Fall 2021 Virtual Town Hall

November 8, 2021

RAC Delivers Exciting News During November Town Hall

Though a lot has changed since the March 2021 Town Hall meeting, the future looks bright at the Regional Arts Commission.

Financially, the last year has been one of the most challenging years for the organization in its history. While estimates are moving in the right direction over the next several years, RAC is taking matters into its own hands.

“We are looking for new ways to diversify our revenue,” said Vanessa Cooksey, Regional Arts Commission president and CEO. “We’ve identified four key areas of revenue we want to pursue.” By utilizing federal and state government funds, national foundation grants, individual donations, and board donations, RAC will strengthen its financial foundation.

RAC was able to maintain existing grantee payments at a reduced rate during the pandemic. During the November Town Hall, Cooksey announced surprise funding to current operational grant recipients.

“I am excited to announce that RAC will make its final two payments (March and June) at 50% to our current cohort,” she said. It represents an investment of $750,000. Currently, general operating support grant recipients are being funded at 25%.

RAC will also open a new round of applications for program support grants in the new year, allocating $650,000 toward the initiative. The application process will open in February, and payments will be made in May.

“We will also continue our investment in our organizations and will finish the second half of our pilot program of Capacity Building STL in September,” Cooksey added.

Another exciting announcement made at the November Town Hall – investment in individual artists. RAC will allocate $250,000 in grant funds to artist support grants. The application opens in February, with grant payments being made in May.

The Gyo Obata and Community Arts Training programs will move forward in the new year. RAC will also invest $100,000 toward public art in the community and will focus on cultural tourism partnerships and outreach in 2022.

Strengthening RAC’s organizational infrastructure is also an important goal for Cooksey. By reimagining its workplace culture, executing new human resources tools and modernizing IT resources, RAC strives to be one of the best places to work in St. Louis.

Cooksey also gave an update on the RAC facility. “We know that our community wants a space where artists and art administrators can gather. They want a safe and accessible space, and it has to have the latest technology and tech support to become pandemic proof.” RAC will continue working with its Board of Commissioners to discuss the future of the current RAC building and will share its plan in the early part of 2022.

RAC Commissioner Andrea Purnell moderated the event, with an introduction from current RAC Board of Commissions Chair Mont Levy.

We had many thoughtful, timely questions asked during the Town Hall. View them here.

Supporting 5% for the Arts

An unprecedented consortium of 111 arts and culture organizations throughout St. Louis City and St. Louis County have come together to request support from our local government.

“At this important time, I am so thrilled by our arts and culture community,” said Mont Levy, RAC board of commissioners chair. “We know it has been a difficult time for [the art community]. With that, your role is even more essential as we work together to garner support for the arts and our community artists to make recovery happen.”

Arts and culture leaders of St. Louis are requesting a direct line-item allocation of 5% of the federal relief funds committed to the City, along with 5% of federal relief funds committed to the County, to be distributed to arts and culture organizations throughout the region. Learn more about the initiative.

Donate to RAC

New in 2021, RAC will give the community the opportunity to donate directly to the organization. Your gifts will help support the RAC mission of delivering a creative life to every St. Louisian. Donate today!

Please view “The Work of Art” below. The amazing video, made in partnership with HEC-TV, shows the true impact RAC has in the St. Louis area.