Saint Louis Story Stitchers

Artists Collective

Mission: To document Saint Louis through art and word to promote understanding, civic pride, intergenerational relationships and literacy.

Goal: Collective artists work alongside twenty 16-24 year old African American youth living in urban economically disadvantaged areas to collect stories, reframe and retell them using the arts and storytelling to promote a better educated, more peaceful and caring society.

Saint Louis Story Stitchers current focus is aimed at addressing pressing public health issues including gun violence through contemporary storytelling. Projects create a platform for community engagement through an artistic lens and with it the Saint Louis Story Stitchers work to shift perceptions and realities and bring hope to the Saint Louis community.

We erase real and perceived divisions through cultural exploration and arts practice — by stitching together our city.

Saint Louis Story Stitchers runs The Center, a 4,550 sq ft studio space focused on creative youth development at Kranzberg Arts Foundation in the Grand Center Arts District. The Center is located at 3701 Grandel Sq, Studio 1A, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63108.  The Collective also performs and presents to the public in parks, community centers, schools and cultural institutions throughout the region.

Sustainability: Story Stitchers will become self-sustaining through earned income from performances and revenue from a library of original publications. Story Stitchers was awarded a $500,000 Accelerator grant from The Lewis Prize For Music in 2021 to help strengthen the organization and move us towards developing a youth center for arts and technology that will serve larger numbers of youth as a systems change agent.

Impact: The work captures a very important piece of African American history and archives it through printed word, performances, art and recordings while training the next generation to become actively engaged citizens. Programs bring positive messages on education, conflict resolution, and public health issues faced by American teenage youth and have the potential to be a force multiplier, rippling into families, schools and neighborhoods offering solutions to common urban problems. Story Stitchers is nearing a tipping point towards systems change for teens and young adults to have a safe center to learn skills, meet, create, and move safely into productive adulthood.

Through its unique program focused on excellence in the arts, youth leadership, and outreach through community service, Story Stitchers is building a program that also effectively represents evidence-based practices in youth violence prevention.

Story Stitchers activities build and strengthen youth leadership, peer-to-peer education, adult-youth mentoring, youth resiliency and pro-social behaviors such as civic responsibility.

For more information please visit our IMPACT page.

“The Story Stitchers are a fantastically talented collective of artists and youth in St. Louis working to document the communities they live in.”  — Lisa Overholser, Director, St. Louis Storytelling Festival

“Saint Louis Story Stitchers gather African American teenagers to talk about what’s really happening in their lives and turns that into art.”  — Cynthia Prost, Executive Director, Arts and Education Council

“The Stitchers are sending a powerful and raw message to our city that needs our unconditional support.”  — Poli Rijos-Saijta, MSW, LCSW, Institute for Public Health, Washington University in St. Louis

To learn more about planned activities please visit UPCOMING 

Saint Louis Story Stitchers
3701 Grandel Sq, 1A
St. Louis, MO 63108

Saint Louis Story Stitchers is a 501(c)(3) public charity.

Board of Directors

Susan Colangelo, President and Executive Director –

Breona Butler, Vice President – Tausha Dirks, Secretary – Maggie Wu, CPA, Treasurer – Members At Large – Keisa M. Johnson, Esq. –  Ben Kessler –  Amanda Shields – Cassandria White – John A Wright, Jr.


Saint Lous Story Stitchers 1:12:2021 Lewis Prize For Music Accelerator Award Press Release


New funding for Saint Louis Story Stitchers will support holistic music education programs

The Lewis Prize for Music in partnership with Accelerator Awardees, Hyde Square Task Force, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, Beyond the Bars, and Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective is proud to launch the 2023 video series “Accelerating Change: Creative Youth Development Across the United States” to shine a light on the vital work of Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations in their local communities. CYD represents longstanding practices of empowering young people as thriving leaders in communities across the country. 

Four award-winning organizations have created their own unique videos that showcase the experiences of young people in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Saint Louis. Through these films, we have a chance to hear directly from the young people themselves, as well as the supportive adults in their lives, about how music and community have transformed their lives. 

These newly released videos are a continuation of the Accelerating Change collection, which was first launched in 2021. Watch and witness firsthand the remarkable impact of Creative Youth Development in the Accelerating Change 2023 Video Series!

