• Close-up of glassblower Chris McCarthy's hand as he shapes a red-hot bulb of molten glass

Chris McCarthy, Park Avenue Glass, St. Louis

The Alchemy Award

Alchemy is the process by which we transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. The arts achieve this by using creativity and innovation to develop business into an economic force. With this award we recognize individuals, businesses, and organizations that utilize the arts to create jobs, develop workforce, or enhance economic development in Missouri.

On September 8, 2016, the Missouri Arts Council presented the inaugural Alchemy Award at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development to the City of Kansas City’s Office of Culture and Creative Services. The OCCS was established in January 2015 to lead cultural development efforts for Kansas City, focusing on serving residents by bolstering and catalyzing arts, culture and creativity, as well as leveraging the arts as a strategy for economic development, neighborhood revitalization and cultural vitality. Using the KCMO Arts Convergence Plan as a road map, the OCCS has collaborated with community partners to launch the city’s only micro-loan programs specific to artists and art businesses. These two programs have to date provided nearly $70,000 in loans to area artists and businesses in creative industries.


The honoree was selected based on these criteria:

Utilization of art and culture in economic development. (50%)
Impact of economic development on the community. (30%)
Potential for replication in other communities. (20%)

For More Information

Contact Executive Director Michael Donovan: michael.donovan@ded.mo.gov, 314-340-4740.

Award Artwork

The award artwork, like alchemy itself, forges ordinary material with fire to create something of value. The Missouri Arts Council has commissioned a one-of-a-kind work by a Missouri glass artist to recognize the award recipient. The inaugural award was created by Chris McCarthy, Park Avenue Glass, St. Louis, who created the glass artworks for the 2016 Missouri Arts Awards honorees.