A new networking event aims to help St. Louis musicians, visual artists and writers strengthen the local arts scene.
The first semi-annual Business Hours event will be held Thursday at TechArtista in the Central West End. It will feature a panel of three artists who will share advice on how to create a career in the arts.
The event, which runs 7-10 p.m., is organized by Louis Quatorze, a St. Louis-based video artist and music promoter, and Stag Beer. Quatorze said the St. Louis region needs to devote more resources to ensuring that musicians and visual artists can thrive.
“I think there are a lot of people here doing really creative, excellent work,” Quatorze said. “But I also want to bring them together in a room with a lot of different types of people and people who are older than them and have more experience than them and can allow them to kind of expand their horizon, in terms of what they think they can achieve in St. Louis.”
Quartorze said he's largely starting the networking event to help cement St. Louis as a thriving center for artists. Musicians and other artists often have to move to other cities to establish careers, he said.
“St. Louis does not have a lot of industry here, which is why you see a bit of the brain drain of some of our most talented people feeling the need to go to other larger cities where there are already established resources for them,” Quatorze said.
Thursday’s panel will feature three St. Louis-based artists and musicians: hip-hop artist Blvck Spvde, storyteller and local writer Ymani Wince and DJ and producer James Biko.
Biko said he’ll talk about how he created a DJ career in the city. While bringing artists from different fields together is important, he also said a big aspect in fostering a large creative scene is establishing more music festivals and events.
The city lost its signature music festival, LouFest, when organizers canceled the event in 2018 after contractors pulled out.
“The support has to be amped up, the consistency has to be amped up and just the opportunities,” Biko said. “There’s just not enough that goes on. There’s a lot that goes on, but it’s never enough and it doesn’t happen on a consistent basis enough.”
A second Business Hours gathering will be held near the end of the year.
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