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COCA Celebrates Expansion With ART LEADS THE WAY: A COCA Grand Opening Film

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The October 11 virtual film  premiere will feature COCA students, alumni, teaching artists and community members. 

COCA will celebrate its Grand Opening Season on Sunday, October 11, with an immersive and joyful film experience: Art Leads the Way: A Grand Opening Film. Created by COCA's Artistic Team and filmmaker Marco Williams with Human Picture Productions, Art Leads the Way: A Grand Opening Film honors COCA's enduring commitment to serve as an inclusive creative hub for St. Louisans. It also serves as an expression of gratitude and a moment of celebration for the successful completion of the Create our Future Campaign.

The film highlights COCA's expanded Ferring East Wing-an accessible, state-of-the-art, 52,000 square foot addition-with immersive dance and theatrical performances from COCA alumni, students, and teaching artists.

It marks both a unique moment of adaptation, and a shift into a New Medium for the organization. When COCA's original plans for a large, in-person Grand Opening Celebration were no longer viable due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Artistic Team pivoted, creating a brand-new virtual event. Through performances, poignant interviews, testimonies, and crystal-clear cinematography, viewers will experience the architectural splendor of the new building and celebrate a new creative movement fueled by community. Additionally, the film event will recognize key leaders for their contributions with the following awards, presented by Centene:

The Ferring Award for Philanthropy: Kim Kuehner

The Newell S. "Jim" Knight Volunteer Service Award: Linda & Jesse Hunter

And special recognition of Create Our Future Campaign Chair: Cheryl Holman

"While we wish we could express our gratitude in-person to our community and the generous supporters who contributed to the Create our Future effort, we are thrilled for this opportunity to provide our audience with an inspiring and lasting work of art that will launch us into the next phase of COCA," says Kelly Pollock, COCA's Executive Director.

The film will premiere free of charge on a new COCA microsite, via RSVP. A home for all Grand Opening Season information and events, will also serve as a digital hub to share and elevate voices and perspectives in the arts and in our community at large.

COCA's Grand Opening Season includes Common Ground: A participatory, site-specific art installation by artist AKIRASH on view beginning September 28, virtual and in-person building tours, an artist speaker series, and the upcoming COCA Presents performance season, to be announced in the Art Leads the Way: A Grand Opening Film pre-show.

The virtual film event is co-chaired by Shereen and Michael Fisher, Jesse and Linda Hunter, Kim Kuehner, Marsha and Al Mitchell

For more information on COCA's Grand Opening Season and for opportunities to get involved with the Art Leads the Way movement, please visit

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