St. Louis (December 19, 2016) – The Regional Arts Commission (RAC), the region’s largest annual funder of the arts dedicated to the cultivation, promotion, and fostering of cultural programming in the St. Louis area, is pleased to announce the graduation of 15 Fellows from its 4th Place-Based Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute held August-October 2016.
Now in its 19th year, the CAT Institute is an innovative multi-month curriculum for artists of all disciplines, social service professionals and community organizers who learn to collaborate across sectors to develop programs that can affect positive social change within communities. These programs take place in homeless shelters, prisons, at-risk schools, hospices, community centers, daycare facilities, social service agencies, as well as within neighborhoods. In 2011, the CAT Institute was expanded to include a place-based model for community arts training that operates within a neighborhood and emphasizes the power of the arts to change lives and change communities.
Roseann Weiss, Director of RAC’s Department of Artist and Community Initiatives, commented, “We are excited about this assembly of people who are dedicated to their neighborhoods. Art will be an essential tool for amplifying their work to improve their communities.”
This year continued an exciting period of growth for RAC’s CAT Institute, including the expansion of this year’s Place-Based CAT Institute into four neighborhoods. “With over 300 graduates, CAT Institute trained artists, activists, social workers, and community organizers continue to make a profound impact in St. Louis neighborhoods and institutions by empowering creative community collaborations and inspiring new ways to address social issues,” said Liz Pund, CAT Institute Co-Director. She continues, “The CAT Institute builds strong networks and we hope to see even stronger ties across the region through this place-based model.”
The 2016 Place-Based CAT Institute focused on four communities in St. Louis City and County: The Ville and Greater Ville neighborhoods; the Dutchtown neighborhood; the West End and Visitation Park neighborhoods (Delmar to Page, Skinker to Union); and Berkeley, Dellwood, and Ferguson cities in North St. Louis County. A panel of community arts professionals assessed more than 30 applications and selected these Fellows:
- Wendy Campbell – cycling advocate with Trailnet, neighborhood leader, block captain
- Lori Lamprich –neighborhood leader and advocate, Democratic Committeewoman
- Cheryl Marty – director of external relations at St. Mary’s High School, cross-cultural instructor
- AJ Mitts – artist, Paint Louis organizer, St. Louis Underground Gallery
The Ville/Greater Ville
- Julia Allen – social worker, counselor, advocate for the elderly, neighborhood leader
- Thomasina Clarke – director, writer, actress, drama instructor, videographer/editor
- Ramona C. Scott – volunteer agency leader; African American cycling advocate and bike commuter; active 4th Ward voter
West End/Visitation Park
- Sherry Bailey – event planner in public policy, project manager, block leader, neighborhood leader
- Charisma Blue – food artist, youth educator, community advocate
- Rodney V. Norman – retired IT professional, real estate developer, neighborhood leader
- Annetta Vickers-Bentil – entrepreneur, community nonprofit founder
- Dannie Boyd – photojournalist, student newspaper director, educator at UMSL
- Alie Flores – community advocate and leader, artist, Americorps VISTA
- Erica Popp – artist in photography, printmaking and ceramics; educator at Florissant Valley Community College
- Luisa Otero Prada – visual artist, architect, entrepreneur, Angelman Syndrome advocate
For more information about the CAT Institute, visit http://racstl.org/art-community/community-arts-training-cat-institute/ or contact Liz Pund at 314-863-5811 x1014 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute
Created by the Regional Arts Commission in 1997, the CAT Institute is an innovative program based on the idea that art is an agent of positive social change. The CAT Institute provides a professional level, comprehensive training program to prepare artists of all disciplines and their community partners to collaborate in creating and sustaining significant arts-based programs primarily in under-resourced community settings, such as neighborhood organizations, social service agencies, development initiatives, and education programs. For more information about the CAT Institute, visit http://racstl.org/art-community/community-arts-training-cat-institute/.
About the Regional Arts Commission www.racstl.org
The Regional Arts Commission (RAC) is at the forefront of efforts to transform St. Louis into a more vibrant, creative and economically thriving community by elevating the vitality, value and visibility of the arts. It is the largest annual funder of the arts in the region, and since its inception in 1985, RAC has awarded more than 6,900 grants totaling over $97 million to support nonprofit arts, individual artists, cultural organizations, consortiums and programs. Directed by a board of 15 commissioners appointed by the chief executives of St. Louis City and St. Louis County, RAC is a pivotal force in the continuing development and marketing of the arts in the region. Visit www.racstl.org for more information, or follow us on Facebook at Regional Arts Commission or Twitter @RACStLouis.