A Creative Vision for St. Louis

Since the launch of EVOKE in summer 2017, we’ve been talking with and listening to thousands of St. Louisans about how the arts can play a larger role in making St. Louis a better place to live.

Regional Arts Commission St. Louis

Through a series of interviews, public forums, and listening sessions, we’ve heard from the people of St. Louis — including civic and community leaders, funders, artists, arts lovers, and leaders of arts organizations — on how to begin shaping a new future for our cultural community.

What we learned from these vital conversations has given RAC a new perspective that will inform our priorities going forward, and inform who RAC is as an organization. It also has the power to inspire action and self-reflection from other organizations in St. Louis, regardless of their relationship to the arts.

“Art has often been a response to so many different times in history when people were going through difficult times and has been a way of healing. I think that is true with the art coming out of St. Louis, in response to how everyone is feeling and engaging around social and political issues.” – Artists at Work Session

Over the past few months, we’ve assembled these stories, ideas, and observations and created a community vision that gives shape to the collective view of our civic challenges and how the arts can inspire change. To share that vision, we’ve created a document that will be made available to the public and released in September 2018.

Evoke Community Listening Forum


Who is this document written for? It’s addressed to those who can help us be catalysts for change:

The People of St. Louis, who voted RAC into existence more than 30 years ago, and who can hold us accountable to addressing the hopes and needs they shared with us.

Arts Institutions, which are the rock-solid foundation of the arts community, and who can serve as leaders in moving us toward the future. We also believe they can benefit from hearing the voices of the other stakeholders in this document — especially those of artists and everyday St. Louisans.

Artists, who are the fabric of arts and culture in St. Louis, many of whom are searching for their place in our local arts and culture infrastructure, who are seeking support and appreciation for their work, and whose potential to positively impact the region has yet to be fully realized.

Funders — individual donors, private foundations, corporate foundations — who make possible our vibrant arts and culture community in St. Louis, and who want to find new ways of lending that support.

Policy Makers, Thought Leaders, and Influencers, who are engaged in thinking about the future of arts and culture in St. Louis, and whose voices have the ability to influence policy and funding decisions that will impact that future.

“[I] find it odd that there is not more collaboration between corporations and individual artists. Artists should be embedded. If a corporation has empty offices, why not make them available to artists and writers? In trade, they could open up their studio, invite people to do brainstorming. Corporations would benefit in ways they don’t understand yet.” – Community Leader Interview

Our aim for this document is to inspire action. We want people to be motivated to come together to talk about what they read and to explore how they might join forces to bring some of this vision to life.

Leading up to the release in September, we’ll be sharing some of the intersections of art and our community that we uncovered during this process on this blog. Check back weekly for new stories, and join the conversation in the comments section.