RAC Expands Reach of St. Louis Canvass Project

September 27, 2019

Categories In the News

Free youth-engagement program leverages arts and culture to teach students life skills

ST. LOUIS (Sept. 27, 2019) — For the second year, the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC), the largest funder of the arts in the St. Louis region, will offer the St. Louis Canvass Project, a free youth engagement program designed for local students in grades 6-8 that uses the arts to unlock skills students need to succeed in life – problem-solving, collaboration, communication, imagination, and creativity – with a special emphasis on leadership development.

The St. Louis Canvass Project is free to students that live in one of the following school districts: St. Louis Public Schools, School District of University City, Normandy Schools Collaborative, Ritenour School District, Jennings School District, Riverview Gardens School District, Ferguson-Florissant School District, and Hazelwood School District. Students living outside of those school districts wishing to participate may do so with a fee.

“Middle school is an important time to build confidence and learn skills needed to succeed beyond the classroom,” said Erika Fiola, director of strategic initiatives and community partnerships at RAC. “We were overwhelmed by the interest and positive feedback we received from program participants in the first year of the St. Louis Canvass Project, and we’re excited to begin year two of the program and offer more students creative and engaging ways to learn through art.”

Seventy-five students participated in the inaugural year of the program in 2018, which took place over an eight-month period. This year, to meet the growing interests of the programs, the St. Louis Canvass Project will offer separate three-month sessions, one in the fall and one in the spring. Students have the option to register for one or both sessions. Students will meet one Saturday a month, with the fall session beginning September 28, at four community host sites:

  • Regional Arts Commission: 6128 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112
  • Beyond Housing: 6506 Wright Way, St. Louis, MO 63121
  • Intersect Art Center: 3636 Texas Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118
  • Central Print: 2624 N 14th St, St. Louis, MO 63106

During the St. Louis Canvass Project sessions, students will receive arts-based instruction from professional teaching artists, who specialize in a variety of artistic disciplines, including visual arts, music, dance, and theater. The curriculum, inspired by the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education, provides students with hands-on opportunities to explore and understand the arts through “imaginative learning.” Following the classroom session, students will explore the St. Louis arts and culture scene through off-site excursions to local museums, theaters, and other cultural venues.

For more information on the St. Louis Canvass Project, visit stlcanvass.org.

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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