2023 St. Louis Arts Awards
Time: 5:00 p.m. pre-show cocktail reception | 6:30 p.m. dinner, awards and entertainment | 9:00 pm after-show party
Dress Code: Formal Attire
Deadline to Submit Payment for Sponsorship Commitment due by Monday, March 13. Contact Tonya Hahne, Manager of Development Operations, at Tonya-H@KeepArtHappening.org
The St. Louis Arts Awards honors 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. 2023 will be a big year for us, as the Arts and Education Council is turning 60!
Join us on Monday, April 17, 2023 at the Chase Park Plaza beginning at 5:00pm with a pre-show cocktail hour, followed by artful dinner, and our coveted awards ceremony, featuring thrilling performances by some of our region’s most dynamic artists. Our theme this year will reflect the glamorous textures of The Great Gatsby meets The Cotton Club.
Proceeds benefit the Arts and Education Council, which offers programs and services that benefit more than 70 arts and arts education organizations impacting 1.6 million people throughout the 16-county, bi-state region.
Barbara has served as The St. Louis Children’s Choirs Artistic Director and CEO for the past 25 years, impacting approximately 6,000 singers through the choirs’ musical excellence and character development program under her leadership. The St. Louis Children’s Choirs is composed of 7 ensembles that include 350-450 students annually ranging from ages 6 to 18 from over 200 school districts in 85 zip codes in Missouri and Illinois.
Dr. Eugene B. Redmond
Dr. Redmond holds the title of professor emeritus of English at SIUE and was named Poet Laureate of East St. Louis, Illinois in 1976. He is the author of Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry, an in-depth analysis of African American poetry from slavery until the 20th century. With assistance from Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Amiri Baraka, Redmond edited several posthumously published volumes of his friends' writings including Ark of Bones and Knees of a Natural Man. In 1986, East St. Louisans created the Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club.
Judy serves as the Artistic Director at Best Dance & Talent Center, which has served the community for over 35 years. Her students have gone on to dance professionally for R&B star Ciara (Lorenzo Henderson), teach Eddie Murphy his choreography for the film Dreamgirls (Craig Hollerman) and become members of internationally renowned professional dance troupes (Chloe Davis of Philadanco).
Starting in 1968, Steve built Contemporary Productions into one of the largest entertainment producers in the nation. The company has gone on to build the Riverport (now Verizon Wireless) Amphitheater, partner with Joe Edwards on The Pageant, start Dialtix and put St. Louis on the concert map. In addition to helping charities and institutions raise millions, Steve has donated millions himself, including personally funding the enormous, one-of-a-kind, metal animal sculpture that frames a corner of the Saint Louis Zoo. He also continues to play his trumpet, performing with the Fabulous Motown Revue, the Sessions Big Band and the Steve Schankman Orchestra.
John generously supports a wide range of arts/cultural nonprofits (St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, OTSL, Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts at Webster University, and many others. He has fostered a culture of philanthropy through his work on board committees as a RAC Commissioner, and as a patron of the arts John has also assisted in producing several shows on Broadway.
Suzanne is the Director of Fine Arts in the Normandy Schools Collaborative and has taught in the classroom for over 25 years as the Music Teacher at Jefferson Elementary, where she also directs The Jefferson Elementary School Chorus. She is a member of Tau Beta Sigma Music Sorority, The Music Choral Directors Association, Missouri Music Educators Association, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. For the past five years, she has served as the Artistic Director and Conductor for the Community Gospel Choir of St. Louis, which brings together singers from all backgrounds in an effort to build bridges that restore unity to “community." The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis American newspapers have both featured Suzanne as a master teacher, and she has received many awards over the course of her career. Her focus has been to develop students' understanding of African American contributions to music through musical literature and highlight the influence they have on all genres of music.
Jermaine is the Director of Special Programs which includes dance, drama, music and visual arts at Sumner High School where he is also the music teacher and Showcase Director. He is also a teaching artist at The Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In the past, Jermaine has also been a private voice coach, a faculty member of the University of Missouri -St Louis, and brought the arts back to the first black high school west of the Mississippi and kept them from closing.
Barrett Barrera Projects/Susan Barrett
Susan Barrett is the President and owner of Barrett Barrera Projects and has over 20 years experience working in art museums, galleries, publishing, and in the arts education field. Barrett Barrera Projects has one of the world's largest collections of fashion designer Alexander McQueen's works. They, along with projects+gallery where they have housed many of their exhibitions, have received national recognition in prominent newspapers and art publications. Barrett Barrera Projects fights for the arts to be a part of public transportation, city planning, and social change.
