COCA has activated the power of arts education in the heart of our St. Louis community for over 30 years. To leverage that power to meet our shared needs today and fulfill the potential of tomorrow, it’s time to grow.

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Join us in creating our future


For a personal conversation about COCA’s future, please contact:

Kelly Pollock
Executive Director

Pam Mandelker
Director of Advancement

As we know from three decades of experience, the impact of a promise kept extends across generations.

With your help, we will raise $45 million to support the construction of our facility expansion as well as build capital reserves and endowment funds for scholarships, support services, artistic and educational programming. The ambitious project positions COCA to meet evolving community needs and serve its growing student base, while also sustaining its long-term commitment to ensuring access.

As a community, we will do all of this together.

Renovated Kuehner West Wing Facilities – Completed June 2018

  • Staenberg Performance Lab, a sunlit central studio, rehearsal hall, and performance space restoring the original architecture of Mendelsohn’s sanctuary.
  • Dierbergs Kitchen at COCA – a state-of-the-art space to be used for culinary programs in addition to hosting and serving events.
  • More than 3500 square feet of renovated multi-disciplinary studio space, including two new dance studios, Peacock Studio and Emerson Studio, and the new Gold Art & Design Studio equipped with tools to foster exploration and creativity.

New Ferring East Wing Facilities

  • A state-of-the-art theatre (450+ seats) to both meet COCA’s growing performance needs as well as expand opportunities to host local and touring visiting artists. It will be named in honor of the Berges Family Foundation.
  • 4,600 square feet of new multi-disciplinary studio space for COCA’s growing programs, including its nationally accredited programs in dance, theatre, voice, and early childhood.
  • New community space – located throughout the project – to create a more hospitable, welcoming second home for COCA’s families and visitors.
  • A designated, safe, and accessible drop-off and pick-up configuration offering an alternative to short-term garage and street parking.

Why We Support the Create Our Future Campaign:

