Big news from an expanding COCA

    By: Jayne Ballew

    On June 8, 2018, COCA, Center of Creative Arts, unveiled the newly finished Phase 1 of their Create Our Future Campaign. This first of two phases included several renovations of the historic section of their campus in University City. The Mendelsohn Sanctuary has become the Staenberg Performance Lab, a studio, rehearsal hall and performance space. Two new dance studios – Peacock and Emerson have been added; along with The Gold Art & Design Studio – a flexible artist space; and the Dierbergs Kitchen at COCA – to be used for culinary programs and events. As well, a new parking garage has been built across the street to accommodate visitors.

    Phase 2 will extend COCA’s existing building into their previous parking lot to the east, nearly doubling its campus size. This 44,000 square foot East Wing addition will include a 450-seat theater with backstage and programing space; new studios; and a community commons for events and gatherings. Work on Phase 2 is planned to begin immediately and is set to be completed by early 2020.

    “It really puts us on the map as a visual and performing arts campus,” said Kelly Pollock, COCA Executive Director about this 45 million dollar project.   “We are interested in developing the creative capacity in St. Louis for all people whether they are three and this is their first camp experience, a teenage that wishes to be a professional dancer, or a business leader looking to improve their story telling skills.” The Create Our Future Campaign will allow COCA to meet the growing demand from the community and build its endowment and reserves.

    COCA is the fourth largest multidisciplinary community arts center in the nation. They serve more than 50,000 students from more than 200 zip codes annually. COCA collaborates with more than 40 local arts organizations to provide programs throughout the St. Louis community. Their campus is located in the Delmar Loop neighborhood of University City. For more information visit

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