Cbabi is best known for his 2012 series "365 Days with Dad" in which he painted a positive image of African American fatherhood every day for a year. Cbabi has works that have been collected by the artist Prince and one of his pieces, "Reine Keis Quintet" even featured as the album cover art for Prince's 2001 record "The Rainbow Children". He has also collaborated with Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, and MCA Records. Currently, he is focused on public art works, including an ambitious mural in East St. Louis.
Thomasina is an accomplished actress, director, musician, writer, and a retired middle school drama instructor. She began her acting career when she was in the first grade and has grown and gone on to perform at several local theatre companies including Unity Theatre Ensemble, Metro Theatre Company, Upstream Theatre Company, Hot City, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, and Gitana Productions. Throughout her career, Thomasina has written, directed, and produced over 50 plays and/or musicals for children and adults.
Since 2006, Tim has served as the producer of the St. Louis Cabaret Conference, the longest running and largest song performance training program of its kind in the nation. He is also an established performer, having sung various solo shows at the Sheldon Concert Hall, The Kranzberg, The Stage at KDHX, The Gaslight Cabaret Series, the Cabaret at Savor, and has also performed at the New York Cabaret Convention at Lincoln Center in 2019.
Dorothy Marshall Englis
Dorothy is a St. Louis based costume designer and has been a guiding hand for performing arts students for 42 years. She served as the Chair of the Sargent Conservatory for Theatre Arts for 15 years at Webster University. She has designed costumes for nearly every professional theatre and opera company here in St. Louis and many other organizations around the country and has been nominated and awarded many times throughout her career for her costume designs.
Raymond J. Parks
Raymond J. Parks has been teaching dance for over 35 years. He studied at Stephens College, Lincoln University, Lindenwood University and a number of outstanding dance companies and studios. He has taught at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School for 20 years. Mr. Parks is known throughout the U.S. for his teaching and choreography. He has choreographed for television commercials, musicals, videos, and professional sports. He has taught master classes for private schools, colleges and dance agencies. He was recognized as SLPS Teacher of the Year in 2015-2016 and Missouri Lottery Inspired Teacher of the Year in 2016-2017.
Greater St. Louis, Inc.
Founded on Jan. 1, 2021, Greater St. Louis, Inc. combines the strengths of five legacy organizations — AllianceSTL, Arch to Park, Civic Progress, Downtown STL, Inc., and the St. Louis Regional Chamber — to unify around a common vision and strategy for fostering inclusive economic growth. The STLMade campaign began in 2019 and exists to shine a light on the amazing things our innovative, tenacious, big-hearted people and artists from all walks of life who are helping to move the St. Louis region forward by improving perceptions about our region among our residents and create internal advocates among our citizenry that will help attract new talent and investment to the area.
"Fire Shut Up In My Bones"
Fire Shut Up in My Bones is an English-language opera in three acts, with music by celebrated trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard and libretto by Kasi Lemmons. The opera was first performed at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2019, and is based on the 2014 memoir of the same name by Charles M. Blow. Fire was The Met’s first performance of an opera by a Black composer (2021-22).
Sumner Recovery Plan
In 2021, the Sumner Recovery Plan brought together dozens of arts, community and alumni orgs to keep the historic high school open and give it a renewed focus on the Arts & Activism. Four inaugural pathways were introduced in dance, drama, music and visual art. Many arts organizations contributed more than $250,000 dollars’ worth of resources to the effort and helped spur additional investments from individuals and institutions of nearly $2.5 million.
Maria A. Ellis
Maria is the owner of Girl Conductor, a company that creates diverse music education resources to students and educators of all ages. She has directed The Sheldon’s City of Music All-Star Chorus and The St. Louis Children’s Choirs Virtual Chorus, served as an active clinician, adjudicator and presenter throughout the US and abroad, and received 1st Place in the 2021 Missouri Broadcasting Association Award in the “Opinion/Commentary” category for an episode of her weekly Classic 107.3 program, ‘Bach & Beyoncé.'
The Griot Museum of Black History
The Griot is the first cultural institution in St. Louis that is solely dedicated to revealing the broad scope of Black history and culture – and only the second of its kind in the country. The museum collects, preserves, interprets, and shares the stories, culture, and history of Black people, particularly highlighting their regional connection to American history. Visitors can explore the core galleries of The Griot which include life-size wax figures, art, artifact, and memorabilia that interpret the stories of Black people who have contributed to our country’s development (Carter G. Woodson, Josephine Baker, Dred and Harriet Scott, Elizabeth Keckley, William Wells Brown, James Milton Turner, Clark Terry, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Earl E. Nance Sr., Miles Davis, Madame C.J. Walker, York, Percy Green, Macler Shepard, Chief Sherman George, and others). Through compelling core exhibits, dynamic touring shows, educational and entertaining public programs, The Griot Museum of Black History's mission is to create a community of lifelong learners who explore, experience and embrace the region’s rich and enduring African-American heritage.