“We have had the privilege of being part of the COCA family since 2004. During these 15 years we have witnessed COCA’s mission empower thousands of Saint Louisans with lifelong skills developed through access, scholarship, education, arts discipline, immersion experiences, and mentoring. Create Our Future ensures that the magic that happens at COCA daily will continue with more & more students crossing the threshold.”
—Lisa & Greg Boyce
“We are invested in COCA because it’s great for our family, and great for St. Louis!”
—Lauren Herring & Ted Disabato
“During the 15 years that we have been involved with COCA, we have watched it grow from a small, but productive, organization to what it is today. Throughout its growth, COCA has built on and fostered its core values and strengths— creativity, inclusiveness and innovation. Students interact and build friendships with others beyond their own communities. Although COCA has produced many professionals, it has also been a place for participants of all ages to build con dence, learn new skills, and appreciate the arts. We are very proud of COCA and what it has accomplished and look forward to continued participation in its growth and development.”
—Karen & Larry Kotner
“I believe that skills, values, con dence, empathy and optimism found in the creative arts are the best hope of human civilization and the core competence vital to successful children, adults, communities and our planet. COCA’s mission is at the epicenter of this conviction. It’s impact on our future well being cannot be exaggerated. I consider it both a duty and an honor to provide support to the security and continued expansion of this mission.”
—Kent Turner
“We wanted to make a bold statement in support of COCA and energize the St. Louis community to join us. This organization has been doing vital work for our community for 30 years—using the arts to impact our schools, to create pathways of success for thousands of young people, and to grow in its role as one of the top arts organizations in the country.”Jim Berges, Co-Founder of The Berges Family Foundation
“COCA is dedicated to expanding access, and it has a tremendous track record of delivering results. In this case, it was an easy decision. Put simply, COCA has provided opportunities that have profoundly impacted the lives of more kids through arts and education, especially those who otherwise would not have had access. That’s why Bayer made this investment.”— Al Mitchell, Vice President, Corporate Engagement, Bayer
“The arts have shown their power as ‘connective tissue,’ creating opportunities to bring people together for conversation, innovation and expression. By strengthening COCA’s role as a vital cultural and educational resource, this project is an investment in future generations of all St. Louisans.”Jesse Hunter, COCA Board President & Executive Vice President at Centene Corporation
“It’s remarkable what we have seen here at COCA in the years that we’ve supported this organization. We’ve watched children turn into accomplished adults, and we’ve seen an institution grow into one which helps hundreds and thousands of children to find a sure footing for the future.”John Ferring, Honorary Chair of Create Our Future Campaign Steering Committee & Chairman of PLZ Aeroscience
“COCA has been a part of our family for years—from seeing performances, to summer camps, to taking classes as adults. In light of this, not only does it feel natural to support this campaign both in word and deed, but more broadly we feel that we’re signing on for COCA’s next steps, becoming one of the leading arts institutions not just in St. Louis, but in the country.”—Diedre Gray, COCA Board Vice President & EVP, General Counsel and CAO at Post Holdings
“Since our family learned about COCA 25 years ago, our daughter has participated in dance classes and circus camps, and I have continued my childhood passion for dance and theatre by taking tap classes! Supporting COCA’s campaign was an easy decision. The arts provide physical and mental stimulation, confidence-building, and a sense of belonging and accomplishment with a group. We are very excited about the expansion and how many more children will be impacted.”—Glenda & James Seldin
“I grew up as a dancer, and I am certain that the discipline instilled in me throughout my training helped to shape everything I’ve accomplished in my life and career. PK and I knew that we wanted our legacy to be helping other children benefit from the arts the way I did.”— Kristin Johnson, COCA Board Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer at Edward Jones
“We believe the arts should be available to everyone. We believe COCA is key to both individuals realizing their full potential, as well as St. Louis, as a city, achieving its greatest goals. COCA helps bridge and connect diverse communities. We are confident that with this expansion, COCA’s impact on individual’s lives as well as the St. Louis community will continue to grow.”—Jane & Dave Peacock
“Jessica Sachs, our granddaughter, considers COCA her second home. In addition to her involvement, we relish supporting COCA’s efforts because we appreciate COCA’s professionalism and diversity.”— Marilyn & Ken Steinback
“COCA is a treasured place that, as a family, we have supported for many years. It attracts the most hard working, talented and passionate individuals. I speak not only of the awe-inspiring children that walk through the doors of COCA every day, but also the people who work so hard to make COCA a reality for so many. From the amazing Kelly Pollock, to COCA’s incredible staff and Board members, as well as the loyal alumni and generous supporters.”—Susan & Joe Werner
“The Bellwether Foundation has supported COCA education in schools for several years, so we were familiar with the quality of their work in arts education. When COCA approached us about the Create Our Future Campaign, we saw Bellwether Foundation support as a way to further our mission ‘to make a positive impact for present and future generations’ of St. Louisans through high quality arts education and performances. We are proud to support COCA and help them expand to serve the next generations of young people.”—Ginger Smith, Trustee of The Bellwether Foundation
“COCA is meaningful to us—because COCA inspires curious people and curious people create meaningful experiences for everyone!”—Colleen & Bob Millstone
“COCA provides a joyful, cultural and educational home for our diverse community. We are delighted to participate in the building expansion to serve even more students and audiences from across the region.”—Barbara & Steve Archer
“We are so motivated by COCA’s commitment to diversity and equal access to the arts that when we were asked to support the Create Our Future Campaign, it was a no-brainer. I can’t imagine a St. Louis without COCA. Making this dream a reality serves our city, and we are proud to do our part!”—Shereen & Michael Fischer
“Through a highly competent administrative and artistic staff, COCA offers a diverse community broad based artistic experience, nurtures personal growth and discipline, and provides a solid foundation for future development.”—Susan & Peter Tuteur

News & Updates

COCA Completes Renovation Phase of $29M Create Our Future Expansion, Announces $5 Gift from Kim Kuehner

COCA – Center of Creative Arts today unveiled significant renovations to its historic Erich Mendelsohn-designed University City building and announced a $5 million gift to its Create Our Future Campaign from Kim Kuehner, a St. Louis philanthropist and retired business owner. This most recent gift brings the total raised to $41 million to fund the community organization’s plans to grow its University City campus and build its endowment and reserves.

Read More Here

Campaign Leadership & Project Team

Launched quietly in early 2015, the campaign is spearheaded by a 12-member Steering Committee chaired by Cheryl Holman, with Honorary Chairs Alison and John Ferring. Meet the Create Our Future campaign leadership and project team.

Learn More