Jessiree Jenkins, Chair
Jessirèe believes in the power of communities and impact that the arts can have. Jessirèe has worked at public libraries and supported various programs around the area. Jessirèe holds a B.S. in Public Policy Administration-Nonprofit Management from University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Willyetta Carter, Treasurer
Willyetta Carter is a native St. Louisan, has a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She works in public accounting as a Senior Manager with UHY Advisors of MO. Inc. Volunteers for the VLAA and Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts and Theater.
Syrhea Conaway, Secretary
Syrhea Conaway is a versatile musician and was featured in the Arts and Education Council’s campaign video, “The Makers,” playing violin. Syrhea also plays piano, guitar and bass guitar, and is currently learning to play the drums. Her voice is arguably her most powerful instrument; in high school she performed with the National Youth Choir, Missouri District and All State Choirs and the National Youth Chorus at Carnegie Hall. She formerly worked at the Regional Arts Commission as sales and operations manager. Syrhea Conaway is a multi-instrumentalist and music instructor who lives and works in St. Louis. She has since performed for TEDx Gateway Arch, given musical speeches for the Arts and Education Council, been a panelist on “Women in Music”, moderated a conversation as a part of USDAC and the Regional Arts Commission’s CultureSHIFT 2016, and opened for many national artist such as, Asobi Seksu, Future Islands, and Paul Rucker (cellist/artist). She has most recently produced live sound design for the Peabody Award Winning Podcast “To the Best of Our Knowledge” that aired on 220 NPR station in June of 2017. Currently she has partnered with local schools as well as the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) to bring art integration into school curriculum, as well as writing other programming and workshops to present at local libraries and community centers
Dwayne Bosman, Chaplin
Dwayne Bosman was born and raised in St. Louis, where jazz has always been a Bosman family affair. At age ten, he and his brother Dwight began studying music with their father, Lloyd Smith. By age fourteen, Dwayne and his brother were performing as The Bosman Twins. Dwayne attended Florida A&M University (FAMU) on a music scholarship, earning woodwind positions in FAMU’s highly-acclaimed “Marching 100 Band.” Dwayne Bosman has since shared the concert stage with such legends as Hugh Masekela, Freddie Cole, Branford Marsalis, Danny Mixon, Roy Ayers, and Lester Bowie, and held an engagement at one of St. Louis’ most popular jazz venues, The Moose Lounge which lasted more than fifteen years. Dwayne is former Music Director at Crossroads College Preparatory School in St. Louis.
Ira Jones, Director
Ira B. Jones is the co-founder and CEO of First Civilizations based out of St. Louis MO, which is celebrating its 23rd year of promulgating the arts with an emphasis on the literary arts. Mr. Jones has been working diligently in this community in the arts for over 25 years. He is the publisher of the widely recognized literary arts Eyeball Magazine and ARTS-TODAY https://issuu.com/artstodayezine news and cultural arts publication. He is an entrepreneur, supporter of and promotes and markets the arts and other businesses in and around the St. Louis area and across the United States. He has worked in Mental Health and Social Services in the St. Louis area for over 25 years. He continues to write and additionally works in advisory and other capacities in the arts, fundraising and social service.
Shirley LeFlore, Director
Shirley Bradley LeFlore is an internationally recognized poet, playwright, author, performance artist and educator who also has been a trailblazer in community arts, especially as a member of the Black Arts Group of St. Louis. During a career that has spanned five decades, she has performed for audiences throughout the world and her work has been published to critical acclaim in numerous books, anthologies and magazines. Shirley is equally recognized for her vision as a creative collaborator with dancers and visual artists and is known for blending the vocal texture of her poetry with music giants from jazz, blues, gospel and classical music. Shirley LeFlore is the recipient of the St. Louis Visionary Awards as The Outstanding Working Artist.
Linda M. Nance, Director
Linda M. Nance, C2C Co-Founder, is a performer, vocalist and sometimes stage manager for c2c. She is a published author and reads and has provided vocals for c2c performances of “The Mountaintop Speech”; “Out of the Shadows”, honoring Bayard Rustin; “Timeline: Unethical Medical Experimentation on Humans”, a prologue to the film, “Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed”; and the screening of the film “Fruitvale Station”. Most recently, Linda was selected to serve on the Citizens Review Panel for the Regional Arts Commission evaluating pilot grant opportunities for organizations with annual revenues of $100,000 or more. She is the President of the Annie Malone Historical Society and holds bachelor degrees in sociology and psychology from Maryville University.
Joan Suarez, Director
Joan Suarez went to work for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America as an Education Representative in 1962. She found her life-long niche as a labor and community organizer in San Antonio, Texas before returning to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1987 as Southwest Regional Director and International Vice President for UNITE, where she continued to serve until her retirement in 2002. She is currently the Executive Director of Bread & Roses Missouri (BRM) and the founding Emeritus chair of the Missouri Immigrant & Refugees Advocates (MIRA), both spin-off organizations of Missouri Jobs With Justice. She serves as a Community Co-Chair on the Missouri Jobs With Justice Board of Directors.