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2016 in Review: Arts and culture stories that shaped St. Louis this year

Nancy Fowler and Willis Ryder Arnold discussed the top arts stories in 2016 in the St. Louis region.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
Nancy Fowler and Willis Ryder Arnold discussed the top arts stories in 2016 in the St. Louis region.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the year in arts and culture news in the region — from the controversy at the Contemporary Art Museum to multiple theater anniversaries — with the reporters who know the subject best.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Willis Ryder Arnold and Nancy Fowler both report on arts and culture stories for the station. They joined the program to share the stories they thought shaped the region this year.

“A lot of things that have happened in St. Louis have gotten national attention, of course, the Contemporary Art Museum controversy over the Kelley Walker exhibition,” Fowler said. “St. Louis has also been the site of a debut of a national play called ‘Every 28 hours,’ which addresses race and the police. I think we’re getting a lot of attention this year. New theater companies keep forming, two this year, and the community remains vibrant.”

The St. Louis arts community has also mirrored a lot of the national trends right here at home.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on that is speaking to larger issues in the national arts community,” Arnold said. “People are working on documentary films about issues like Ferguson that will have major national reviews. People are paying attention to a lot of land use that is happening here. … looking at reevaluating abandoned or unused spaces nationally or here as well.”

In performing arts and in music, artists are still grappling with the police shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014. The events and Ferguson in some ways have undeniably changed the issues that Fowler and Arnold address.

“Social justice issues are at the fore in our reporting,” Fowler said.

In St. Louis, art particularly addresses social justice issues and “culturally aware” art, Arnold said.

“There’s not really an emphasis on conceptual art or art that’s only dealing with how the entire history of art has worked,” Arnold said. “A lot of it is what it means to be alive in the culture today and where we stand as a society.”

Listen as Arnold and Fowler talk about the year in art in St. Louis:

Interested in the stories and subjects the two discuss? Check out the Cut & Paste podcast, hosted by Fowler and Arnold. It features these kinds of conversations every other week.  

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.
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