Arts Council of Southeast Missouri Artists to Present ‘Making the Ask’ in After Hours Series


Local artists Sara Steffens and Kelley Downes will discuss their views on community service and the arts in the Nov. 19 “After Hours: Conversations on Art and Culture” lecture at Southeast Missouri State University’s Catapult Creative House.

Steffens, member of the board of directors for the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies, and Downes, director of the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, will present “Making the Ask.” They will offer insight into the challenges facing non-profit organizations in the current political and social climate.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Face coverings will be required, and social distancing guidelines will be in place. The event will also be available on Zoom at

Steffens is the former director of the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri and was named 573 Magazine’s “Art Person of the Year” in 2019.

As a proponent of community activism through the arts, Downes has curated projects such as Elevate Cape and Project 63703 and serves on the board of directors for the Downtown Merchants Group. She is a 500-hour accredited yoga instructor interested in the congruence of creativity and consciousness.

This semester’s After Hours topic, “The Business of Art: Artists as Entrepreneurs,” reminds participants that many artists are independent contractors who, in addition to creating art, must exhibit and market their work. The key is to understand the differences between strategies and venues in order to succeed as an entrepreneur. The speakers for this semester’s series will expound on the intricacies of various institutions, such as galleries, museums and non-profit organizations.

“After Hours: Conversations on Art and Culture” lectures take place at Catapult Creative House and are free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to tour the entire Catapult facilities, including the Southeast Missouri State University Department of Art and Design students’ studios upstairs, as well as the Catapult Creative Shoppe, which features student work and local business products.

Catapult Creative House is located at 612 Broadway in downtown Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. All gallery exhibitions, events and talks are free and open to the public.