Webster Groves named ‘creative community of the year’


by Macy Salama 

Webster Groves artist Deanna Nash teaches art classes throughout the community. Nash said she felt she was one of the contributors that helped Webster Groves receive the 2013 Missouri Arts Award for Creative Community.

The Missouri Arts Council (MAC) awarded Webster Groves a 2013 Missouri Arts Award for Creative Community. MAC held its 30th annual ceremony for art individuals and organizations.

“I feel like Webster Groves has really grown as an art community throughout the last few years,” Nash said. “I feel proud for what we’ve done.”

Webster Groves Mayor Gerry Welch accepted the award at the Capitol Rotunda in the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City on Feb. 6.

“It’s so exciting,” Welch said. “It is a very big honor.”

MAC presented awards to individuals and organizations. The organization or individual must contribute art to their community’s culture to be recognized by MAC.

Webster Groves was nominated for a Missouri Arts Award for Creative Community after sending in an application with a list of community events that have contributed to the arts. The application included Paint Webster, the Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival, Art & Air, the Opera Theater of St. Louis and Webster University’s Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts.

Welch explained how Webster Groves plans to keep up with its reputation of being a creative community throughout the year.

“We are opening a sculpture park hopefully in the upcoming fall,” Welch said.

The Webster Groves sculpture park will be located at the intersection of Kirkham and Gore avenues. The Webster Groves Art Commission proposed the sculpture park in September 2011. The Art Commission is comprised of nine members that work to keep arts in the community.

According to Don Drissell, chairman of the Arts Commission, the park will hold anywhere from six to 16 pieces of art, depending on the size. The Webster Groves City Council encouraged Drissell to look for artwork created by students around the community and not just professional artists.

“The creativity in Webster Groves is very deep-rooted,” Welch said. “We will always have art in Webster Groves.”

Webster University freshman Emily Stafford is a student in the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts. Stafford said the artistic culture of Webster Groves influences her experience at Webster University.

“Webster Groves really is a creative community,” Stafford said. “There is always either a play, gallery or something creative to do.”

Welch attributed Webster University as a contributor that helped the city earn the 2013 Missouri Arts Award for Creative Community.

“Webster University is definitely a big part of why we received the award,” Welch said. “(Webster University has) one of the best fine arts programs around.”

The lecturers range from local to nationally recognized artists. Professors encourage students to attend the lectures. The Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts invites an artist to lecture most Fridays in the Visual Arts Studios.

“The lectures are really interesting to listen to,” Stafford said. “They can be very inspiring.”

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