Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Photo: Abby Gillardi.

CAM and Community

We are never solely about the art, we are about connecting art to people. While CAM education programs continue to expand to serve more people of all ages, our core commitment is to teens in middle and high schools, the next generation of artists and art audiences.  All education programs are free. The success of Create means they remain that way, plus we may continue to expand and serve more people of all ages a multiple forms of engagement.

Vashon High School
In 2017, CAM accepted a request from Vashon High School to help create a project-based art curriculum for sophomores. Vashon had been without a consistent art program for five years. In 2019, the Vashon partnership has grown to include upperclassmen, with CAM teaching artists involving students in a variety of mediums. CAM will partner with a second school in 2021, following the successful Vashon model, which we believe can become a model for the nation.

Vashon falls under the wide umbrella of ArtReach programs, which include arts intensives and museum tours for all participating schools, and professional development and workshops with artists and arts educators. In FY19 more than 4,000 young people were served through ArtReach; CAM teaching artists and staff devoted 674 classroom hours in local schools; 67 teachers received assistance from our education team—all at a cost of $0 to our partner schools. Create allows us to do more, allowing us to respond to all the schools that reach out to us.

New Art in the Neighborhood
In this nationally acclaimed studio art program, high school students work with local and international artists to immerse themselves in contemporary art issues and practices. New Art in the Neighborhood is our flagship intensive education program. In twenty-five years there are now more than 700 alumni of the program, and a remarkable 100 percent high school graduation rate for all who participate.

Teen Museum Studies
This innovative career-based program introduces teens to the inner workings of the Museum. Participants work with staff members to organize an exhibition from start to finish. Since 2014 Teen Museum Studies students have curated six exhibitions by local and national artists.

LEAP Middle School Initiative
A collaborative approach to art-making for middle-school students with a focus on a specific medium and mentoring from local artists and art educators. Students have worked with local teaching artists such as Sage Dawson, Meghan Grubb, and Work/Play.

CAM tours are designed as an act of discovery, learning and engaging with the art of our time in an open dialogue with others. Free group tours are available for all ages, for schools, for community organizations, and for companies and corporations. Stroller Tours serve families with toddlers, and tours accompany such programs as First Fridays and Drink in Art. CAM also provides free audio tours via visitors mobile devices, with insights from artists and curators. In FY19 CAM gave 161 tours. With more requests for tours, we may better fill audience needs with more resources from Create.

Public Programs
CAM is a free and open gathering place where people of all ages are invited to learn and engage with others about the art of our time. We think of CAM as a living room we share with the city, where visitors can hear from exhibiting artists, discuss ideas, practice their drawing skills, bring their kids for Play Dates and Family Days, and party with other art lovers on First Fridays every month. We bring art activities to festivals and fairs all over the city. CAM presented 120 programs in FY19, 78 percent of those programs were free. We can expand, enhance, and present more programs for a wider array of audiences with the success of Create.