Regional Arts Commission St. Louis

Karin Hagaman, Grand Center Arts District

I was recently approached by some great regional partners — the Urban League, Mission: St. Louis, and the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club — about a workforce initiative called The Grand Project and how Grand Center as an arts district can help prepare people who live in this area for good jobs and long-term employment.

I was so excited to talk about an arts district in a different way — as a labor market and place of opportunity, because there is a whole economy that makes a place like Grand Center work.

So, The Grand Project leaders are working with individuals looking for good jobs and helping them get prepared.  And then Grand Center can connect the talents with the needs of the employers in our area. There are more than 60 arts organizations in this district right now that have the potential to provide jobs that pay the bills and bring people joy.

Some of the jobs — box office and gallery attendant jobs — really require an interest in art. To do a good job, you need to be passionate about what the arts organizations are promoting. Grand Center is also focused on hospitality. There’s a huge need for food and beverage service and other support fields. It’s a wonderful and exciting new way to think of the arts. I am passionate about the idea that art and culture makes a huge and measurable impact on our lives as individuals and on our economy.

— Karin Hagaman, President & CEO of Grand Center Arts District

Lamar Harris, Shakespeare in the Streets

read Lamar's story