Access the video series here, and learn more:

Saint Louis Story Stitchers video from the Accelerating Change Series:

Read the article…

Read more…


St. Louis Story Stitchers, a nonprofit aimed at violence prevention, held events to reach out to students and boost morale. Many of its members and leaders are CVPA students or alumni, and while grieving over what happened there, they were hit with another tragedy after another CVPA alumnus and Story Stitchers member, Trevor Brantley, died in April.

The string of violence left many members confused and finding ways to cope, said CVPA graduate and Story Stitchers Youth Artistic Coordinator Branden Lewis.

“They weren’t just speculating how someone would feel,” Lewis said. “For a few of them, this was seemingly their first time genuinely taking actual raw emotion and transforming it into an art.”

Lewis said alumni turned to dance. He and others released music in the months following the shooting and Brantley’s death. Others used podcasting as a creative outlet. Stitchcast Studio, the organization’s inhouse podcast, hosted three episodes on how to heal from the shooting with activist and storyteller Cheeraz Gorman.

The podcast also helped Emeara Burns, a youth, recruitment and engagement specialist for Story Stitchers, talk through her feelings.

“I was like I don’t know how to feel about the school that I went through, going through that tragedy,” said Burns, who had Kuczka as a teacher. “So being able to just sit down, slow down, and actually have people to help me to walk through those thoughts and kind of get through those thoughts, I think was another form of art because sometimes, words are what we need to get us through what sometimes actions can’t.”

Burns said Bell and Kuczka will always be remembered. Years from now, she hopes people also remember the school for the students’ art.

“Mark my words, [CVPA] will not be known for what it is known for right now,” Burns said. “It will not be like that forever. Mark my words.”

Read the article…

StitchCast Studio Healing Through Art Part I

Stitchcast Studio Healing through Art Part II

Direct link to the article:

Direct link to the article:

Saint Louis Story Stitchers is a nationally recognized Artists Collective known for high quality art and innovative youth prevention programs.

They are committed to placing youth at the center of the work identifying topics for exploration as well as methods for engagement. Part of this engagement includes music. Tuesday morning, the group performed a new song in the Show Me studio. Take a look! Visit to learn more.

Story Stitchers Branden Lewis, Youth Artistic Coordinator, speaks about Story Stitchers’ creative youth development program opportunities at Mayor Tishaura Jones’ press conference on June 22, 2023 after a mass shooting involving teens. Watch the press conference below:

Saint Louis Story Stitchers is pleased to announce we have been recommended for a FY 2022 Grants for Arts Project in Media Arts award for $20,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts! We’re excited to bring it home to St. Louis, Missouri for the second year in a row!

The program receiving funding from the National Endowment for the Arts is StitchCast Studio LIVE!

This grant is made possible, in part, by matching funds provided by the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund 3-year grant, 2020-2022, and Kranzberg Arts Foundation, where Saint Louis Story Stitchers is a resident organization. The effort to submit this grant was made possible in part by support from Missouri Foundation for Health.

Read the blog post for more details…

Read the NEA press release 

Story Stitchers UPcoming public events

Saint Louis Story Stitchers will open The Center, a space for creative youth development, in December 2022. Branden Lewis and Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis join Steve Potter to discuss how this unique artists collective is making a difference in young lives.


Read the story…


 7:11 PM CDT October 29, 2022

Watch the story…

Arts & Education Council

Read the article…


Community News

September 14, 2022

Meet Susan Colangelo of East Delmar Loop, Grand Center

STL Voyager

Listen to the story and read the article here…

Read the article…

Read the article…

Your Health Matters | COVID-19

Story Stitchers use art to address COVID,

vaccine hesitancy

  •  Updated 

“Viruses are ganstas. They figure out what’s going on, they mutate and then they mutate again and again.”

It’s probably accurate to say that Dr. Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis, director of Health for the City of St. Louis, hasn’t made such analogies at the usual health forums. But this discussion on COVID and vaccinations was a bit different. It was hosted by a group of young people, ages 16 to 24, known as the St. Louis Story Stitchers.

