It’s safe to say our reality has shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Where we once gathered in crowds to celebrate art, conversation, and stories, we now solely communicate through our computer screens or mobile devices in an effort to keep the ones we love, and ones we don’t even know, secure and healthy.
Though these times have been difficult, confusing, and sometimes lonely as we miss the hugs, laughter, and non-COVID related face-to-face conversation, St. Louis has persevered, as we always do, as a city with grit, for the higher good.
Just like our dogged city, HEC Media has stepped up and stepped in. Where there were threats of cancelations and postponements, we saw another way.
HEC has been honored to provide the technology, professionalism, and support to St. Louis organizations to keep the show going — to keep the conversation, the entertainment, and the education going, in a time we so desperately need it.
“We couldn’t do this without you,” is something we’ve heard from multiple organizations whom we’ve provided support for. Organizations like the Saint Louis County Library, Saint Louis Art Fair, The Sheldon, and so many more. We’re happy to help. It’s in our mission: “To strengthen and promote the education, arts, and cultural communities in the St. Louis Metropolitan area.” And we also know the people of St. Louis couldn’t do it without them. We’re all in this together. And when it’s over, we’ll be stronger than ever.
As we come to a close on what seems like the longest year, we want to look back at how much we’ve learned and accomplished working with St. Louis to make virtual and interactive performances and events possible in the face of the pandemic.
The pandemic becomes a reality and our schools remain closed long after spring break has concluded. Parents grapple with at-home learning and entertaining their children, so Educate.Today, HEC Media’s sister-site, provides free videos and lesson plans for students, teachers, and parents. For those with limited internet access, Educate.Today is available on our over-the-air channels on U-verse 99 and Spectrum 989, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
One by one, St. Louis arts and cultural organizations shut their doors to the public, so HEC provides a comprehensive guide on what is open and what is closed in St. Louis. HEC also sheds light on how to support local businesses during a shut-down, as well as highlights organizations who are stepping up and switching their business models to help serve the people of St. Louis.
St. Louis organizations are trying to figure out a way to keep their events going virtually and HEC steps in by producing the first virtual event in St. Louis: the St. Louis Theatre Circle Awards.
HEC also creates a partnership with the St. Louis County Library, Left Bank Books, and Novel Neighbor to transform their in-person author events to live, interactive virtual events online. HEC makes it possible to connect authors across the globe to the people of St. Louis, boosting book sales for our independent book sellers.
Realizing stay-at-home orders aren’t going anywhere and St. Louis organizations will have to keep their doors closed, even as summer is slipping in, HEC creates a comprehensive guide to virtual events in St. Louis. This guide is still being regularly updated.
HEC also steps in to provide in-kind production support to Arts United STL, a fundraiser for local artists produced by Opera Theatre, The Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, and more than 15 other St. Louis arts organizations. The fundraiser ended up raising more than $350,000.
HEC keeps a pulse on COVID research being conducted by our world-class universities:
HEC Media teams up with the Missouri Humanities Council, Missouri History Museum, Magnificent Missouri, and the St. Louis Storytelling Festival, in order to produce a virtual, live, and interactive storytelling journey called “Growing Up With The River.” The series connects students and families to Missouri history, conservation, and culture, every Wednesday on Facebook.
Conversations from the Danforth Plant Science Center, a celebration of our area’s most prolific minds in science and technology, goes virtual and HEC is there to help. In this virtual conversation, learn about the future of STEM education with Kris Callis-Duehl, PhD, Danforth Center’s Sally and Derick Driemeyer director of education, and St. Louis Public Radio’s Sarah Fenske, host and producer of St. Louis on the Air.
September is notorious for being the “month of events” in St. Louis. It might have to do with the near-perfect weather and the fading summer days, making outdoor events and festivals a last hurrah of summer for our city, and this year is no different. Even though most of these fun events live online, St. Louis organizations still figure out a way to kiss summer goodbye, and HEC is there to make this possible.
The Saint Louis Art Fair is one festival St. Louis looks forward every year. The streets of Clayton fill with artists, performers, and St. Louis’ best restaurants. However, it did look a little different this year as all the entertainment moved online, something HEC made possible by producing more than 100 Meet the Artist videos, live performances, artist panel discussions, craft activities for kids, and more.
Another season passes, yet the pandemic lingers in the air. When organizations were preparing to come back in full force, another wave of COVID hits the Midwest, shuttering any hope of in-person events, performances, and galas.
Three organizations turn to HEC to make their ideas of entertainment and fundraising possible: The Sheldon, Arch Grants, and Arts and Faith.
HEC and The Sheldon partner on “Live From the Sheldon” to bring your favorite musicians into your home, streaming on social and on hecmedia.org. It kicks off with an amazing performance from the 442s and interviews with the musicians you can’t get anywhere else.
HEC streams the Arts and Faith Interfaith concert, a concert full of hope and compassion, especially needed in these uncertain times. HEC also helps Arch Grants to empower our St. Louis entrepreneurs.
Depending on school districts around the area, some students are still learning at home, while others are learning in a classroom socially distanced and part-time. The blended learning still causes much frustration for students, teachers, and parents alike, so HEC and Educate.Today teams up with the St. Louis Sports Commission in order to create an innovative program to foster civility, respect, and selflessness among young people. The program is called “Musial Moments,” named after St. Louis’ great Stan The Man, and is available to classrooms around the nation through Educate.Today starting Nov. 24.
As the holidays approach, HEC produces and streams fundraising efforts by St. Louis organizations, such as the Bach Society’s Candlelight Christmas Concert airing Dec. 23.
Although this year has been tough and Americans are struggling every day, HEC is honored to have been by your side the entire time, producing the best quality coverage of our area’s best organizations and events. As an organization, we have learned and we have grown, and we know the city we love has done the same.