Design, Art and Culture as a Catalyst for Equity, Social Justice, and Economic Development

APA Missouri Chapter


Wednesday, October 24, 2018
1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. CDT

CM | 1.25

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The session will have three presentations. The first will be delivered by Jasmin Aber, the Director of the Creative Exchange Lab (CEL), an urban design nonprofit organization in St. Louis. The Creative Exchange Lab was awarded a NEA "Our Town" grant to establish a cultural arts district in East St. Louis. The primary community partners were the Katherine Dunham Museum, the House of Miles, the Commission to Commemorate the 1917 East St. Louis Race Riot, and the New Life Community Church. Ms. Aber will discuss how CEL worked to perform a cultural assessment and to generate a plan for the creation of cultural campus. The second presentation will be made by Laverne Backstrom, the Director of the Katherine Dunham Museum. She will discuss how the Our Town project has led to the formation of the East St. Louis Art and Culture Coalition and their plans for using the district as a tool for transforming this highly distressed community. The third presentation will discuss how the East St. Louis project has been a stimulus for using the East St. Louis model as a potential tool for transforming Martin Luther King Drive in St. Louis. The learning objectives for the session will be: 1) knowledge of how to perform a cultural assessment and build an interactive website, 2) ability to use design to create a cultural campus, and 3) understanding of how design, art, and culture can be used as tools to stimulate economic development.


Michael Allen

Michael is an architectural historian and noted historical preservationist. Please see Read More

Laverne Backstrom

Teacher and principal in East St. Louis for over 30 years. Director of the museum for over 10 years. Read More

Jasmin Aber

Jasmin is a registered architect in Europe. She has been extensively involved with the Shrinking Cities group. She was the founder of CEL and has been its executive director for 10 years. Read More

Contact Info

Brendan Griesemer,