Citizen Artist St. Louis is a non-partisan an initiative of St. Louis-based artists, organizers, and civically engaged individuals and organizations working together to ensure that arts and culture, and the values of these constituents are considered in St. Louis politics and policy-making.

Ideas for the City of St. Louis



Citizen Artist St. Louis gathered ideas on how arts can be integrated into the new administration for the City of St. Louis. These ideas were gathered through a digital questionnaire and a series of listening sessions from December - February 2017. A sampling of ideas are listed below. There is also a section of proven ideas that have worked in St. Louis and in other cities to draw from. This list will be expanded upon with further engagement with arts community.

Artists are strategic. Contemporary artist, Theaster Gates said, "Beauty is a public service." We deliver beauty. Deploy us.




  • Enforcement of the percent for art ordinance or a re-evaluation and implementation.
  • Expand the Cultural Resources office to integrate arts into city planning and preservation.
  • Streamline event permitting to assist DIY spaces and pop-up events.
  • Develop an artist-in-residence initiative within governmental departments like the Land Reutilization Authority.
  • Creative work is powerful therapy and could be a way to address public health crises.
  • Artists can develop ideas to redevelop underserved areas of the city. They can help design parks, playgrounds, and enliven recreational spaces.
  • Work with artists to evaluate and implement public safety reform including slowing traffic and improving pedestrian and cyclist safety.
  • Creatives are extremely diverse in age, race, class and gender. As a community they offer fuller perspectives than most institutions. Draw on the creative community for input and feedback while designing or planning in general.



  • Amplify disenfranchised voices in community solutions.
  • Give incentives to companies who teach trades.
  • Improve streets and public transportation so that they are safe and accessible to all citizens regardless of method of transportation.
  • Offer arts education grants to public schools struggling to provide arts curriculum.



  • Arts as a crime deterrent - not just midnight basketball, but art as part of the community fabric.
  • Encourage access to city buildings for performance and the creation of art.
  • Increase cultural diversity and promote cultural expression in government.
  • Work with artists to connect with struggling youth and teens.
  • Provide vacant spaces to be transformed into art spaces for community groups, individual artists, or collectives.
  • We need more art organizations helping with neighborhood safety. What if the city could pair art orgs or artists with neighborhoods to create solutions to problems? What if every neighborhood had an arts space, an Art House?



  • Allocate TIFs by ward so that opportunities for development reach the entire city.
  • Require that developers receiving TIFs invest a percentage of their resources into arts education.
  • Tax incentives for businesses who work with artists on development projects.
  • The creation of an ‘art house’ in every neighborhood that can become a safe space for young people and families.
  • Work with the LRA and LCRA to open vacant land for artists.
  • Incorporate public art into new city development, especially transit.
  • Encourage the development of mixed use buildings and micro-cultural districts.
  • Subsidizing or incentivizing small-scale developers and renters in strategic neighborhoods to create micro-cultural districts.
  • Support building code and zoning to help artists stay in safe work spaces.
  • Prioritize the North/ South metrolink expansion and create tax incentives or assistance to those that live along the route, and include a percent for art for St. Louis artists at each station. The neighborhoods that run along the line stand to benefit enormously from increased access, and we need to make sure that current residents and creative communities are part of the process.



  • The arts are one the city’s leading assets from the Zoo Museum District to Old North and Cherokee street, the arts have been central to revitalization efforts, creating spaces for communities to gather, giving voice to complex concerns, and acting as beacons in neighborhoods.
  • The arts should be central to the city’s promotion.
  • The breadth and depth of talented artists is an enormous asset to the city. We create value by means of entertainment, employing staff, and become a conduit for drawing attention to struggles within our communities.
  • Work with artists to tell the story of St. Louis.
  • Promote First Friday Art nights across entire city.
  • Promotion of St. Louis as an arts and cultural destination, not just for sports.
  • Bring big art festivals back to downtown.



  • Create a Department of Arts and Culture and appoint a Deputy Director as a connector for the arts community and policy advocate.
  • Appoint a cabinet under the Mayor to promote the arts.
  • Call on artists to participate in government.
  • Have a seat for artists, makers, or organizers in every task force. The arts can be a part of solutions for civic challenges of segregation, depopulated neighborhoods, and education inequality, among others.
  • Create a list of arts and culture leaders willing to be appointed to mayoral assignments.