The Black Rep is a vital piece of the St. Louis arts and culture scene.

Experience St. Louis Arts and Culture Like a Local

Monday January 8, 2024

By Rachel Huffman

For the 2024 Visitors Guide, Explore St. Louis spoke with four leaders at the helm of the St. Louis arts-and-culture scene. Here, Ron Himes, founder of The St. Louis Black Repertory Company, shares his favorite ways to experience the arts in the Gateway City. See all the content in the official Visitors Guide here.

Ron Himes of The Black Rep poses.
Ron Himes of The St. Louis Black Repertory Company | Photo by Gregg Goldman

In the summer, when The Black Rep isn’t in season, I have the opportunity to see productions at STAGES St. Louis and The Muny. Both organizations stay true to their missions and produce consistently good work.

Throughout the year, I also like to visit The Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries – plus, the National Blues Museum. My kids like to explore the museum, which uses technology to create immersive experiences for them, and I like to attend live performances, which are held in its open-air courtyard. The National Blues Museum is a local treasure that everyone can enjoy.

When it comes to dance and theater, COCA (Center of Creative Arts) doesn’t disappoint. And who doesn’t love the Missouri Botanical Garden? On Wednesday evenings throughout the summer, the garden hosts free, outdoor concerts as part of the annual Whitaker Music Festival, and I try to go to as many of those performances as I can.

Every summer, The Black Rep provides an eight-week arts intensive for students aged eight to 18. During the program, we take the students to The Griot Museum of Black History because it exposes them to their heritage as well as historical figures with ties to St. Louis, including Josephine Baker and Miles Davis.

There’s always a lot going on in St. Louis, so much so that it’s difficult to find time to see and do everything.