Arts And Education Council Launches Catalyst Conversations

The Arts and Education Council (A&E) is launching a new program this fall for St. Louisans interested in experiencing the arts through a different lens while connecting with others. Catalyst Conversations is a series of casual discussions - some playful, some serious, but all engaging and thought-provoking - in A&E's Catalyst Innovation Lab, a "living room for the arts" on the ground floor of the Centene Center for the Arts.

Each conversation features people who are using their talents and unique experiences to inspire, connect and shape new perspectives. Food, drink and networking is part of each discussion.

"At A&E, we believe in the power of the arts to connect people and inspire them to think more creatively, ultimately shaping a more vibrant community. Through Catalyst Conversations, we are inviting artists, arts patrons and anyone curious about arts and culture to sit down together to learn about different cultures and perspectives," said Cynthia A. Prost, A&E president and CEO.

2018-19 conversations include:

  • Oct. 23 - Exploring the Paranormal with Betsy Belanger, Lemp Mansion paranormal investigator, talking about her life in the paranormal and the spirits trapped in A&E's historic building, the Centene Center for the Arts.
  • Nov. 13 - An Artist Discussion with Hana Sharif, the next artistic director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, led by Chuck Harper, department chair of theatre and dance at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and co-founder of YoungLiars.
  • Dec. 4 - Cupcakes and Cocktails with Stefani Pollack of Cupcake Project.
  • Feb. 13 - Improvised Love Songs with local composer Adam Maness and poet Jason Vasser-Elong.

Additional details and upcoming conversations will continue to be added. The program is free and open to the public, but registration is strongly encouraged. For the most updated information and to register, visit

The Arts and Education Council (A&E) builds appreciation, participation and support for the arts and arts education throughout the St. Louis community, shaping a more vibrant arts community for all. A&E spreads the ripple effect of the arts across the 16-county, bi-state region by supporting nearly 100 arts organizations through multi-faceted programs, including: Operating and Project Grants; Arts Education Grants for Teachers; Arts Incubation at the Centene Center for the Arts; a Catalyst Innovation Lab; the Katherine Dunham Fellowship; Catalyst Conversations; the Muse Society; a stARTup Competition for Arts Entrepreneurs; stARTup-StL Crowdfunding Platform; Arts Leadership Management Academy (ALMA); Executive Directors Roundtable; Arts Marketers Professional Development; the Annual St. Louis Arts Awards; and Young Friends of the Arts.

Since its inception in 1963 as the region's only privately-supported united arts fund, the Arts and Education Council has raised and distributed more than $100 million in private funding for the arts - a significant contribution that directly impacts the quality of life in our region. A&E meets all 20 Better Business Bureau Charity Standards and has earned the Wise Giving Seal of Approval, a three-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Guidestar Exchange Silver Participant rating.

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