St. Louis Artists, Philanthropists Selected for 2022 Missouri Arts Awards

November 15, 2021

Categories Newsroom

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.

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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