In recognition of Black History Month this February, A&E sat down with our 2018 Katherine Dunham Fellow Quinton Ward to get his perspective on art and culture and how A&E's program dedicated to creating a pipeline of African-American arts leaders is already starting a ripple effect in his career.

Tell us a little about yourself and your art and community interests.

At Webster University, I'm studying graphic design, but that is really just a starting point for me. I’m also interested in other media like sculpture, installation and illustration. Lately, I have been applying my design and creative skills to areas like community and urban design. My practice applies social and community engagement, using my creative process to impact issues around me. I live in Spanish Lake and so many of those projects have addressed issues in that neighborhood, but I am also designing larger scale projects for St. Louis.

What is on your bucket list before you graduate?

As a college senior, I have a laundry list of goals I want to accomplish before I graduate this summer. I know I want to take a gap year after graduation and pursue programs like the Museum Pathways Project at the Contemporary Art Museum (an A&E grantee) to become more holistic in the arts before applying to graduate school. But first, I want to get a passport and travel, grow my understanding of my environment, take more time to read and expand my sources of how I gather information.

I also want to complete my first illustrated book, make a bunch of art and start going to shows at Jazz St. Louis (an A&E grantee). After visiting Normandy 7th and 8th Grade Center (an A&E grantee) last week and watching their rehearsal of “A Raisin in the Sun”, I want to sit down and read or watch the play. I also want to write more and become more comfortable sharing my thoughts through writing.

What are you learning at A&E?

I’m building a versatile skill set and gaining hands-on experience that will better my understanding of the intersection of art and community.  I am learning key components of arts administration: fundraising, marketing, grants and program delivery and database management.

By working so closely with these new mentors, I’m learning and applying life skills, too. So far, one of the big takeaways is that you have to be organized and meticulous that A&E messaging is projecting consistently. In my first couple weeks at A&E, I dove headfirst into preparing for the St. Louis Arts Awards, which me gave me an appreciation of the behind the scenes aspects of producing an event of that size.

How does the Katherine Dunham Fellowship fit into your long-term plans?

This fellowship is a great transition as I begin my professional career and transition from undergraduate to graduate school. I’m getting an opportunity to learn about the field of arts administration and to make important networking connections that will give me a strong foundation and supportive network when I’m ready for future opportunities.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Ward is a senior at Webster University, pursuing a bachelor’s of fine arts with an emphasis in graphic design. He is organizing the Webster University student exhibition Adorn or Disfigure at Arcade Contemporary Projects (812 Olive St.) which opens February 3.

To support more stories like Quinton’s and create a ripple effect of the arts across the St. Louis region, make a gift to A&E today.

Give today