From Broadway and Beethoven to street art and museums, Grand Center Arts District is a destination for artistic experiences of all varieties. It’s the mission of Grand Center Inc. to create an environment where the creative community can thrive.
The landscape of the district constantly evolves, according to Karin Hagaman, president and CEO of Grand Center Inc. “We have an amazing and vibrant community in the heart of Midtown,” she says. “There are bars and restaurants for people to enjoy while experiencing one-of-kind cultural offerings.” Recent additions in the area include the Angad Arts Hotel, home to Angad Rainbow Terrace, a rooftop lounge with views of the city skyline and the Arch, and Grand Tavern by David Burke, its signature dining venue. The highly anticipated Bulrush, an innovative concept from James Beard nominee Rob Connoley that focuses on hyper-local, hyper-seasonal cuisine, just opened its doors in April.
Hagaman says Grand Center Inc. is working to make all that is happening in the district even more accessible. The nonprofit’s office now serves as a visitor center where people can stop in to get brochures and information. And in the next six months, the organization will launch a new wayfinding signage program. The signs will help those walking and driving navigate all of the attractions. “People know about the great options in Grand Center, but they don’t realize how close they are to one another,” Hagaman notes. “The new program will help them discover that right around the corner is another terrific venue.”
For visitors looking for more organized exploration, she adds that there are two new tours of the district. The first is offered in partnership with Landmarks Association of St. Louis and focuses on cultural and art-related institutions like the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and the Scottish Rite Cathedral. The second, The Grand Scheme of Things, is presented by RenegadeSTL and explores the history and future of the neighborhood. Information and tickets for both can be found on the Grand Center website.
Grand Center Inc. will celebrate an important anniversary in 2020. Its campaign to revive the district began in 1980, and Hagaman says people can look forward to a celebration to mark the 40-year milestone. To keep the community thriving, the nonprofit relies on donations. Its largest annual event is the Grand Center Gala. “The event is the source of the majority of our budget,” Hagaman notes. “From maintaining public spaces to marketing, it supports all of our efforts. Everything we do is funded by the generosity of the community, and the gala is an important part of the picture.”
This year, the event is Sept. 13 and will be held inside the Big Top on Washington Avenue, but guests shouldn’t expect a circus theme, according to Hagaman. She says it will be an elegant and exciting evening that celebrates the arts district. As part of the festivities, local philanthropists Jerry and Mary Beth Daniels will be honored for their support. “I love the gala’s intersection of community, culture and the arts,” Hagaman says. “The different parts of St. Louis come together, and it’s great to see all we can achieve when we work together.”
Grand Center Inc. helps the creative community thrive in the Grand Center Arts District. Its annual gala is Sept. 13 inside the Big Top on Washington Avenue. Pictured on the cover: Honorees Jerry and Mary Beth Daniels, event chairs Drs. Fred and Frances Pestello and Julie and Tim Noonan. For more information, call 314.289.1500 or visit grandcenter.org.
Cover design by Julie Streiler | Cover photo by Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography
Pictured at top: Strauss Park in Grand Center
Photo courtesy of Grand Center Inc.