Each January, the Arts and Education Council presents the St. Louis Arts Awards where we gather to celebrate the individuals and organizations whose contributions to our artistic community make the bi-state region more vibrant. On January 27, at the 2020 St. Louis Arts Awards, we’ll celebrate seven honorees, including Art Educator of the Year Dr. Nikki Spotts.

Dr. Nikki Spotts’ long career at Shaw Visual and Performing Arts Elementary began with her own experience in the St. Louis Public School system where she attended Shaw Visual and Performing Arts Elementary School, Marquette Visual and Performing Arts Middle School and Central Visual and Performing Arts High School.

Spotts is an alumna of the Community Arts Training Institute at the Regional Arts Commission and a former grant panelist. She holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in dance education from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and a Master’s in Education from Lindenwood University as well as a Master’s in Administration, Educational Specialist in Superintendent, and Doctorate of Education in Advanced Superintendent from Lindenwood University. Additionally, Dr. Spotts’ performance resume is impressive. She has danced with a variety of companies, including: Joseph Holmes Dance Company Chicago, IL; Kariamu & Company Traditions, Philadelphia, PA; Nommo African American Dance, New York, NY; and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Denver, CO. Additionally, she has choreographed on stages around the world, including performances at The Fox Theatre, Stellar Gospel Music Awards presented by BET in Los Angeles and Club Med Resorts.

As her career took her around the world but, she felt compelled to return to her hometown. Dr. Spotts recalled some advice she’d been given in her youth by her principal, “When you leave here, remember, you’re going to get a story. When you complete your story, you have to return. Because when you return, that’s the beginning of somebody else’s story.”

Those words encouraged Dr. Spotts’ journey back to St. Louis, where she has served students in Missouri and Illinois for the last two decades. Her classroom is nurturing and welcoming, but also has high expectations for discipline, hard work and professionalism. She supports her students by connecting them to community opportunities and by leveraging partnerships with arts organizations like COCA, Saint Louis Ballet, The Muny, The Black Rep and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She strives to see her students, who grew up in the same place she did, grow up to achieve incredible accomplishments, just like she did.

Proceeds from the St. Louis Arts Awards help the Arts and Education Council invest in the people and organizations that create diverse performances, exhibitions, workshops, art education programs and so much more for 1.6 million adults and children in our community each year. Tickets for the 2020 St. Louis Arts Awards start at $300. Learn more about the event here.

Buy tickets