Throughout his career, John Nickel has been a passionate supporter of the arts. In 2002, he became an owner of what is today known as Switch (formerly Busch Creative Services), a brand engagement and events agency. As Co-President and Co-Owner, Nickel oversees business development, project management and all in-house production services. That same year, Nickel and Switch started working with the Arts and Education Council, with Nickel as the Technical Producer of the St. Louis Arts Awards.

Of the St. Louis Arts Awards Nickel shared, “It’s always a bit of a three-ring circus, but it's the day of the year that I enjoy the most. Over the years I have met some incredible performers in St. Louis like Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Berry, Stan Kann and Christine Brewer. To get the chance to interact with folks with that kind of talent and presence has just been one of the joys of my career.”

In addition to producing the St. Louis Arts Awards for the past 19 years, Nickel supports several Arts and Education Council grantees. He has served on the boards of several arts organizations including Young Audiences/Springboard for Learning, The Sheldon and St. Louis Shakespeare Festival. Switch has made significant in-kind contributions to the arts organizations in St. Louis. Switch has supported the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival for the last 19 years, by providing lighting, audio and scenery.

Additionally, Switch has supported many productions and events at Webster University's Conservatory of Theater Arts. For several years Switch has also supported the Variety Club's theatrical events and numerous others, including the St. Louis High School Musical Awards.

“I'm a lifelong St. Louisan and one of the things that I appreciate about St. Louis is the strength of the arts community – the theater, the dance, the fine art, the music, the variety – that are here to bring a quality of life to the city of St. Louis," shared Nickel.

Sometimes Nickel’s commitment to support to the arts goes above and beyond expectations. In 2012, employees at Switch witnessed a first in Arts and Education Council history. Nickel offered a special incentive to his employees to donate to the Arts and Education Council. He promised to get a mohawk if 50 Switch employees donated at least $50 to the Arts and Education Council. His appeal worked and before his mohawk was fully realized, Switch exceeded their goal, raising nearly $3,000 for the Arts and Education Council.

John Nickel’s generosity and passion for the arts are among the reasons he’s being honored with a 30th Anniversary Chairperson’s Award at the 2021 St. Louis Arts Awards on Monday, May 24, 2021.

Did you know you can celebrate John Nickel with a St. Louis Arts Awards Tribute Gift? A tribute gift is a great way to honor and celebrate honorees. When a tribute gift is received, we will send an acknowledgment to the honoree indicated, notifying them of your thoughtful donation, but will not reveal the amount of the donation. Every gift is tax-deductible, and you will receive an acknowledgment of your donation. Make a gift here.