You must be logged in as a CAT member to see this page.

Log in here.

Discover opportunities to build your art career and make art work.

Building a business or career around an art practice isn’t like building any other small business. Artists face different challenges: how to manage goals, write about art, plan a budget, speak in public and build a personal brand.

Artist INC, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance, addresses the challenges, helping artists and creatives take control of their art careers. Partnering with the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, Artist INC and Mid-America Arts Alliance have brought the training to St. Louis to help artists learn business skills relevant to their work and turn their art practices into sustainable art careers.

Unlike other entrepreneur- and business-focused classes, Artist INC is tailored for the needs and challenges of working artists of any discipline. Artists learn and grow together in small groups led by peer facilitators.

“It was everything I expected and more. I really liked how Artist INC kind of broke down the necessity and the importance of monetizing your practice.” – Lyndsey, Artist INC attendee 

“There is so little value put on being an artist, people don’t feel like they can fully embrace being a creative and this [program] allows people to feel more empowered.” – Zenique, Artist INC facilitator 

“We worked through all of the hot topics that artists need to familiar with like the artist statement, biography, resume, everything leading to entrepreneurship.” – Kaonis, Artist INC attendee 

Artist INC, eight-week, in-person sessions.

Who it’s for: Artist INC is open to artists and creatives of all disciplines. AIL has a competitive application process, a substantial time commitment and requires participants to be within a specific community. Artists should reside within a 60-mile commute from these program locations. All sessions are in person. 

Gathering for one evening a week for eight weeks, participants learn strategic business skills specific to their art practice and how to apply those skills cooperatively with their peers. Using a groundbreaking class design, Artist INC Live guides artists as they learn and grow together through artist facilitator mentoring, small group application activities, as well as large group discussion and multimedia lecture.

Sessions take place over the course of eight Tuesday evenings, September 17-November 12, 2024, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Applications are open from May 1, to June 18, 2024. 

Location: CIC @ CET, 20 South Sarah Street, St. Louis, MO 63108

Cost: TBA

Facilitators: Zenique Gardner-Perry, Sarah Paulsen, Con Christeson, Tracey Stanton, Colin McLaughlin

Apply: Applications open May 1 and close June 18, 2024 

Interested in learning more before applying for the full, eight-week course? Sign up for What Works, a short, one and a half hour-long introductory session.

Make art work. Learn what works.

What Works, a free, short workshop, immediately activates a network of artists in the community leading to additional peer-to-peer resource sharing and support, long after the workshop concludes.

What Works is open to artists and creatives of all disciplines and at all stages of their careers. In a non-competitive atmosphere, the goal of What Works is to provide an introduction to the Artist INC trainings and resources. The format includes a presentation as well as time for questions and discussions. Led by professional artist facilitators, the short workshop addresses the specific professional needs and challenges that artists of all disciplines face.

What Works, one and a half hour, virtual and in-person, free

What Works: Thursday, May 16, 2024 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.
Location: Virtual
Presented by Artist INC Peer Facilitators, Con Christenson and Tracy Stanton
Register Now

What Works: Thursday, June 6, 2024 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Location: In-person, CIC @ CET, 20 South Sarah Street, St. Louis, MO 6310, in The Showroom
Presented by Artist INC Peer Facilitators, JerMarco Britton and Colin McLaughlin
Register Now

Cost: Free

To date, Artist INC has been completed by more than 1,500 artists. Artist INC is supported in part by grants from the Windgate Foundation, the Hallmark Corporate Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Learn more about Artist INC at

About Mid-America Arts Alliance
Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our six-state region and beyond. Additional information can be found at

As seen in the St. Louis Business Journal recently, the arts spark economic development, bring millions of tourists to the region and have put St. Louis on the map as a leading arts and culture destination.

As St. Louis positions itself as a great place to work, live and play, the arts and culture sector plays a vital role. According to the recent Americans for the Arts – Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 study (AEP6), the sector contributes nearly $868 million in economic impact in St. Louis City and St. Louis County. The study was conducted in partnership with the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RACSTL), the largest public funder of art and culture in the region.

“The economic and social impact the arts and culture sector has on St. Louis is undeniable,” said Vanessa Cooksey, RAC president and CEO. “Our nonprofit organizations contribute the local economy every day – employing thousands of people, creating unique and high-quality experiences for millions of attendees, and through daily operational expenditures.”

CLICK HERE to read the St. Louis Business Journal article for free and learn more about how the arts and culture sector is big business in St. Louis.

ARPA for the Arts to Provide St. Louis City with 28 New Murals by Summer 2024
With a Total Investment of Almost $1.5M, Each Ward Will Receive Two Murals Created by Local Artists


(St. Louis, MO) – The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RACSTL), in partnership with the City of St. Louis, is facilitating the creation of 28 new murals throughout St. Louis City by summer 2024. Utilizing funds from the ARPA for the Arts initiative, up to $92,560 has been allocated for each of the city’s 14 wards. Every ward will receive two murals created by a local artist residing in St. Louis City. Referred to as the St. Louis Mural Project, this major effort to foster community engagement and beautify the city will result in a total investment of almost $1.5M.

“Creativity and community pride are part of the foundation of our great city,” said Vanessa Cooksey, President & CEO of RACSTL. “The St. Louis Mural Project represents a significant, collaborative effort that will further elevate St. Louis’ status as a national destination for breathtaking public art.”

