Arts and Education Council Announces 2014 St. Louis Arts Awards Entertainment

Lee Nolting, artistic director of COCAdance, has mentored dozens of promising young students during her 35 years at COCA, with many going on to earn top spots at world-renowned dance companies. Among her former students is Antonio Douthit-Boyd, 32, a principal dancer with the acclaimed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which has performed for more than 23 million people worldwide. When Nolting receives an Excellence in the Arts award at the 2014 St. Louis Arts Awards on January 20, Douthit-Boyd will perform in a swirling ballet duet in tribute to her. His dance partner will be Alicia Graf Mack, a nationally recognized dance professional and Alvin Ailey principal dancer who at one time taught alongside Nolting at COCA.

In addition to the dancers, the entertainment line-up for the St. Louis Arts Awards includes a spirited opening performance by the 120-voice IN UNISON Chorus in tribute to the St. Louis Symphony. With a nod to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, IN UNISON will sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," arranged by Roland Carter. Kevin McBeth will direct, with Henry Palkes on the piano.

In tribute to Thelma and David Steward, who will be honored for Excellence in Philanthropy, The Peter Martin Trio and jazz vocalist Denise Thimes will perform a few of the Stewards' favorite jazz selections. Martin is a renowned jazz pianist, composer, arranger and educator who received an Excellence in the Arts Award at the 2012 St. Louis Arts Awards. Thimes, who is St. Louis-based along with Martin, is widely known as an outstanding jazz vocalist.

Presented by the Arts and Education Council since 1992, the St. Louis Arts Awards is the preeminent award ceremony honoring individuals who achieve a legacy of artistic excellence, and organizations and businesses that enrich St. Louis' arts and cultural community. In addition to Nolting, the St. Louis Symphony and the Stewards, the honorees include Carol North and Nicholas Kryah, Metro Theater Company, Lifetime Achievement in the Arts; Edward Jones Partners and Associates, Corporate Champions of the Arts; the E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Education Collaborative, Arts Collaboration Award; and Heidi Morgan, University City High School, Art Educator of the Year. The event is chaired by Lynne and Jim Turley. Emerson is the presenting sponsor.

The 2014 St. Louis Arts Awards will take place beginning at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, at the Chase Park Plaza. Proceeds from the event benefit the Arts and Education Council's annual campaign, which funds nearly 70 arts and arts education organizations throughout the 16-county, bi-state region. For ticket information, please contact Marcia Quint at 314.289.4010 or visit

Established in 1963, the Arts and Education Council (A&E) is the St. Louis region's United Arts Fund providing financial, technical and educational support for arts organizations. Since its inception, A&E 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 16-county, bi-state

St Louis metropolitan region. With funds raised, A&E has provided more than 2,800 grants and annually assists approximately 70 nonprofit arts and arts education organizations. Additionally, A&E provides office, rehearsal and performance space for 17 arts nonprofit organizations in the Centene Center for Arts and Education, a unique arts incubator located in the Grand Center Arts District. For more information, visit or call 314.289.4000.

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