Diane is a champion of the arts, a pioneer in arts education and a groundbreaking arts administrator who has mentored two generations of St. Louis artists and teachers. In addition to 25+ years teaching in the University City School District, she has taught at COCA, Springboard to Learning and various other school districts.
Gloria is the co-founder and CEO of Community Women Against Hardship (CWAH), which provides personalized and evidenced-based services to enable families struggling with poverty to become more self-sufficient. CWAH’s unique music program for youth, The Institute for Modern American Music, is an opportunity to study in an ensemble and receive individual lessons from some of the most gifted musicians and educators.
Prince Lyons is a professional dancer and choreographer. He received his BFA from Webster University and has since gone on to dance with The Black Rep, Dance STL, Visceral Dance Chicago, The Cambrians, Owen/Cox Dance Group and Rambert II in the UK. He created a business partnership that raised over $38,000 to bring performance opportunities to local BIPOC artists in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Shevaré is an artist and educator who specializes in creating 3D mixed media collage paired with poetry. Her artwork has been shown in solo art exhibits at Boyle Family Gallery-Lindenwood University and Saks Fifth Avenue Gallery at Plaza Frontenac, and she has participated in International Fashion Weeks
Riley Carter Adams
Riley starred in the recent production of Matilda at COCA, and has also performed in community musical theatre productions and four professional dance and musical theatre productions with re-known stage and Broadway actors. In the summer of 2019, she also had the distinct honor of working with several professional Broadway actors on stage in 'Kinky Boots' and Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Cinderella' during The Muny's 101st Season. She will soon add to her growing resume voicing the character of Neveah in the new animated series "Drawn In", made for a PBS Kids audience and produced in collaboration with National Arts Icon David Steward II's Lion Forge Animation Studios.
William has studied with 2022 Arts Educator of the Year Rosalind-Denise Rodgers for the past 5 years. He has been a member of the Lincoln Middle School Orchestra since its pioneering and is also an ambassador and cellist for The Inner Ear Youth Orchestra. William has performed before the Mayor, Governor and state Senator and received first place in the first ever solo/ensemble festival located in East St. Louis. He dreams of one day becoming a heart surgeon and a member of “a world class orchestra.”
In the 4th grade, Denim fell in love with conducting after attending his first live concert by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) at Powell Hall. SLSO Music Director Stéphane Denève became Denim’s mentor in 2020, and when in-person concerts resumed at Powell Hall in October, the opportunity Denim had waited for finally arrived. As a future 7th grader, Denim continues to have the goal of becoming a conductor someday.
Born in St. Louis, Keyon left Ferguson, MO at age 18 for New York City to enroll in The New School and landed his first major gig with Common, an experience which broadened his musical horizons to include funk, Afrobeat, R&B, and hip hop. Since then, he has performed with stars like Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Eminem, Maxwell, and Anthony Hamilton. In 2021, Keyon returned to St. Louis serving as Creative Advisor of Jazz St. Louis.
David Steward II
David is an Academy Award®-winning producer who owns and operates multiple companies with a mission of creating, discovering, and highlighting multicultural and diverse content in the entertainment industry. David’s entertainment portfolio started with the founding of The Lion Forge, LLC, the St. Louis-based publisher in 2011. Before merging with Oni Press, the company published comics and graphic novels with a mission to create content for everyone, regardless of gender identity, ethnicity, or cultural background – a mission which is still maintained at Oni Lion Forge Publishing Group. In 2018, Steward founded Polarity, a holding company overseeing a portfolio of companies with an array of content offerings including graphic novels and comics, animated television, streaming and cinematic features, and gaming. Key portfolio companies include Oni Lion Forge Publishing Group, the European publishing house Magnetic Press, and the original content developer Illustrated Syndicate. In 2019, David launched Lion Forge Animation and produced the groundbreaking animated short film Hair Love, which won the 2020 Academy Award® for Best Animated Short. The film was directed by Matthew A. Cherry and released by Sony Pictures Animation. In under three years, Lion Forge Animation has become a leading Black-owned animation studio recognized for creating and introducing authentic content focusing on underrepresented groups, and in 2021 was named one of Fast Company Magazine’s Most Innovative Companies in the World, placing #3 in the film and TV category.
Honoree Award Sponsors
Honoree Luncheon Sponsor
Christ and John Nickel
John H. Russell
Lynn and Jim Turley
Sheldon Arts Foundation
St. Louis Children's Choirs
Washington University in St. Louis
Kim and Tim Eberlein
Rhonda Carter Adams
Stuart Maue Ltd.
Thompson Coburn LLP
Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis