Save the Date for Rustbelt to Artist Belt : At the Crossroads in St. Louis!

The Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute of the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission (RAC) and the Community Partnership for Arts & Culture (CPAC), present Rustbelt to Artist Belt : At the Crossroads.

This conference unites a cross-section of artists, community activists, educators, academics, policy-makers, and creatives in a platform for critical dialogue about arts and community development. This convening places a special emphasis on the role of artists and their community partners in creating positive social change.

Presentations of new scholarship, workshops, and discussions will allow people in diverse social practices to connect and engage in a forum that inspires new ideas and community collaboration.

Mark your calendars today for April 12 through 14 in St. Louis. This event will take place in the Chase Hotel and Conference Center. Click Here to go to the hotel’s web site. Convening web site and registration information to follow.

For more information, contact Roseann Weiss at or 314/863-5811.

Rustbelt to Artist Belt : At the Crossroads is sponsored by RAC and CPAC with support by the Ford Foundation and Leveraging Investments in Creativity and is funded, in part, by the Kresge Foundation and the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission.

Written by christian

Keep on Collaborating…

:::::::::::: One of the most powerful aspects of Crossroads is appreciating all the wonderful work we do in St. Louis on a daily basis.

Here’s my personal favorites:

David A.N. Jackson- a multitalented musician, poet and performer. soundscapist. E-mail David A.N. Jackson

Cowry Collective- I look forward to being involved in the group’s mission to create a stronger community of people of African descent in the greater St. Louis area. E-mail Cowry Collective

Playback Theater & The Joint Task Force- what a beautiful strong image etched in my mind at the Thursday opening reception. Go Jackie Go! You can catch them next at Washington University.

Diversity Awareness Partnership is preparing for their Summer Arts Retreat. I am so excited to be involved in such a thoughtful initiative! (I was definitely inspired by our NOLA guests at the crossroads. )

PPRC Photography Exhibition will be happening just around the corner at both Urban Eats and UMSL. for more info!

& many, many, more contributions, movements and happenings throughout the area. I’m excited to see what the convening will birth… and will patiently await the *hopeful* next….

Just a note of what I do:

I am a mother, artist, curator, organizer. I am on the National and local board of the Women’s Caucus of Art. I lead crazy art sessions out of my studio on Sundays to youth, adults and special interest groups. It’s at the corner of 19th and Madison on the northside of town. I part time it at the Scholarshop & always willing to lend a helping hand.

I am a founding member of Yeyo Arts Collective & GYA arts shop, a small group of black women who believe in empowerment through arts and craft… in a self-sustainable cooperative kinda way. We will be having the grand opening to our space May 1st at our new location  2700 Locust! (Our beginnings here will be forever linked in my mind to the Crossroads as its birthplace=)

Please check me out:

I am a very proud member of the following groups:

… It has been a pleasure growing with all of you over this past great weekend.

Written by Dail

A Booming Presence Amongst the Crowd

It was good to see Milton amongst us this weekend. He is a wonderful artist that is definitely worth meeting if you don’t already know him. catch him on facebook or read his bio.

I look forward to his work bringing a great energy to my home. He is a phenomenal drawer and his use ofcontrast is butter to my eyes.

More about Milton Holmes written by him:

My name is Milton Holmes, Jr. (Hussein). I am 62 years of age.  I am the father of four (three sons, one daughter), and the grandfather of nine (six girls, three boys).  I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO., where I attended public school through high school (Soldan alumnus).  I studied fine art at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH., graphic art at Forest Park Community College, St. Louis, MO., and fine art at the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Mo., where I had a split major (painting/printmaking).

To their dismay (they wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer), I professed a love of drawing and my intention of becoming an artist to my parents at age five.  I have worked at achieving that goal since that time.  It has been difficult.  Through bad judgement, bad timing and bad luck, I’ve had only three jobs as a full-time artist, none of which lasted more than a couple of months.

Yet, the desire to create quality art has burned within me throughout my life and continues to burn, as brightly and fiercely as ever.

I am proficient with oils, acrylics, water colors, pastels, charcoal and graphite.  But my favorite medium is pen and ink, and for the last fifteen years or so, I’ve concentrated almost exclusively on that work.

As an artist, I see myself as a storyteller, relating the stories of people, places, and moments in time that are the subjects of my work.  Although I don’t relegate my work to any one subject, culture or ethnic group, the great bulk of my work has told the stories of African-Americans.  I am African-

American and I believe strongly that for centuries, we have made positive contributions to the world in the fields of math, science, “the arts” (painting,sculpture, literature, music, dance, drama, photography et al), and sports, much of which has been overlooked or ignored.  It is important to me that we tell as many of our stories as is possible.

visit him at:

We Are Not Saved

Pen & Ink Drawing

*The featured drawing is titled We Are Not Saved.

Written by Dail

Theaster Gates Interview

Written by Dail

International Connections

Yesterday I sat in on the presentation about the Community Art DEvelopment Initiative (CADI) and the work they are doing with N-Jection and the work they are doing with the Agoro community.

