Arts-Based Community Development Convening
Transforming Post-Industrial Cities through Art and Innovation
April 12 through 14, 2012 - St. Louis

Emily Piro

St. Louis, Missouri


Emily Piro, Case Manager, St. Patrick Center, Piro has served a variety of roles in social services, from coordinating local action protesting civil rights abuses, to teaching theater to at-risk youth through the Division of Youth Services, to case management for ex-offenders and homeless adults at the St Patrick Center. Piro’s primary interest in social services is “non-traditional case management,” the practice of creatively exploring the role of learning styles and social perceptions for problem-solving and personal growth. She is a certified Offender Workforce Development Specialist, a Recognized Associate Substance Abuse Counselor, and a 2008 Grand Center Visionary Award honoree.


Staging Innovation: Uniting Theatre Arts and Social Work in a Museum Setting

Day 2 / Apr, 13 @ 4:15 pm
Lower Level : Room A

For five months the Pulitzer has partnered with Prison Performing Arts, St. Patrick Center, and Employment connection to present Staging Reflections of the Buddha, a community project inspired by our highly successful Staging Old Masters project of 2009. The project unites theater, visual arts, and social work to build connections between the art and all audiences while transforming lives and fostering connections between communities.

The program works with a group of former prisoners and homeless veterans training them to become actors through weekly workshops that also include art exploration and instruction, theatre exercises, meditation, and rehearsals. Concurrently, the actors work with St. Patrick Center and Employment Connection to apply their art experiences toward achieving their goals, which include but are not limited to, obtaining housing and employment and re-integrating into society. The workshops culminate in performances of an original work created by the actors.

After two successful Staging programs, the question is what happens next? Can we replicate the program again, and if so, in what capacity? Can the program be exported to another museum or arts institution? Can the program develop into an organization on its own?