Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective

A nonprofit organization

At Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective, young artists find a home. Our youth are eager for expression. Many have trauma from things they have experienced or witnessed. They have a deep need for connection with caring adults and peers who know what they've gone through. They need a safe space to learn and grow. Story Stitchers provides a safe space for youth to discover their voice. They express themselves - their experiences, their full range of emotion - to process and heal the trauma they witness every day.

Our nationally recognized work in dance, hip hop, spoken word, discussion, photography, and videography helps youth to develop resilience, a social safety net, friends and shelter with safe spaces to gather. We boast a music recording booth, instruments, and composing and editing technology.

Artistic recognition is acutely important to everyone involved, and part of what sets us apart from every other youth program. Top-tier artists serve as both teachers and mentors. Young people are pulled in and immediately set out to create professional, curated work that opens up their world beyond their own circles.

Youth find a safe, welcoming space to express all emotions through the medium of art. Emotion is not suppressed, it is encouraged. It doesn't take newcomers long to get acclimated. Youth quickly understand: We love you and see your worth as soon as you walk in the door. We don't force anything. It's ok to make mistakes. Alongside the encompassing sense of love and belonging, we provide for more basic needs like shelter, food, and money.

And everyone is welcome. We only have one expectation: our young artists must be completely uninvolved with guns, drugs, gangs, and their affiliated cultures. Youth involved in Story Stitchers are less likely to have negative involvement with law enforcement. They build friendships, a sense of belonging, a safety net, and learn to think of themselves as leaders in the community. This sense of optimism is unusual amongst their peers and attracts attention from youth and adults alike.

We know our young people can do it. They can find friends. They can learn about themselves and express themselves. They can find others who want something better for themselves, their neighbors, their city. Story Stitchers erase real and perceived divisions through cultural exploration and arts practice-by stitching together our city.

Saint Louis Story Stitchers is a nationally recognized Artists Collective known for high quality art and innovative youth violence prevention programs.

Funds raised support Saint Louis Story Stitchers and its outstanding programs for underserved youth.

Summary of the background/history of your organization

Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective ("Story Stitchers") was founded by volunteer Founding President and Executive Director Susan Colangelo, and seven additional artists to combat gun violence. Incorporated in 2014, Story Stitchers creates a platform for community engagement through an artistic lens to shift perceptions and inspire hope for the Saint Louis community. The organization brings together professional artists and minority youth ages 16-24 to create social change, with a focus on gun violence prevention.

Through a unique form of "urban storytelling," professional artists and African American youth collect the stories of Saint Louis, reframe and retell them through original work, and promote understanding, civic pride, and intergenerational relationships.

Story Stitchers is committed to placing youth at the center of the work both in identifying topics for exploration as well as the methods for engagement. This approach builds a community of youth and professional artists who respect one another. Gun violence continues to be a pressing public health crisis that consumes the attention of the engaged youth, and artistic expression helps youth work through the pain and loss they have experienced.

In 2023 Story Stitchers is recognized as a recipient of the Lewis Prize for Music Accelerator Award, Deaconess Foundation, Trio Foundation, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, Arts and Education Council, and is supported with funds from National Endowment for the Arts for StitchCast Studio LIVE!, Regional Arts Commission, Missouri Arts Council, Missouri Humanities Council, City of St. Louis Youth at Risk Violence Prevention grant, Divided City from Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis Violence Prevention Commission, and private philanthropists.

Story Stitchers works to promote a better educated, more peaceful and caring region through the creation and dissemination of original art. Public performances and exhibitions are designed to take original art into neighborhoods, cultural and educational centers, and on to the stages of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation in the Grand Center Arts District, where Story Stitchers have been artists in residence since 2014.


Story Stitchers erases real and perceived divisions through cultural exploration and arts practice - by stitching together our city. Our mission is to document Saint Louis through art and word to promote understanding, civic pride, intergenerational relationships, and literacy. We envision a better educated, more peaceful, and caring region.

Organization Data


Organization name

Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture, Arts & Culture - Music, Education, Health & Wellness, History/Preservation, Public Safety, Racial Equity, Social Justice

Operating Budget

Small: $250,001 - $1,000,000

Service Area

St Louis City

Audiences Served

Children, Youth, Families


3701 Grandel Square
Saint Louis, MO 63108



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