It was great to see music made positive. The lyrics of the youth’s song was positive and upbeat. It is not that often that you find CD’s for youth by youth. The messages were great for my seven year old.
Yet, I did have a few questions:

Does the youth in Agorro have access to the positive message of N-Jection?

What are ways to build an exchange relationship with the St. Louis community and Agorro to actively assist CADI’s efforts?

How could St. Louis community learn more about the cultural wealth of Agorro?

I enjoyed the fact that the presenter always came back to a very importatn part of the community engaging process. Listening to all within the group and constantly reassessing the goals of the organization and program. I found this aspect to be a friendly reminder to the work that goes on around me. If we have a close connection with those around us we will be better prepared to adjust our organization/artists plans around that of the people. We have to remember that the organization is not the work, it is frame.

Written by Dail


Friday was a jam packed day. With so much inspiration, I am ready for a studio day.

I began my day with CAT institute as a model for cross sector training. Afterwards was the Handmade community action classs that I typed about yesterday…

& I was able to catch the tail end of another wonderful workshop. Photography’s Role in Representation. The photographs the participants created were wonderful and added personality to the convening’s space and RAC walls.

Here are a couple. Enjoy!

Written by Dail

A few photos at the Crossroads

People’s Art Studio Movement!

I attended this workshop assuming that I would be detached enough to float to more than one presentation during a concurrent session, as there are so many exciting topics that are well worth being touched … I was definitely mistaken. Once I entered the presentation, I could not leave.

As a practicing studio artist/ activist/ employee of a non profit, it is a struggle to streamline all of my efforts into one simplified mission. One of the greatest benefits of the workshop are the examples of community based movements that the presenter Janis gave. Yet, nothing compares to the hands on experience that we participated in. This workshop effectively reminded me to keep it simple!

As we created our own upcycled armbands made of found buttons, repurposed t-shirts and stitchings, we learned the historical & contemporary stories of other cities and spaces that are already forming or have formed people’s studios. Quickly, she deconstructed ideas of how local and global socio-political issues relate directly with the people of our lives and ourselves.

What was most exciting was the fact that while we are searching for grant funding and donations, many of our resources are right before us. By using goods that are on their way out of our communities, how can we rejuvenute their potential? Resale is the perfect place to start, as most artists know… Janis Timm Botto’s facilitated a wonderful presentation on how we can get started, the many women, children and communities that practice and work in people’s art studio and the historical contexts that will help us navigate our endeavors. I truly enjoyed it!

-Dail C.

Written by Dail

As a Director of Programming

I serve as the Community Outreach Manager at Craft Alliance in St. Louis, MO.

The on-going engagement with our St. Louis communities has broadened my understanding of the arts and their social applications, while sharpening the focus of my own personal studio practice – the overlap has been invaluable.

Craft Alliance has consistently defined itself as an environment for artists, collectors, students, and the art-viewing public to begin new conversations.  The mixing of ideas, perspectives, and skills allows us as individuals to connect ourselves to a larger context outside of our own subculture; to become a community.

As a director of programming, I believe it is vital to create space and opportunity for the varied St. Louis communities to come together.  Our programming is built to stimulate the creative potential of our students.  They come from all over the city, from different schools, from different neighborhoods; their family lives are all very different.  The nature of our programs engages our students, together in the culture of craft.

Our Community Outreach programming has been illustrative of the fact that a student doesn’t just do something else; he or she becomes something else.  As an organization we have witnessed what our students become through their studio work.  Our students are applying their experiences at Craft Alliance to a larger context.  Even if they don’t pursue careers in art, they have developed something new that is central to who they are as people, and that is going to lead to a more enriching and successful life.

Robert Longyear

Studio Artist

Craft Alliance Community Outreach Manager

CAT Fellow 2003

St. Louis

Written by Robert

Studio Practice and Context

I have found that I am not solely a studio artist. I know how to work in a studio and I’ve got lots of conventional studio skills, but it really doesn’t engage me week in week out. I realize that what I am really interested in is the tourism outside my front door.

My research is about working with entropy. I’m drawn to buildings as metaphor for system breakdowns – and as opportunities to learn more about how humans interface with the world through architecture. I use neglected structures as my raw material. In this way, I am able to reveal their hidden construction, provide new ways of perceiving space, and create metaphors for the human condition.

St. Louis is truly in a state of entropy. My work helps me to address critically the fate of our neighborhoods, which are presently filled with unoccupied structures, abandoned warehouses, idle factories, and empty lots. My experiences have been open-ended, complex, and suggest that fate is malleable. Through allocations of time and circumstance I become another layer on top of the dynamics at play in the places I work, taking advantage of a great opportunity to talk. My engagements are on-going and constantly in flux, much like the built environment itself.

In architecture, you focus on the box; this box can be understood as a social weapon – are we protected, have we become isolated? We have preconceived ideas about a structure protecting us, and when choruses of unoccupied structures no longer protect us, it raises all sorts of issues that we don’t normally associate with a neighborhood.

