We had a hunch that there were some exciting, innovative ideas out there for how to change the world through the arts in St. Louis. That’s why in January we launched the inaugural stARTup Competition in partnership with PNC Foundation. Well, St. Louis, you didn’t let us down. Six entrepreneurs of more than 30 submissions have advanced to the final round with their ideas. The six finalists are (in alpha order by last name):

Creative Reaction Lab Antionette Carroll

Founded in 2014, Creative Reaction Lab educates, trains, and challenges cities to co-design solutions with traditionally underrepresented communities to make one’s city healthier and more inclusive through creative problem solving, civic engagement, and entrepreneurship.

The Feedback Loop Johnny Heo

The Feedback Loop utilizes the power of the creative to give a voice to the marginalized through a co-working studio in the Delmar Loop that invests in the careers of musicians North of Delmar.

Central haven for writers Amanda Wells

Imagine a St. Louis that provides a central haven for its writers - a place where writers, could-be writers, and artists who want to work with writers converge to learn from each other, collaborate, and call home.

Arts integration teacher resource center Emily Kohring

The program will create a resource center that empowers teachers across the St. Louis region, in all subject areas, to integrate the arts by boosting their confidence through professional learning experiences: workshops, coaching and online resources.

Project Layers Kirsten Marklin

Project Layers is a project-based design program for high school students that will focus on mentorship, creative problem solving and job training.

PRIME Kyle Kratky & Andrea Schoening

A new breed of theatre company in St. Louis, PRIME will initially produce 24-hour new play festivals to create raw, welcoming, and unorthodox theatre for all, encapsulating the ephemeral, and encouraging community engagement.

The finalists will present their stARTup idea to the competition panel in May. Winners will be announced by June 1. Competition winners will be awarded up to $10,000 in seed funding, one year of incubation support and space in A&E’s Centene Center for the Arts and professional development and mentorship opportunities. For more information about the stARTup Competition, click here.