Read the article…


St. Louis’ homicide numbers don’t lie

STL is on national stage

Lowering the rates of gun violence is going to take us doing exactly what we’ve seen city officials do as they’ve taken on this issue – collaborate with multiple systems to drive real change. Collectively, our work with organizations like Better Family LifeLife Outside of ViolenceSaint Louis Story Stitchers, and the St. Louis Area Violence Prevention Commission is an acknowledgment that we cannot use policing and public-safety strategies as the only tools to make our city safer. Our work to align, convene, and connect efforts in the region and invest in fundamental infrastructure is one way we’re helping St. Louis build a coalition around this issue.

Hand in hand with creating a broad collaboration of partners and experts, is community engagement on the ground. Both MFH and the city recognize that we must meet people and communities where they are and let them lead the way.

Read the article…

Watch the story…

Read the article…

Read the  article here…

Read the article here…

Celebrate 10 passionate and committed St. Louis area women for their outstanding volunteer service and leadership. St. Louis Women of Achievement 2021 Recognition Event (now in its 66th year) highlights each honoree’s extraordinary volunteer service and the impact of that service and leadership. The special was filmed at Jazz St. Louis and various Kranzberg Arts Foundation venues in the Grand Center Arts District.

Story Stitchers founding president and executive director, Susan Colangelo, is amongst the Class of 2021. Minute 11:48 on the link below.

St. Louis health department offers COVID-19 vaccines at dance battle

“We are still in the middle of a pandemic and every dose counts,” said St. Louis Health Department’s Acting Director, Dr. Frederick Echols

ST. LOUIS — On a Tuesday night, nearly two dozen young people, their friends and parents packed Strauss Park in midtown St. Louis.

The big event was a fun one for the 16- to 24-year-olds, but for the city’s health department it was a much more serious mission: get more people vaccinated against COVID-19 and the delta variant.

Watch the video story…


Press Release- Saint Louis Story Stitchers Peace in the Prairie

Read the article…

Watch the video HERE 

Story Stitchers leader Susan Colangelo to be honored.

Read the article…

2021 WOA – Announcement of Class of 2021 – FINAL

Read the magazine…


Read the article by Andrea Smith HERE…

Susan Colangelo, President and Executive Director of Saint Louis Story Stitchers, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the work they do.

Founded in 2013, Saint Louis Story Stitchers, is an artist collective where professional artists work alongside disadvantaged youth (ages 16 to 24) to make art about St. Louis.

Go to KDHX…

Read the article…


▪ The Divided City Podcast: Disorientation and Dislocation of Black Families — 10 a.m. Stream online. StitchCast Studio is a youth-led podcast series launched by Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective in 2019. Episodes are recorded and published on topics determined by youth of color from St. Louis: gun violence, racial divisions in St. Louis, public health and safety issues, compounding issues, and more. StitchCast Studio Special Edition: The Divided City will produce and publish four 1-hour unique podcast episodes featuring African American youth, ages 16 to 24 years old, that live in neighborhoods with high crime and poverty rates in St. Louis.

Go to The Belleville News-Democrat…

Read West NewsAnnouncement…

Listen to Jeremy Goodwin’s story HERE

View the story at Minute 5:13

Link to share the HEC video by Kerry Marks

WADE in the Media Room

Bruno David Gallery

7513 Forsyth Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63105

January 30, 2:00-8:00 PM

Exhibition open through March 13, 2021

Bruno David Gallery Press Release…/exhibition_pr_152.pdf

Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective at Bruno David Now Open

Read the announcement in the St. Louis Post Dispatch


Read the article by Kathy Deters in St. Louis Sprout & About

Read the article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch 

Read the story in Broadway World St. Louis here


Read the article on here 1 27 2021


Read The Community Word article by Paul Krainak here

by Andie Murphy

The Lewis Prize for Music has announced Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective as a finalist for the $500,000 Accelerator Award for youth music programs. Awardees will be announced on January 12, 2021.



Story Stitchers Artists Collective use podcast to find solutions

‘This is a show about gun violence’

  •  Updated 

Youth voices are often left out of important conversations about public safety and the public health crisis. But the Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective — a mix of professional artists and minority youth — having been busy creating podcasts this year to encourage social change with a focus on gun violence prevention.

