On April 17, 2023, we celebrated 60 years of the Arts and Education Council and our region’s rich artistic legacy and future at the Chase Park Plaza by honoring artists, educators, organizations and corporate citizens for their contributions to our community. The 2023 honorees recognized at the 32nd annual event were: Barbara Berner, Lifetime Achievement in the Arts; Eugene B. Redmond, Lifetime Achievement in the Arts; Judy Best-Person, Lifetime Achievement in the Arts; Steven Schankman, Excellence in the Arts; John Russell, Excellence in Philanthropy; Suzanne Palmer, Art Educator of the Year: Legacy; and Jermaine Smith, Art Educator of the Year: Leading the Future. 


Together, we raised more than $236,000, including $16,625 for the Arts and Education Fund for Teachers. Proceeds benefit more than 45 arts and arts education organizations impacting 1.6 million people throughout the 16-county, bi-state region. 


In the past year, we funded 45 unique organizations—29% of those being first-time grantees—and were able to invest over $315,000 back into the community through our combined funding. These grants supply the resources necessary for our community to harness the power of the arts to heal, educate, innovate and inspire.

AmerenCares Equity in the Arts Philanthropic Grant Program is a partnership between Ameren Missouri and the Arts and Education Council. This special grant opportunity is designed for and limited in focus to historically underrepresented and underfunded nonprofit organizations that are racially, ethnically diverse at the decision-making level to help energize the path of all artistic voices and dreams for today and tomorrow. 

The Equity in the Arts Grant is a one-year gift, awarding the 18 recipient organizations a collective total of nearly $125,000 in 2023-24. 

2023-24 AmerenCares Grantees 

The African Heritage Association 

Artists First St. Louis 

Dream Tree Academy 573 

Ferguson Youth Initiative 

Film Camp USA 

Freedom Arts & Education Center 

Gateway Music Outreach 

HEAL Center for the Arts 

Hispanic Festival, Inc. 

Intercultural Music Initiative 

Invest STL 

Kimbilio Fiction 

Pointe of Surrender Dance Studio 

The Soulard School 

St. Louis Artworks 

Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective 


Youth Arts & Technology Center 

Arts and Healing Initiative in partnership with Missouri Foundation for Health, the five-year grant aims to improve the quality of life for people throughout St. Louis City, St. Louis County and other Missouri counties. The overarching goal of the Arts and Healing Initiative is to increase the capacity to heal through the arts. 

In 2023, the initiative awarded $100,000 in grants to 10 organizations who have a primary mission that is directly concerned with arts, arts education, healing and well-being. Applications were evaluated by the Arts and Healing Initiative Advisory Panel comprised of leaders in the arts, healthcare and research fields. The Arts and Healing Initiative is supported with funding from Missouri Foundation for Health. 


2023-24 Arts & Healing Initiative Grantees 

Bread and Roses Missouri 

A Call to Conscience, Inc. 

Circus Harmony 

The Core Collective at Saint Vincent 

The Covering House 

Different Dynamics 

Pack Dance (formerly Consuming Kinetics Dance Company) 

Ragtag Film Society 

The Big Muddy Dance Company  

The Women’s Safe House 

Bayer Fund Rural Community Arts Program has provided access to the arts to more than 142,000 people in rural communities across the bi-state region for nearly two decades. Since establishing the partnership in 2007, the Arts and Education Council and Bayer Fund, a philanthropic arm of Bayer in the U.S., have provided more than $250,000 in grants to organizations who bring artists and entertainers into classrooms and performance venues so that people in rural communities can thrive with increased connection to the arts. In 2023-24, 5 recipients each received $5,000 in support of this mission. 

2023-24 Bayer Fund Rural Community Arts Program Grantees 

Half Act Theatre Company 

Highland Arts Council 

Jacoby Arts Center 

Jersey County Arts Council 

The Macoupin Art Collective

Arts and Education Fund for Teachers is administered by the Arts and Education Council with financial backing from PNC Foundation and helps support classroom-based projects and opportunities designed to connect the arts with curriculum and enhance learning for K-12 students in the St. Louis bi-state area. We were thrilled to award 12 educators this year who will share nearly $65,000. 


2023-24 Arts and Education Fund for Teachers Grantees 

Dawn Lynn, Willow Brook Elementary School 

James McKay, Hazelwood Northwest Middle School 

Robin Mik, Adams Elementary School 

Constance Miller, Ames Visual & Performing Arts Elementary School 

Tyler Moore, STEAM Academy Middle School 

Tim Mulhall, Confluence Academies-Grand Center Arts Academy 

Karen Norman, Mason School of Academic and Cultural Literacy 

Kari Schepker-Mueller, Maplewood Richmond Heights Early Childhood Center 

Milton Stevenson V, Parkway South Middle School 

Justin Straight, STEAM Academy Middle School 

Sydney Swanson, North Point High School 

Larissa Young, Larimore Elementary School