From the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Art Saint Louis remains one of the most vital outlets for art exhibition in the St. Louis region. In the last fiscal year alone, over 1,500 artworks were submitted by over 400 St. Louis regional artists for exhibitions in our gallery. Of these 1,500+ submissions, 302 artworks, representing the top 19.9%, were selected for inclusion. Through this and off-site programming, Art Saint Louis directly disbursed over $35,000 to local artists in support of their work.

We continue to maintain what may be the most extensive viewing hours of any art gallery in St. Louis, welcoming over 25,000 visitors every year. City and county residents, visitors to downtown, students, teachers, families, civic leaders from nearby City Hall, tourists, conventioneers, indigent and homeless persons, internationals, all socio-economic levels and ages, young children through senior citizens; we routinely welcome them all to our space and share with them the best visual art our region is producing, along with comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi and our in-house hospitality service, Catalyst Coffee Bar.

Art Saint Louis continues to serve the community outside of our gallery as well. The extensive exhibition program we manage at Des Peres Hospital is now in its fourth consecutive year, having showcased over 800 original works by St. Louis regional artists and reached more than 75,000 viewers. It remains one of the region's largest rotating exhibitions of local art.

Elsewhere, our partnership with pavement artists Chalk Riot continues to transform the environs of St. Louis in arresting ways. Recent success includes a grant from the PNC Foundation in cooperation with Chalk Riot and San Francisco-based Heavy Projects to create an augmented reality-enabled pavement art experience around the Gateway Arch in 2018. We can hardly wait to share this project with tens of thousands of visitors to the Arch next year!

Endemic to any thriving community, any region where opportunities abound and talented people to come work and live, is high quality, accessible, local arts programming. Make no mistake about it: this is exactly what Art Saint Louis provides for St. Louis, every day.

Every Art Saint Louis exhibition offers the viewing public a rich spectrum of artistic expression and technical approach as artists from across the region vie for inclusion. Every exhibition theme is carefully designed to dually engage artists as much as the viewers their work reaches. Probing, universally relatable concepts like Good and Evil and Personal Space infuse every Art Saint Louis show with intellectual weight and cohesion while modeling a public discourse that celebrates diversity. And it is all offered with the highest presentation standards, free of charge, year round.

I can only hope it is as clear to you as it is to me that this kind of cultural activity is furthering our city's forward momentum, and that its social and economic value is significant. Because there is no better time than now to get behind it and support it.

Your friends at Art Saint Louis are working harder than ever to preserve and advance the organization's mission, especially in the wake of significant funding reductions from state agencies this fiscal year. Yes, it has been an exciting year with much success to celebrate, but exceptionally challenging nonetheless. While conversation on arts funding continues locally and nationally, and we remain hopeful, allow me to suggest that the verdict is already in: we cannot take the work of organizations like Art Saint Louis for granted.

You have the power to step up as an individual, take action and make a difference, to keep the mission of Art Saint Louis moving forward. Whether by making a financial contribution, by volunteering your time or professional expertise, or simply by spreading the word, the opportunity is before you to lead the way and achieve something special for St. Louis. With warm respect, I invite you to make the most of this moment.

Here's to the vitality of Art Saint Louis─of our region itself─for years to come.

With gratitude,

Chandler Branch
Executive Director