Mayor Tishaura O. Jones Honored with National Arts Leadership Award for Work with Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis

January 19, 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.