When he thinks about the importance of the arts in our community, Gen Horiuchi says they “bring the community together. You can talk about it or share that moment with the rest of the community, so that way we have something to share with everyone.”

Horiuchi has been the executive and artistic director of Saint Louis Ballet (an A&E grantee) since 2000. A native of Tokyo, he has an extensive background in the world of ballet - he won the Prix de Lusanne in 1980, danced in the New York City Ballet and choreographed the opening ceremony of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Horiuchi says moving from New York to St. Louis in 2000 was an adjustment. “It took me a little bit to break the ice,” says Horiuchi. Nearly two decades later, audiences have warmed up to him and he now has a very established presence in the industry and recognizes the strength and collaboration of the arts community.

To Horiuchi, the success of any arts organization is dependent upon support from the community – through programs like the Arts and Education Council’s (A&E) Executive Director Roundtable discussions and Arts Marketers seminars.

The Executive Director Roundtable brings together leaders of A&E’s grantees at the Centene Center for the Arts for monthly discussions, idea sharing and collaborative opportunities. “It is helpful to feel like a part of the community,” says Horiuchi.

A&E’s Arts Marketers seminars serve a similar purpose by offering timely and meaningful information on topics like search engine optimization and social media marketing and opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and networking.

This support from the community has helped Horiuchi grow Saint Louis Ballet’s impact in the region through programs like Pointe to Succeed, which offers access to dance lessons and performances to students who otherwise would not be able to afford the opportunity.

Most recently, Saint Louis Ballet expanded its programming into the newly renovated historic Grandel Theatre in the Grand Center Arts District. “This is our first opportunity to perform in Grand Center area,” says Horiuchi. "We are hoping to reach out to new audiences.”

To view Saint Louis Ballet’s 2017-2018 performances, visit our ARTS Card Calendar. For more information on Arts Marketers, click here.