We all leave a layer of skin on our buildings, and as an artist I am sharing skin with the idiosyncrasies of those who have built, painted walls, and hammered nails. In my current work I intend to represent and reinterpret this relationship. I hope to offer audiences new ways to think about architecture while inciting questions concerning the social, political, and geographical circumstances that give architecture its meaning.

Brick by brick, that’s just the way the game go…

Robert Longyear

Studio Artist

Craft Alliance Community Outreach Manager

CAT Fellow 2003

St. Louis

Written by Robert

Introducing Myself

It is such a pleasure to have been asked to blog for At The Crossroads…

So-s here we go…

Thought I would introduce myself…


Robert Longyear is an artist whose practice alters the integrity of built structures as a way to compromise and transform. He’s drawn to buildings as metaphor for system breakdowns – and as opportunities to learn more about how humans interface with the world through architecture. Longyear received his MFA from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and his BFA from the University of Kansas. He is the Community Outreach Manager and Metals Studio Chair at Craft Alliance in St. Louis, MO. Longyear completed his CAT study in 2003.

Robert Longyear

Studio Artist

Craft Alliance Community Outreach Manager

CAT Fellow 2003

St. Louis

Written by Robert

Sharing our Experiences

“Art has to do with being, existing, survival, and life.” -Calvin Brunett*

We must remind ourselves of the above statement when working within our immediate environment and in wider capacities. Many of us search for an end product to achieve and sell. Yet, we forget the simple tasks of life can be eloquently colored experiences and happenings. This truth can not be hanged on a pristine wall or wooden stand. Nor can it be sold.

We must consistently share in the arts and be dedicated to longterm experiences. I will be telling all I can about my experience at the convening & what I’ll learn in hopes that more lives are creatively inspired. We should share what we learn in this upcoming week; whether it be person to person or at large. Use this experience to educate and motivate each other, in the arts.

Lately, I keep running into the same question from my colleagues, hopeful collaborators, and friends: “How can I survive, creating my/our vision?”  This quest shouldn’t be a lonely, singular action. We are on a boat together.

Gas bills. 20 meetings. Student Loans…. life. Existing is an art. It is an art to be honored. We must push for more collaborative efforts in the St. Louis area, and across all spectrums of everyday life. That is how the arts survive. We can not survive on temporal short term experiences, nor can our communities.

I am looking forward to the Joint Task Force.

*Calvin Brunett is an artist & educator from Massachusetts. I first became aquainted with his work when reading Black Artists on Art, a small art book  I recieved while living in Memphis…. but that’s a different story for a different day….

…back to the convening. What is everyone reading? I am revisiting Bill Cleveland’s Making Exact Change and Damballah by John Edgar Wideman.


Written by Dail

the Convening Approaches…

As I patiently wait for the Convening to take place I can not help but look back over a very intense month! One would assume that after CAT graduation, CAT is over, done, complete, that’s a wrap. But no, graduation has been the beginning of more work, more responsibility and more dedication. Literally, in my case. CAT Alum Alderman Shane Cohen presented a resolution to me this past Friday at the City of St. Louis Board of Alderman meeting! It is refreshing to be recognized by our peers and community, and the experience of CAT Class “Lucky Thirteen” is something we will always share! “Meee-0ow” to all my Lucky 13’ers serving the community in so many innovative, dynamic ways! I can not wait for our reunion at our first Convening!

Written by Dail

Be a part of the conversation about art and social change

Check the Resources section for notes, photos and video documentation from At the Crossroads!


The Community Arts Training Institute (CAT) and the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) hosted the inaugural “At the Crossroads: A Community Arts & Development Convening” from March 25 – 27, 2010 in St. Louis.

Over 150 practitioners and their partners in arts based community development programs and collaborations convened for hands-on workshops, panels, presentations and provocative thinking.

At the Crossroads was funded by a grant from The Nathan Cummings Foundation and with support from the Whitaker Foundation, National City-Now part of PNC, and Incarnate Word Foundation.

Featured presenters included Bill Cleveland, founder and director of the Center for the Study of Art and Community in Seattle and author of Art & Upheaval: Artists on the World’s Frontlines and Arlene Goldbard, social activist from the San Francisco area and author of New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development.

We participated in three days of lively exchanges in an energetic learning environment where arts and community practitioners connected, collaborated and conversed.

The Convening was kicked off an Thursday, March 25, 2010 with a special pre-conference workshop from noon to 5 pm: “What Difference Are We Making? Assessing Social Impact of Arts for Community Change” with Marty Pottenger of the Arts in Equity Initiative in Portland, ME and Barbara Schaffer-Bacon and Pam Korza, the co-directors of Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts.

See the Schedule to the right for entire Convening schedule of events. Please go to the Resources section for the full program, all the notes, photos, essays and video documentation.

For more information, go to the Contact section or contact the Convening coordinator Roseann Weiss, Director of the Community Arts Training Institute,

Written by Roseann Weiss