Saint Louis Story Stitchers is partnering with the Wellston Loop Community Development Corporation on a youth-driven collaborative project that uses the creation of a bus stop shelter and fence mural to drive public engagement and honest discourse on issues including gun violence, race, trauma, gangs, food insecurity, addiction, etc. Stitchers Youth leaders create programming for one of St. Louis’s challenged African American districts to foster a safe and supportive neighborhood.
In 2020, Story Stitchers and Stitchers Youth Council accepted the invitation to aid the Wellston Loop neighborhood in working with residents to create an ADA compliant bus shelter with a bench for residents, which also incorporates a rainwater collection system for nearby vegetable gardens and a hygiene cupboard for sharing free soap and cleaning products and a community bulletin board.
A team is being built led by of members of the Stitchers Youth Council and Story Stitchers adults, Wellston Loop Community Development Corporation, partnering organizations including Metro St. Louis, Alberici Constructors Inc, Wells Goodfellow Neighborhood Improvement Association, Cure Violence, professionals, and neighbors.
Somewhere Studio, LLC, whose principals Jessica Colangelo and Charles Sharpless, have supported Story Stitchers through design work in the past, came onboard to do a design for this project. Somewhere Studio, LLC has created winning related projects such as Salvage Swings which won the City of Dreams Pavilion competition, and was built in 2019 on Roosevelt Island, New York and Shelter Shift, a series of three colorful bus shelters commissioned by the Athens Cultural Affairs and built in 2019 for the City of Athens Georgia, and Little Pantry, a project for Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the designers currently live.
After listening carefully to the neighborhood representatives, they presented a design to the team. It was a hit!
In addition to the shelter, the team is working to create a new mural on the fence behind the shelter. Story Stitchers Youth Council and the Wellston Loop CDC are working to create a new mural on the fence behind the shelter. Story Stitchers is pleased that St. Louis-based artist Katherine Bernhardt has come on board to work with Stitchers Youth Council on the mural project.
Planning with the Wellston Loop Community Development Corporation and Stitchers Youth Council began in March 2020 and continues with community members, leadership from Story Stitchers and the neighborhood, and Somewhere Studio, LLC a design team who has developed the shelter design pro bono, Metro St. Louis, and Alberici Constructors Inc.
Timeline: March-October, 2020
- 4 Community organization and Youth Council planning meetings
- 2 days, building with contractors
- 2 days painting fence
- Publish a podcast about the project on StitchCast Studio
- 1 Community Celebration
Background: The Wellston Loop neighborhood is in Ward 22 of St. Louis City, a busy and economically challenged district serving 11,900 (2010 Census) predominantly African American residents that suffers high rates of poverty and crime, including gun violence. According to the 2010 Census, 35% of the population are children under age 18.
Story Stitchers have been working with the Wellston Loop neighborhood since 2017 including joint planning meetings, Youth Council outreach into the nearby elementary school, painting a mural celebrating fresh produce, and the West Side Street Feast which was started in 2018 by the Wellston Loop Community Development Corporation and Story Stitchers. Programs focuses on youth and the families supporting them by offering resources through partners such as free food and school supplies and providing information through vendor tables to connect the families to resources.
Wellston Loop Community Development Corporation worked with youth leaders to invite community leaders and city officials to speak from the Community Stage in 2019, a Story Stitchers program funded in part by Missouri Foundation for Health, Steward Family Foundation, Regional Arts Commission, LUSH corporation’s The Charity Pot, Incarnate Word Foundation. St. Louis Police come and give away ice cream and St. Louis Fire Department sprays a hose to cool down the kids and Story Stitchers perform. Wellston Loop is also working towards creating a Farmer’s Market on the empty lot, for which the bus stop is named.
Join the Team!
The team is seeking partners and sponsors for the Shelter Project.
All donations are welcome and very much appreciated.
Sponsors of $1,000 and up will be recognized with their name stenciled on wood in the interior of the shelter. Donations may be made to either Saint Louis Story Stitchers, a 501(c)(3)charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. If you are donating to Saint Louis Story Stitchers for this specific project, please make a note as you process your gift.
The Shelter Project is sponsored in part by Wellston Loop Community Development Corporation, Somewhere Studio, LLC, Wells Goodfellow Neighborhood Improvement Association, Katherine Bernhardt, Metro St. Louis, Alberici Constructors, Inc., Ryan Goser of Goser Structural Engineering, LLC, LJ Punch, MD and “The T”, and the mural project is supported by Saint Louis Story Stitchers through grants from Youthbridge Community Foundation Nonprofit Recovery and Resilience Fund, Missouri Foundation for Health, Incarnate Word Foundation, Regional Arts Commission, and Arts and Education Council PNC grant for Story Stitchers’ annual Pick the City UP program.
To learn more, please contact Susan Colangelo with the form below.