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1. Juan William Chavez and Kiersten Torrez of NorthSide Workshop (NSW), a community center dedicated to cultural and community issues in North St. Louis. NSW’s programming focuses on incorporating the studio practice with education and mentorship with the goal of fostering significant social progress in North St. Louis communities.

2. Emily Piro, founder of St. Lou Fringe Festival, which boasts Brave Artists, Bold Audiences is also an actor and currently the Community Engagement Manager for the acclaimed Metro Theatre Company. Em also has experience in “non-traditional case management”, the practice of creatively exploring the role of learning styles and social perceptions for problem solving and personal growth. You may find Emily stilt-walking in Tower Grove Park on Sunday mornings.

3. With the belief that all individuals have the right to, and need for, opportunities for creative self-expression, Turner Center for the Arts is a multi-use art studio space offering programming for adults with disabilities, and classes, camps, and open studio time for kids and teens.

4. Minerva Lopez, superdynamo of Cherokee Street: owner of Gooolll Soccer Apparel, Organizer of the Cherokee Street Latino Business Owners Association and the Mexican Cultural Center, and co-operator (with Ben West) of WasabiNet, neighborhood-scale Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP), operating low-cost Wifi in the St. Louis area.

5. Aaron Pritchard, Vice President of the Killer Blues Headstone Project, provider of headstones for blues musicians in unmarked graves; they have also recently partnered with the Friends of Greenwood Cemetery to facilitate the removal of overgrowth covering much of the historic and neglected African-American cemetery.

6. Nicole Hudson Hollway serves as the general manager of the news site the St. Louis Beacon, but also finds time for other civic outlets in her free time, including St. Louis for the love, “which organizes all the love people share for St. Louis and all the energy being focused on this dynamic and innovative city.”,

7. Tabari Coleman heads up the local A World of Difference Institute, a part of the Anti-Defamation League. In doing so, he teaches and conducts workshops on bullying and diversity along with peer-training in the same fields, not only in St. Louis, but around the nation and the world. A resident of Tower Grove East, he’s also a great neighbor!

8. Christy Augustin and Pint Size Bakery specialize in small batch baking using the best quality ingredients available. The treats in the case and the love that abounds from the confines of this former pizzeria are magical. Tiny but mighty.

9. Amanda E. Doyle has created the books “Finally, A Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis by and for St. Louisans, Neighborhood by Neighborhood” and “To the Top!: A Gateway Arch Story.” Brian H. Marston has recently co-created a startup for web development education named Codesteader. Together, they’ve created a city boy named Milo, with whom they share a home in South St. Louis.;

10. Julie Hageman has spent her entire adult life giving to our community with her service. She is one of those people who never ever toots her own horn, but as you get to know her you realize how many things she is involved in and how much she gives. Founding Board member and longtime volunteer at Stray Rescue, Volunteer Guardian ad litem for St. Louis City Juvenile Court, Board member of the Warriors Heart Foundation, volunteer extraordinaire at Animal House cat rescue , and Board member of Bark Park @ Unger Park to name just a few of her activities.

11. For 30 years, St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA) has supported the creative community by providing free legal and accounting assistance and a wide variety of affordable educational programs. With the solid leadership of executive director Sue Greenberg, the agency serves artists of of all stripes, nonprofit cultural organizations and small arts-related businesses. Due to the resources and support of VLAA, the St. Louis region boasts an enhanced cultural fabric and artists can remain focused on bringing their vision and work to our community.

12. Pam Ross has spent a lifetime defending the rights of women, promoting equality, and getting in people’s faces to do it. She might actually kick your ass! Pam has represented women as Missouri State Coordinator for the National Organization for Women, and also a Board member of the NOW PAC. She has marched and lobbied for years and has never been afraid to speak truth to power either in a group setting or as an individual. Pam has also used her considerable talents on behalf of progressive candidates for office at the local, state, and federal level. She is always involved, always advocating for people who need it, and never shrinks from a fight. This behavior has not always made her popular, but it has gained her the respect of people who agree with her and also the people who don’t. Never a dull moment with Pam!

Special Presentation: Holly Schroeder has adapted a Spike Gillespie effort called The Office of Good Deeds, bringing it to St. Louis within just the last month. As the KA’s are of Spike lineage, too, we’ll hear about Holly’s local Office, which has begun with a communal dining experiment at Washington University. We thank her for taking on the project and speaking about it with us on the 25th.

The 9th Annual Kick Ass Awards just wrapped up at The Heavy Anchor on Gravois, which was a fantastic venue. The event always delivers surprises, and this year was no different – treats thrown out to the audience from Pint Size Bakery, procreation jokes, beat boxing, improvisational accompaniment by Kick Ass alum Raven Wolf, and a slam poetry (?) introduction by Thomas Crone. Again, we honor the recipients and thank everyone who had a part in the event this year. Thanks for all you do. Photos on our Facebook page.

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