Our History

Where We’ve Been

Dream of an Arts Council

In late 2009, Manchester resident, Bill Vivrett, local artist and educator, presented the dream of an arts council to the Board of Aldermen. In spring and summer 2011, city arts advocates began to plan how to move the vision forward. By fall 2011, an informal group of arts enthusiasts was formed and were meeting to brainstorm the vision of a Manchester-region arts council. A five-person, interim leadership group, was guiding the effort by end-of-year 2011.

Arts Council Task Force

Partnering with the leadership of the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, an arts council Task Force was recognized and appointed by the City of Manchester on March 19, 2012. The Task Force, expanded to seven members, was charged with developing and writing an Arts Master Plan for the City of Manchester. The Arts Master Plan defines and establishes a Board of Directors to lead and advocate for arts in the community. On July 1, 2013, the City of Manchester Board of Alderman adopted the Manchester Arts Master Plan through a resolution.

Where We Are Now


Manchester Arts has experienced a ground-swell of support from the greater Manchester and West County community. With a current roster of over 100 members, Manchester Arts meets as a group council every two months. Meetings are held at the Manchester Police Department's 2nd floor meeting room.

Action Teams

Currently there are eight Action Teams, comprised of members from Manchester Arts, to plan and execute arts events, as well as various goals outlined in the Arts Master Plan. The appointed Board of Directors assists the City and the broader community to use the arts and our local heritage to enrich an evolving, diverse cultural identity. The Board, also charged with overseeing current events and investigating potential funding sources for future programming, meets bi-weekly throughout the year.

Where We’re Going

Manchester Arts is looking forward to another year of community-focused programming. This includes the continuation of successful programs including the photography show, community band concert series and art exhibitions, while introducing new programs that provide greater opportunities for participation by residents. 

Current Programs

We are currently working with the City to paint two large utility boxes in Schroeder Park! For the second year we will be hosting and sponsoring a June lunch concert staged by Opera Theatre of St. Louis at Manchester United Methodist Church! The Regional Arts Commission (RAC) recently awarded Manchester Arts a grant to support our community programs, specifically the FOCUS photo show, the Community Band Concert Series, and ArtsFest. With so many upcoming programs, be sure to check out our calendar of events!