The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri was founded in 1961 by local metal-smith, Otto F. Dingeldein. We are proud to be the oldest Arts Council in the state, and even precede the Missouri Arts Council in date of origination by a few years.
Previously, the Arts Council had occupied the 32 N Main Street building which housed three different galleries.
In the summer of 2016, the Arts Council bought a building at 16 N. Spanish Street, a beautiful location in Downtown Cape Girardeau, which features two spacious galleries. The Visual Arts Cooperative Committee inhabits one of the gallery spaces, whose artwork is changed at the beginning of each month, and remains on display through the end of the month.
The other gallery space is inhabited for the Arts Council’s various exhibitions and programs. This gallery feature exhibits from regional arts organizations to solo exhibitions.
First Friday with the Arts is an event initiated by local galleries and gallery-owners in and around downtown Cape Girardeau. The galleries participate in monthly event by opening for later hours (from 5pm-9pm), hosting Artist Receptions, as well as providing musicians, appetizers, and beverages to visitors of the event.
The Arts Council also hosts many annual shows and programs. Each spring, artwork from more than 20 regional elementary schools are displayed in our gallery for the Children’s Arts Festival. Each year we also host multiple juried exhibits, in addition to an annual Members Exhibit. Local artists who might not normally have the chance to display their pieces are encouraged to participate. Each November we hold the largest craft fair in the region-the Christmas Arts and Crafts Extravaganza-which displays the handmade wares of 300 vendors in two different locations.
Educating the public about the arts is something that the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri believes is an important part of creating a sustainable artistic community. We strive to do this by 1) hosting free monthly programs at our gallery, which feature demonstrations, lectures, and Q & A sessions with locals who are involved with the arts in various capacities, across many disciplines; 2) partnering with local organizations who serve underprivileged and underserved youth to provide after-school, art educational programs; 3) keeping our newspaper and other media outlets informed of upcoming events and projects so that they may disperse the information to others in our area; and 4) keeping our members and patrons informed about workshops and opportunities for continuing their education in the arts.