) Sonic Safari is an educational and community outreach program for young people of middle and high school age which leverages diverse cultural programming as a rallying platform for intercultural appreciation and to forge dialogue.
  • Jacob’s Ladder (St. Louis region) Sew Hope provides therapeutic sewing support groups with access to sewing machines, instruction, and techniques led by local skilled seamstresses for women who have been exposed to the criminal justice system.
  • A Red Circle (St. Louis region) Chosen Pathways is a summer job program for youth between the ages of 15 and 24, that exposes youth to the positive culture of our community, helps them explore their own gifts and talents and network with other organizations.
  • Rustic Roots (St. Louis region) participants will create natural art through the foods they grow as they learn agricultural arts. The programs will include art workshops at the farmers market, an annual arts festival and culinary art demonstrations.
  • Springfield Street Choir (Springfield, Mo.), which provides its singers an artistic outlet, a sense of purpose and a place to belong and works to create social change through awareness and advocacy, is made up of people experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty.
  • St. Louis ArtWorks (St. Louis region) Art Therapy will be provided to youth at St. Louis ArtWorks. Their art therapist will meet with each participant at the start of every program to identify and address barriers and to engage with participants throughout the program to address issues identified by apprentices.
  • St. Louis Classical Guitar (St. Louis region), in partnership with Hope Creates and Clayton Juvenile Detention Center, will offer a 15-week program for teenagers recently released from incarceration that will provide teens who have a history of addiction with multidisciplinary arts and music healing experiences.
  • Prison Performing Arts (St. Louis region) The Healing Power of Telling Your Story allows individuals completing their sentences at the Transition Center of St. Louis, a community reentry facility in North City operated by the Missouri Department of Corrections, opportunities for self-paced, hands-on learning in their pursuit of self-awareness and healing.
  • Your Words STL (St. Louis region) Crossing Delmar is a collaborative project where students from elementary and middle schools located on opposite sides of the Delmar Divide will collaborate on a creative project which fosters individual and relational healing by guiding the development of racial and emotional literacy.

Applications were evaluated by the Arts and Healing Initiative Advisory Panel comprised of leaders in the arts, healthcare and research fields. The panel includes: Rebeccah Bennett, InPower Institute; Jeffrey Carter, M.D., Arts and Education Council board member and Missouri Baptist Medical Center; Marty Casey, Show Me Arts Academy; Aaron Chamberlain, M.D., Washington University; Debbie Depew, D.O., St. Luke’s Medical Group; Vicki Friedman, Arts as Healing Foundation; Deidre Griffith, SSM Health; David Gutmann, M.D., Ph.D., Washington University Neurofibromatosis Center; Ken Haller, M.D., Arts and Education Council board member and Saint Louis University; Terry Harris, Ed.D., Rockwood School District; Shawn Hayden, MO Southwest Initiative to Change Health; Lisa Higgins, MO Folk Arts; Kisha Lee, CareSTL; Rev. Aaron Rogers, health equity consultant and Sheila Suderwalla, Artists First.

The Arts and Healing Initiative is supported with lead funding from Missouri Foundation for Health and additional funding from the Crawford Taylor Foundation, Missouri Arts Council, Marillac Mission Fund, Graybar and Church on the Rock.

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