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Use the Vision to Forge New Partnerships, Collaborations and Alliances

  • Actively seek opportunities to connect with, listen to, and support artists and arts organizations that it has not previously worked with
  • Facilitate and support new connections between artists, arts organizations, and other organizations through the region
  • Create opportunities and space for artists, arts organizations, and leaders and organizations from other sectors to convene

RAC, especially through its Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute, is considered a strong resource and leader in this work. The CAT Institute, founded in 1997, is a five-month training program that forges partnerships between artists of all disciplines, social workers, educators, community and social activists, and policy-makers. Its goal is to create relevant, impactful arts programs, particularly in under-resourced community settings, like neighborhood organizations, social service agencies, development initiatives, and after-school programs. More than 300 people have graduated from CAT, and these alumni stay connected to each other and utilize their training for the good of the community. Many of these CAT alumni said they saw the potential to strengthen the role of artists and cultural organizations as leaders and partners in civic engagement and social change.

“Would like to see the arts be a leader in getting people together in new ways. It’s hard to do, hard work. But if you work with the community, and it’s genuine, then it will work.”
– Community Leader Interview

Non-arts social service organizations that offer arts programs, such as Beyond Housing and Better Family Life, also talked about the impact the arts have on their efforts to develop more livable neighborhoods. They also said they want more opportunities to partner with the arts sector.

CAT Institute Alumni Network

We heard many ideas about what such partnerships and collaborations might produce, including new ways to support more high-quality after school programming, affordable live-work spaces for artists created by converting vacated properties in divested neighborhoods, and new rehearsal, performance, and creation spaces that could be created by connecting artists and arts organizations with churches with under-utilized spaces. All these ideas focused on bridging divides to connect different sectors to the arts, and all emphasized the potential for mutual benefit.

“Find it odd that there is not more collaboration between corporations and individual artists. Artists should be embedded. If a corporation has empty offices, why not make them available to artists and writers? In trade, they could open up their studio, invite people to do brainstorming. Corporations would benefit in ways they don’t understand yet.”
– Community Leader Interview

Though many people felt that funding was a limiting factor in bringing these ideas to life, people agreed that working to clear that hurdle was worth the pursuit, because of the potential social benefits, for artists, arts organizations, individuals, communities, and the region.

RAC Artists

RAC Artists

Arts and cultural events are waiting around every corner throughout the St. Louis region. Explore the abundant creativity our area has to offer. From gallery shows and performances to public installations, St. Louis is rich with culture and the arts in all forms. Browse these links to experience our arts community firsthand.


Due to the ongoing financial impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) has been working diligently to adjust our annual grantmaking programs to ensure alignment with RAC’s strategic priorities, and in response to feedback from the arts community.


We have gathered a variety of news, information, and other resources to sustain the health and vibrancy of our arts community.


As the leading public catalyst for arts and culture in St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission leverages the power of creativity to strengthen and enrich our community. Read our commitment to diversity, racial equity, accessibility, and inclusion, and see our strategic plan for the next five years.


Covid-19 has impacted us all. But what it hasn’t changed is RAC’s commitment to finding innovative ways to support arts programming, arts organizations, and individual artists through the pandemic, and to resuming these programs as soon as conditions allow.


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