Home | About RAC | A Creative Vision for St. Louis | Increase Support to Local Artists

Attract and Retain a High-Performing Community of Professional Artists and Creative Entrepreneurs

  • Increase support to individual artists through fellowships, residencies, training, and opportunities to acquire space to live and create new work
  • Partner with developers and other foundations to reclaim vacated properties as habitable live/work spaces for artists in revitalizing neighborhoods
  • Support the development of teaching artists, including training and employment opportunities
It should go without saying that the artists who live and work in our community are a vital part of the arts and culture in St. Louis — but it’s important to say it anyway.

In speaking with so many of them as part of this process, we heard a lot of frustration with their place in the arts and culture infrastructure of St. Louis. Many artists feel unappreciated and unsupported, and that if the right supports and structures were in place, their work could be having a greater positive impact on the region.

This document aims to capture not only those frustrations but also their ambitions, dreams, and ideas for the future of the arts and culture in St. Louis. We want artists to see their voices reflected here, and we want other stakeholders in this document — especially arts institutions, funders, and the people of St. Louis — to hear those voices, so they can engage in an effort to better support and lift up artists as a means to strengthen the arts community.

Through surveys, discussion groups, and neighborhood listening sessions, local artists listed family connections, affordability, and the ease of Midwestern life as reasons they choose St. Louis. But the factors that make St. Louis a difficult place to live and work made for a longer list.

For the arts and culture to thrive in St. Louis, local artists must be nurtured, supported, and celebrated. St. Louis is capable of being seen as an arts destination — as a place where artists choose to go, not just a place where they come from — but if St. Louis is to become such a destination, we will need to invest in artists and the infrastructure they need to flourish.

While artists always welcome more funding opportunities, many spoke of needing support and strategies to help them find and afford spaces where they can live and work, including places for performances, exhibitions and rehearsals, and continuing education.

A high concentration of artists often makes an area hip and desirable, which in turn raises rents to a level where they no longer are affordable to the very artists who contributed to their rise. Artists want and need protection against displacement from these areas.

Artists also expressed the need for more marketing and promotion support, and more opportunities to collaborate and network, to forge a stronger network of artists across the region. Many artists see themselves as creative entrepreneurs and want to be more connected to St. Louis’ growing start-up scene.

Union Avenue Opera
Union Avenue Opera

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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