The Arts and Education Council (A&E) has a new date for the 2023 Arts Awards Gala. The new date is Monday, April 17th at the same time and same location, the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. This shift allows time to produce a more robust show for the community in celebration of A&E’s grand 60th Anniversary as we recognize 27 dynamic 2023 honorees. We will also be able to address the major supply and demand issues affecting the manufacturing of our actual 2023 award, an innovative design that is being produced by critically acclaimed creative designer and artist, and native St. Louisan, DL Warfield.

So, join us on the Road to 60 during this festive and spectacular gala production which will amplify the brilliant artistry of our 2023 honorees!

The Arts and Education Council is thrilled to recognize the incredible artists, organizations, and individuals that KEEP ART HAPPENING in our local communities and make our great bi-state region such a vibrant place to live, work and play. We are excited to have as our host of this year’s big show, the legendary Ron Himes, in addition we will feature an all-star orchestra and surprise performances under the direction of our maestro, Alerica Anderson.

Our 2023 honorees are: NATIONAL ARTS ICONS: David Steward II, Academy Award-winning Producer; LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE ARTS: Barbara Berner, St. Louis Children’s Choirs Artistic Director and CEO; Judy Best-Person, Artistic Director at Best Dance & Talent Center; Dr. Eugene B. Redmond, Emeritus Professor of English SIUE and esteemed Poet Laureate of East Saint Louis, Illinois since 1976; EXCELLENCE IN THE ARTS: Steve Schankman, Founder of Contemporary Productions; EXCELLENCE IN PHILANTHROPY: John Russell, Broadway Producer, Arts Enthusiast, Philanthropist, Financial Advisor, and Executive of Russell Wealth Management Group.

ART EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR: LEGACY Honoree, Suzanne Palmer, Director of Fine Arts in the Normandy Schools Collaborative; ART EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR: LEADING THE FUTURE Honoree, Jermaine Smith, Director of Special Programs, Music Teacher, and Showcase Director at Sumner High School.

RENAISSANCE AWARD: Barrett Barrera Projects, Cross-disciplinary Art Group; Cbabi Bayoc, Internationally-known Visual Artist and Illustrator; CATALYST AWARD: Thomasina Clarke, Accomplished Actress, Director, Musician, Writer, and Retired Educator; Tim Schall, Executive Director, The Cabaret Project of St. Louis; CATALYST AWARD - ARTS LEGEND: Dottie Marshall Englis, Chairperson, Sargent Conservatory of Theater Arts at Webster University and Costume Designer; Raymond J. Parks, Legendary Choreographer and Dance Instructor at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St Louis.

ART COLLABORATION: Greater St. Louis, Inc., for its breakthrough collaboration with The STL Made Movement, which highlights innovative creatives and voices in our community, and for its leadership in unifying the business community to foster inclusive economic growth; ‘Fire Shut Up In My Bones’, a co-production with Jazz St. Louis and Opera Theater St. Louis, composed by Grammy Award-winning jazz musician and composer, Terence Blanchard, and libretto by award-winning screenwriter and director, Kasi Lemmons, producing its history-making premiere at The Metropolitan Opera in NYC; Sumner Recovery Plan, the community-based partnership led by 4 The Ville, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival and the Sumner Advisory Board to revive the famed Charles H. Sumner High School in the historic Ville area of St. Louis by infusing arts education into its curriculum.

ART INNOVATOR: Maria A. Ellis, Director of The Sheldon’s City of Music All-Star Chorus and Owner of Girl Conductor, a company that creates diverse music education resources ; The Griot Museum of Black History, first St. Louis wax museum dedicated to Black history and culture; CHAMPION FOR THE ARTS: Diane Davenport, Veteran Music Educator at University City School District and New City Schools and Social Activist; Gloria Taylor, Founder/CEO at Community Women Against Hardship, a pillar in the community that provides free classes in the arts for students, led by noted volunteer local artists; EMERGING ARTIST: Prince Lyons, Professional Freelance Performing Artist and Creative; Shevare’ Perry, Contemporary Mixed Media Artist and Storyteller.

EMERGING STUDENT ARTIST: Riley Carter Adams, Rising seventh grader, performed in The Rep's A Christmas Carol, Member of The Muny Kids Touring Troupe, and Star of Matilda in COCA’s Summer Musical 2022; William Austin, Cellist for the Inner Ear Youth Orchestra, Ambassador and Member of the Lincoln Middle School Orchestra, performed for the Mayor, Governor and State Senator, received first place solo/ensemble at East St. Louis Festival; Denim Browder, Rising seventh grader, conducted his first live concert in 4th grade at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Hall, mentored by SLSO Music Director Stéphane Denève since 2020.

A&E is thrilled that Kim and Tim Eberlein and Janet and Jimmy Williams will serve as our 60th Anniversary co-chairs. Kim and Tim are arts advocates and outstanding supporters of cancer research, as well as recipients of the 2016 St. Louis Arts Award Excellence in Philanthropy honor. Janet and Jimmy Williams are art enthusiasts, community youth mentorship advocates and the owner/operators of 29 McDonald’s restaurants in the Metro East and St. Louis areas.

“This will be a big year for us, as the Arts and Education Council is turning 60 and I will debut as our new President and CEO!” says A&E President and CEO, Lyah LeFlore-Ituen. “The celebration will be a throwback to yesteryear, with a theme of the Great Gatsby and Cotton Club eras, blended for a robust and glamorous award show experience! The magical evening will be exciting and electrifying and will include a jazz pre-show cocktail hour, artful dinner, and our coveted awards ceremony, featuring sensational performances by some of the region’s most dynamic artists.” The event will take place on Monday, April 17, 2023, at The Chase Park Plaza.

The Arts and Education Council, along with our event co-chairs and sponsors, look forward to celebrating these very deserving 2023 honorees at the St. Louis Arts Awards and their contributions in Keeping Art Happening in our community! As the steward of a vibrant ecosystem, our philosophy is simple: “What makes us human and unique is our ability to imagine.” For 60 years, the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis has led the charge as a key catalyst in arts advocacy, building and connecting cultural bridges through the dynamic power of the arts. This drives our mission to invest in the next generation of great thinkers and cultural changemakers.

For more information about the 2023 St. Louis Arts Awards, sponsorships, and tickets, please visit KeepArtHappening.org/2023ArtsAwards