RAC Grant Recipients Honored in State Capitol

February 9, 2023

Each year, the State of Missouri and the Missouri Arts Council celebrate our state’s arts heroes– the artists, educators, leaders, philanthropists, organizations, and communities that transform people’s lives through the arts. On Feb. 8, two RAC grant recipients were honored in Jefferson City during a special ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.

Stray Dog Theatre (pictured above) received the Arts Education Award. In addition to producing six plays every year, the 20-year-old company concentrates on arts education with a variety of programs – each bringing its own unique touch to the needs of St. Louis.

Artists First received the Arts Organization Award. Artists First prides itself on creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for the community it serves. Although it serves as a studio for artists of all abilities, it is especially dedicated to people who have been underserved and disenfranchised.

Photo: (left to right) Sharon Beshore, Missouri Arts Council, Sheila Suderwalla, Artists First, and Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe. 

“We are immensely proud of Stray Dog Theatre and Artists First,” said Nichole Belford, Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis external relations manager. “Both organizations truly exhibit the power and impact the arts can have in a community.”

The awards coincided with Missouri Arts Advocacy Week. Organized by the non-partisan Missouri Citizens for the Arts, the week brings people together from across the state to advocate for secure, stable financial support for the arts to benefit Missouri and its citizens.

Photo: Arts advocates from St. Louis during Arts Advocacy Week

Other award winners include St. Louis artist Kenneth Calvert and St. Louis arts philanthropist Mary Strauss.

Established in 1983 as the state’s highest honor in the arts the Missouri Arts Awards have acclaimed 242 people, organizations and communities.