New work and emerging young talent take center stage at the 28th annual St. Louis Arts Awards on January 21 at the Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta Hotel. Entertainment at the Arts and Education Council’s signature fundraiser will include an audience favorite from The Big Muddy Dance Company, a preview of new work from special guest Bryan Batt and performances from 11-year-old piano phenom Jerry Chang and The City of Music All-Star Chorus. The entertainment speaks to the seven honorees’ significant contributions to the St. Louis arts community.

In a nod to 2019 Arts Startup of the Year honoree Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis, actor Bryan Batt (Salvatore Romano, “Mad Men”) will make a special appearance to preview an excerpt of “Dear Mr. Williams”, a one-man show inspired by the life of Tennessee Williams directed by Michael Wilson. The play will premiere at the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis (an A&E grantee) in May 2019.

The Big Muddy Dance Company will perform an excerpt of “Jetstream”, an audience favorite choreographed by Artistic Director Brian Enos with music by John Adams. The Big Muddy is a resident company at The Marcelle, a venue of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, which is headed by Arts Innovator honoree Chris Hansen. Recognizing the company’s growth in recent years, Hansen worked with them to expand their rehearsal options in a new Kranzberg Arts Foundation space because he says he “knew it was important to grow with them.”

The event will also feature award-winning pianist Jerry Chang, a fifth-grade student at Forsyth School and protégé of Excellence in Philanthropy honoree Noémi Neidorff. He placed third at the 2017 Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition. In 2018, he performed on NPR’s “From the Top” and was interviewed by “All Things Considered” Emeritus Robert Siegel.The 2019 event falls on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in observance of the national holiday, The City of Music All-Star Chorus will perform. The group, directed by Maria Ellis, formed in January 2018 with founding support from the Centene Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Centene Corporation, where Excellence in Philanthropy honoree Michael Neidorff is chairman and CEO. to encourage talented high school students, the chorus is comprised of students from St. Louis City and County schools, recommended by their high school choral directors. The group performs and rehearses at The Sheldon Concert Hall (an A&E grantee).

Tickets for the Jan. 21 event start at $300 and are on sale now. 

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The St. Louis Arts Awards celebrates individuals and organizations that keep art happening throughout the bi-state region with their contributions as artists, teachers, philanthropists and advocates. Presenting sponsor of the 2019 event is Centene Charitable Foundation. Principal sponsors are Edward Jones and Emerson.