The WHY of MY City

Fence painting.West Side. STL Story Stitchers Youth Council.4.2018.B.IF8A4975
Stitchers Youth Council members paint a fence on the lot of Wellston Loop Community Development Corporation’s 1514 Hodiamont city lot.

M-AAA is pleased to announce the FY20 Artistic Innovations grantees, supporting the creation and presentation of new artistic endeavors taking place between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

With this year’s total of $165,400, Artistic Innovations awards grants of up to $15,000 to artists and organizations creating innovative new work. Grantees are chosen by a selection panel of artists and arts professionals from across the six-state region, including past recipients. This year’s thirteen grants are made possible by generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Todd Stein, President and CEO of Mid-America Arts Alliance, says, “Through this grant program, we encourage the spirit of experimentation and exploration, exclusively engaging regional artists and arts organizations in the creation of new, original works for audiences across the M-AAA region. We have awarded more than $1 million in total awards through Artistic Innovations, and we are so pleased to continue this stellar program with an exciting slate of recipients.”

Saint Louis Story Stitchers is pleased to announce it will receive a FY20 Artistic Innovations grant for $7,000 for a new program entitled, The WHY of MY City.

Additional support for this program is provided by Missouri Foundation for Health, Steward Family Foundation, St. Louis Storytelling Festival, a part of the University of Missouri Extension Services Community Arts Program, and Kranzberg Arts Foundation.

The WHY of MY City is an artistic commission designed to raise awareness on gun violence prevention and rebuild civic pride for St. Louis, MO, which has neighborhoods that are reeling from gun violence. A new work by African American artists will explore why citizens do and should care about their neighborhoods, even as outsiders might see the same city blocks as uninhabitable. Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artist Collective is working collaboratively to create an approach to public health issues affecting Missouri’s African American urban youth. The Collective brings the arts to the forefront through a unique form of “urban storytelling” that includes rhythm, rap and word to attract attention, build excitement, and communicate key concepts from public safety and health professionals to the public. 

Professional artists work alongside dedicated African American youth, ages 16–24 years old. Saint Louis Story Stitchers works in collaboration with the City of St. Louis Department of Health to identify key concepts that will help youth to stay healthy and avoid guns and gangs. The works will debut at the 41st St. Louis Storytelling Festival in 2020 and become a consistent part of the Story Stitchers’ live performance repertoire. 

The public is invited to share stories about their own neighborhoods.

Stories will be collected during the Pick the City UP Tour’s neighborhood stops including July 13th from 1:00-3:00 at Tillie’s Corner, 1345 N Garrison; August 3rd from 1:00-4:00 at the West Side Street Feast at 1514 Hodiamont; and on August 10th from 11:00-3:00 at Gregory J Carter Park in Walnut Park, 5800 Lillian Avenue.

Please call 314-899-9001 or email for more information.