Read more by Rebecca Rivas…

LUSH Corporation’s The Charity Pot

will feature Saint Louis Story Stitchers on the Charity Pot lids for a second printing. The lids will show in in stores and online July – September, 2020. Check it out!

With every purchase of Charity Pot, they donate 100% of the price (minus the taxes) to small grassroots organizations, including Saint Louis Story Stitchers, working in the areas of human rights, animal protection and environmental justice, and more.


Saint Louis Story Stitchers is featured on the LUSH website. Thank you for helping us amplify Black voices!

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60 children have been shot in the City of St. Louis since the start of 2020

Stitchers Youth Council leader Michaela talks with reporter via facetime about gun violence,Still from KSDK Story

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 7.57.48 AMHow The Lewis Prize for Music Is Helping Give Youths Access To Music Education

Nora Ali sits down with Dalouge Smith, CEO of the Lewis Prize for Music to discuss the philanthropic move to help 32 music youth organizations from around the country amid the pandemic.

Saint Louis Story Stitchers Press Release_The Lewis Prize COVID Response Fund Announcement

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SOS Awards 2020 Grants Press Release.5.20.20

St. Louis Magazine

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Artist Collective Stitching Stories, Empowering Youth

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 6.22.11 PMHow the St. Louis Story Stitchers are bringing peace with words

St. Louis Story Stitchers uplifts St. Louis with spoken word, music and art
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From St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees to business owners, artists and performers, there’s a lot to celebrate in the Delmar Loop during Black History Month.

Saint Louis On The Air

St. Louis Story Stitchers Advance Civic Pride Through Performance Art

  AUG 2, 2019



Saint Louis Story Stitchers is pleased to announce a chapter about the organization’s humble beginnings written by Susan Colangelo in the new book entitled Speak Peace: Words of Wisdom, Work, and Wonder by Ms. Lynette Ford and Sherry Norfolk.

The authors and contributors—educators, storytellers, and peacemakers—discuss what each of us can do to promote a more peaceful community, country, and world.

The book is available on Amazon

or directly from Story Stitchers at the Storefront Studio for $15.

Parkhurst Brothers Publishers, 2019

Read the Stitchers blog announcement

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St. Louis Post Dispatch

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STL TV live interview for Juneteenth Celebration on the Delmar Loop East
Saturday, June 15, 2019

STL Nonprofit News: Six of One with Story Stichers’ Merlin Bell and Susan Colangelo

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RAF-STL / Radio Arts Foundation ~ Saint Louis

107.3 FM / 96.3 – HD2

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Kathy Lawton Brown hears stories about Peace in the Prairie with Story Stitchers Artist in Residence Troy Anthony and Merlin Bell, Story Stitchers Director.



January 30, 2019

Lauren Smith

Five Storytelling Open Mics in St. Louis


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Kranzberg Arts Foundation

SOUL of the CITY


Pages 44-45

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Stitchers at 99.5 FM


Storyteller Issue #1
Pages 22-29
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Click on their pics to hear their voices. Emeara, AnnaLise, Anthony, Cali, Tylea, Chris are near the Black Lives Matter sign.


Saint Louis Story Stitchers Press Release 6.1.2018

HEC Story Stitchers – Stitching Together a More Cohesive Community

2019 Mid-America Emmy Award Winner by producer Julie Winkle!

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KSDK’s 5 On Your Side by Brittney Verner 

March 31, 2018.  North city youth aims to end gun violence through creative art

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Tim Ezell and Virginia Kerr’s The Thread! Fox 2

March 17, 2018 episode.

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St. Louis Public Radio by Nancy Fowler 

Young St. Louisans affected by gun violence present their art at The Sheldon

6640f7_f2dc144f0c614807b25ea2cbbcf01562_mv292.9FM Communities Forward Host: Terrell Carter interview in two 30 minutes podcasts:


and TWO

Transforming the Trauma of Poverty

Marketing Gun Violence Prevention

Not Another One! A Discussion on Gun Violence

Not Another One! An Urgent Call to Action on Gun Violence

Art, Guns, & Rebooting the Conversation

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