Center for Artistic Expression
The Center for Artistic Expression was founded by Michael Battle to help young people connect their hearts and minds with lifelong careers. Michael explains, “Because of budget cuts and teacher layoffs, kids don’t have the option of learning music in school anymore. Neighborhoods are riddled with violence and gang activity, and kids don’t have anything to do. So many young people out here don’t have any direction or anyone to help them find one.” CFAE programs are open to anyone 13 years of age or older who has an interest in music, with no prerequisites beyond commitment. Programs include technical skills workshops, vocal training, visual art and musical performances, filming and stage production. Students can learn about writing lyrics, story-telling, music history and composition, and much more.

STL Rise
STL Rise was founded by Myisa Whitlock with the purpose of encouraging participants to rise

above statistical labels and experience a purpose-filled life. Her vision is to “promote self-sufficiency through economic independence, to help in the efforts to end poverty, neglect and abuse particularly among women and girls.”  Through STL Rise, Myisa designs and presents educational workshops, conferences, community events, and educational excursions, such as Girl Whirl Empowerment Sat-HER-days reaching youth.

The Zakatu Madrasa​

The Zakatu Madrasa is a  group organized and designed by Freeman Word. His vision is African and Indigenous based complemented with a spiritual and holistic outlook. His goal is to create an artistic educational institution staffed by 25 artists, educators, and activists to  work as deans in providing programming for regional youth. The institution will provide spiritual mentoring, study groups, book selling, and a library /bookstore. ​


Our partnerships with other organizations allow us to be a hub of community activity and an incubator of positive change in the St. Louis Region, in particular the Dutchtown area. We provide public and private event space for other non-profit organizations whose missions align with that of the learning center. Our partnerships not only propel our mission forward and deepen our impact; they also aid in creating a flourishing community, and many of our best classes involve collaborations between different organizations. Here are some of the other non-profit organizations we assist: