Since 1983, the Missouri Arts Council and the State of Missouri have been honoring our state’s arts heroes – the people who make the arts happen. The annual Missouri Arts Awards celebrate people, organizations and communities that have made profound and lasting contributions to the cultural and artistic climate of the state. Honorees are selected by an independent panel in six categories: Arts Education, Arts Organization, Creative Community, Individual Artist, Leadership in the Arts, and Philanthropy.
In 2022, St. Louis-based artists, organizations and donors won awards in Arts Education, Individual Artist and Philanthropy.
Arts Education: Building Futures
STEAM-based design-and-build organization that gives young people ages 5-18, many of them at-risk from low-income communities, the joy of realizing their creativity while learning rigorous construction and problem-solving skills—working individually and in teams at their schools and Building Futures’ workshop; using hand tools, power tools, computers and more to imagine and execute projects that have ranged from collages, paintings, and architectural models to full-scale functional boats.
Individual Artist: Carmen Sofia Dence
Dancer, choreographer, teacher, costume designer and maker, arts volunteer, community champion, five-time Master Artist in the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program of the Missouri Folk Arts Program—a shining light of Missouri’s dance community for decades; born in Columbia, a St. Louisan since 1976; devoted to preserving and sharing the music, dance, and folklore of her homeland especially through the Grupo Atlántico performance troupe she founded in 1995 and continues to direct.
Philanthropy: Kathie and Richard Winter
Longtime arts supporters who exemplify the classic contribution of time, talent, and treasure to benefit an array of St. Louis organizations—serving individually and together, past and present, as board members and officers, committee members and chairs, fundraising leaders, and financial mainstays of Big Muddy Dance Company, Dance St. Louis, Grand Center Arts District, Jazz St. Louis, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Springboard to Learning, Stray Dog Theatre, St. Louis University Museum of Art and more.