To be considered, artists must submit a grant application found on RACSTL’s website by Thursday, Mar. 14. Selection of the artists and mural locations are being managed by RACSTL’s ARPA for the Arts team, in close consultation with representatives from the city’s Board of Aldermen and public art specialists. Artists will be the sole recipients of awarded funds.

The subject matter of the murals is open to the artists’ creativity, but they must adhere to certain criteria. Artists must incorporate an aspect of community engagement, such as giving residents of the ward an opportunity to provide input or allowing residents to contribute to painting the mural. Alternatively, artists may showcase an aspect of the ward that is historically significant.

To be eligible to receive this grant, applicants must be at least 18 years old, must be a current resident of St. Louis City as well as held residency in St. Louis City during Mar. – Dec. 2020. Artists are strongly encouraged to visit RACSTL’s website at to review the grant guidelines in their entirety.

“This is about bringing residents together, uplifting the community and giving visitors yet another incredible, free arts attraction to enjoy when they come to St. Louis,” said Jay Scherder, Communications Senior Manager at RACSTL. “Going to see each mural will be a great way to experience the city’s eclectic, welcoming neighborhoods.”

St. Louis Mural Project Timeline
– February 1, 2024: Grant applications open
– March 14, 2024: Grant application deadline
– Mid-April, 2024: Locations of murals will be announced
– Early May, 2023: Selected artists will be announced
– Mid-summer, 2024: Project completion; all murals finished

About the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis
Since 1985, the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis has gifted more than $120 million to 7,200+ artists and arts organizations. In 2023, RACSTL awarded almost $4.5 million in grant funding, one of the largest grant allocations in its history. In Oct. 2022, RACSTL received $10.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding from the passage of Board Bill #66. St. Louis City Mayor Tishaura O. Jones initiated the legislation that received unanimous approval from the City of St. Louis’ Board of Aldermen as well as support from Comptroller Darlene Green. The Community Development Administration (CDA) partners with RAC on the administration and monitoring of the ARPA for the Arts funds.

Vanessa Cooksey’s journey has taken her to Dallas, Austin and Atlanta. Now, the President & CEO of the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RACSTL) is combining her significant experience with her passion for creativity, entrepreneurship and community to uplift St. Louis.

Applying a comprehensive, strategic approach to bolstering the health of the arts and culture sector, Cooksey is cognizant of the power of the arts to both enrich individuals’ lives and drive the local economy in major ways.

In her recent profile in the St. Louis Business Journal, Cooksey was asked how much time RACSTL spends on opportunities for artists to have economic viability. She responded,

“We are growing in our investment in individual artists. It is one of the things that I love most about RAC. We get to write checks to humans and not just arts orgs. What I’m finding in our conversations is yes, artists need more capital. But they also need professional development and so in the next several months and years, RAC is going to create more opportunities — either through direct programming and/or partnerships — to support artists in that professional development learning.”

CLICK HERE to read the full article for free.

Original piece by James Drew – Reporter, St. Louis Business Journal
Jan 11, 2024

Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors will present the National Award for Local Arts Leadership in Washington D.C. on January 19.  Mayor Jones is the sole recipient of the award for major metropolitan areas.

St. Louis – In late 2022, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones signed Bill #66 into law – allocating $10.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RACSTL). The historic investment in the St. Louis arts community was one the largest direct municipal allocation in the United States.

The Mayor’s dedication to the arts and culture sector in St. Louis is now being recognized at the national level. On Jan. 19, 2024, Mayor Jones received the Local Arts Leadership Award by Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors. She was the only mayor to receive the award for a city with a population of 100,000 people or more.

“The City of St. Louis has an incredible arts ecosystem that promotes not only a wide array of talent and vision, but also accessibility and immersive experiences that bring our communities to life,” said Mayor Jones. “While I am proud to receive this recognition, I am prouder to represent a city that deeply values the arts. St. Louis is a better place because of the creators, writers, performers, and producers that call our city home.”

“Mayor Jones is an important ally and advocate for the arts and culture sector in St. Louis,” said Vanessa Cooksey, RACSTL president and CEO. “She understands and values the impact our nonprofit organizations have on the local economy every day – employing thousands of people, creating unique and high-quality experiences for millions of attendees, and through daily operational expenditures. We are humbled and grateful for her support as RACSTL works to ensure a full creative life for every St. Louisan.”

In addition to the allocation of federal pandemic funds, Mayor Jones continues supporting the arts through the Arts Liaison position in her cabinet.  The role promotes and uplifts local artists and art organizations, as well as develops opportunities for the City’s artists to find career fulfillment in their craft.

“When you support the arts, you support St. Louis,“ said Cooksey. “Our great region boasts more than 700 arts and culture non-profits organizations that generate nearly $868 million in economic activity and 12,000 full-time jobs. Last year, more than 8.1 million local and out-of-town tourists attended theater performances, concerts, art fairs and festivals. The arts are big business in St. Louis, and support from Mayor Jones has helped make that possible.”

About ARPA for the Arts
The ARPA for the Arts Revenue and Income Replacement Grants, which are managed and distributed in accordance with requirements set by the United States Treasury Department, are one-time grants to working artists and arts organizations in the City of St. Louis. Recipients are required to verify financial loss between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2024, ARPA for the Arts Tourism Grants will be awarded to nonprofit arts and culture organizations with programs and/or projects designed to increase tourism and encourage participation in the arts by residents and visitors to St. Louis.