St. Louis arts groups offer variety of residency programs


Image courtesy of Craft Alliance

Nancy Kranzberg, Special To The Jewish Light

I have been talking to many people in the arts about their specific programs and quite a few bring up their artist-in-residency programs.

Grant Benoit, director of education at Craft Alliance, talked about the special residency program at his arts institution.

“Craft Alliance invites two artists engaging with craft to participate in an 11-month program that begins in September 2023 and ends in July 2024,” he said. Among the benefits the program includes are:

• A 350-square-foot private studio and access to Craft Alliance’s six main studio area outside of classes

• A monthly materials stipend and professional development reimbursement fund

• Tuition waivers for workshops per session

• Teaching and other professional development opportunities

• A two-person exhibition in Craft Alliance Staenberg Gallery with a catalogue.

Larry Morris, director of the Kranzberg Artist in Residency explained that over the last few years, this program has morphed from a music-focused residency to a multi-disciplinary arts residency currently supporting top-notch artists from all walks of life. 

“Based in the Grand Center Arts District with access to amenities within the foundation footprint, our artists in residency can utilize resources started within our pillars to complete a final project, create endlessly during their tenure at no infrastructural costs and they have access to the greater St. Louis arts community,” he added.

There are 15 artist residencies at Kranzberg including visual artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers. One of these bright, young artists, Felia Davenport, recently displayed her mixed media exhibition “Torn Mixology,” which explored the journey of identifying as a multi-racial female, at the Gallery at the Kranzberg. 

B.J. Parker’s “In Search (Re)Building Myth” is a body of oil paintings, drawings and sculptures that explores the search for meaning in a fractured existential landscape and is now showing at the Kranzberg. 

For her residency, writer Lizzy Petersen has collaboration with the St. Louis Poetry Center and the magazine, Outside Lit, as well as fellow artist in residence Prince Lyons’ film, “We’re All Pretty Broken.”

Besides the creative advisor role of Keyon Harrold at Jazz St. Louis, the organization has week-long residencies in which professional jazz artists and educators are brought to St. Louis. During the residency weeks the artists travel together throughout the metro area conducting master classes with middle and high school musicians, performing for large groups of elementary students and presenting concerts in the community. All residency weeks culminate with two nights of performances by the residency artists, with free tickets provided to students and teachers who participated in the program.

The World Chess Hall of Fame has had an artist-in-residency program since 2022. St. Louis’s own incomparable Brian Owens was a perfect fit for this role and became the first director. 

Owens says he hopes to cement a more in-depth series of concerts at the chess venue, which have been going on since 2014. His musical programming tries to interweave with the exhibitions at the museum. 

Owens sees himself more as the “Creative in Residence” as he hopes to open up more possibilities beyond scheduling concerts and creating scores or soundtracks to the exhibitions. Owens dreams that the chess campus will be a place for emerging talent, whether they are chess players or not, to be inspired by the programming there as well as provide a place or destination for young creatives to come together and ideate in a way similar to the Harlem Renaissance.

 Once again, St. Louis is showing it is willing to keep ramping up its educational and creative programs in all the arts.