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Paintings? Public Art? Performances? Regional Arts Commission wants your input

An artist or advocate stands before a wall of sticky notes at RAC in 2014 artists and advocates gathered at RAC to discuss the roll of the artist in social justice movements following the shooting death of Michael Brown Jr.
File Photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio
Artists and arts advocates gather at RAC to discuss the roll of the artist in social justice movements following the shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in 2014.

People in the St. Louis region will soon have a chance to let arts advocates and funders know how to better connect with the public.

Last week, the Regional Arts Commission, or RAC, launched an initiative to bridge the gap between area residents and the arts community. 

“It’s really more about just being more aligned with what is relevant for the community today and not just based on the way we did business more than 30 years ago,” RAC Executive Director Felicia Shaw said.

A large of portion of the initiative will take place with community members through one-on-one interviews, public surveys and focus groups conducted over the next nine months. The results could help shape RAC’s work in the future.

This is the first time the commission has conducted such research. Shaw stressed the project aims to ensure the organization’s goals and projects are aligned with the needs of the broader St. Louis community, going forward.

“We’re truly on a listening tour,” she said. “We’re here to listen to what people say and then consider the implications for the type of work that we currently do.”

Shaw said the initiative won’t just rely on arts and administrators already invested in maintaining the city’s creative fields. She said the initiative also may influence how the commission addresses the arts and education, housing and development projects.

The commission is working with the consulting firm Cultural Planning Group to conduct research and develop an engagement plan. The project also includes developing a “Thought Leaders Forum For Culture” intended to evaluate the initial research and provide experience and perspective as RAC develops the plan.

RAC’s research findings and the initial plan will be made public in 2018.

Follow Willis on Twitter: @WillisRArnold