During the St. Louis upheaval, Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis County, made national headlines with civil unrest stemming from the shooting of an unarmed African American male, Michael Brown, by a police officer. Following Michael Brown's death , Marty K. Casey Mosely emerged as an unsung hero. As a native of St. Louis, Marty saw the unrest as an opportunity to BeyGOOD and galvanize youth from the Ferguson area to channel their energy in creative arts.

This singular moment and ensuing events directly led to the conception of Show Me Arts Academy by its Founder, Marty. Wanting to be a part of the solution, she was charged in such a way, that SMAA was conceived one week-post the unrest in Ferguson. Marty felt the youth needed a safe haven where they could freely express themselves. Being passionate for the Arts and having used it as her own saving grace, she took a leap of faith and created the same haven for others.

On November 28, 2014, the company was publicly introduced at the Regional Arts Commission. It was then, SMAA began to take shape to become an alternative to bring the arts to underserved youth, free of charge. The impact of SMAA has been indelible since.

In a short time, SMAA has provided its first programming in the historic Ville Community in St. Louis City and has continued to provide artistic programming in several locations across the metropolitan area, servicing over 1,200 children, ages 5 to 18 including college students, volunteers and staff who are willing to participate in sparking an interest in the arts beyond SMAA’s target market.

Expanding to serve youth, Spreading The Love Youth Choir was created as another segment of SMAA. This summer Marty and staff took 20 youth, ages 10-19, on a week long performing arts tour to Washington, DC, New Jersey and New York.  In just a short amount of time they were able to affect the lives of many along the way with "pop-up" performances and scheduled concerts. Since returning home from tour, their impact and influence continue to grow.

Most recently, Marty received Arts Advocate of the Year from Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club. At this prestigious event, STLY wowed the crowd with their rendition of the National Anthem.

Wowed by the impact of SMAA and their devotion to the arts, As The Formation World Tour began its third leg in St. Louis, Missouri on Saturday September 10, we invited the members of Show Me Arts Academy to experience all the moving parts of the show, including meetings with the band, the dancers, and other integral members of the touring team.

The members of Show Me Arts Academy filled the halls of The Dome at America’s Center with song, laughter and their message of strength, love, peace and unity before they took to the audience to enjoy the show.

Marty and all of the members of SMAA serve as an impactful example of the magic that is possible when you decide to BeyGOOD and give back to others.

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About Show Me Arts Academy:

The mission of Show Me Arts Academy is to provide multi-cultural artistic development to under-served youth, ages 5-18, under the guidance of trained professionals. Through exposure, encouragement, and structure, in a creative learning environment, they foster a sense of self-discipline, increased confidence, integrity, and a life-long appreciation for the arts.

You can learn more about the Show Me Arts Academy, follow them on Twitter , Facebook or on their website. or by email at smaaoutreach@gmail.com

Words edited by Rachel Hislop,  Photo credit Daniela Vesco.