Public Media Commons Opens September 13 in St. Louis Grand Center Arts District

Last Updated by Dale Fisher on

A Collaboration of the Nine Network of Public Media, St. Louis Public Radio and the University of Missouri-St. Louis

St. Louis, MO — August 15, 2014 —When the Public Media Commons opens to the public on September 13, 2014, the unique open-air media environment in the Grand Center Arts District of St. Louis will bring people together for experiences that stimulate creative thinking and serve the community as an incubator of arts and ideas.

“The possibilities are endless,” says Jack Galmiche, president and CEO of the Nine Network of Public Media. “We’re inviting individuals and organizations to participate in the creation of experiences that bring the arts and dynamic digital video together to help us see things as we have never seen them before.”

Bordered by the Nine Network, St. Louis Public Radio and the Sheldon Concert Hall in the heart of the Grand Center Arts District, the Public Media Commons will provide a playground for the mind and the senses. 

The 9,000-square-foot space is flanked by large-screen video walls—two stories high—on two sides. Equipped with the latest audio/visual technology, the space will encourage the community to explore what can be created and experienced in a dynamic cityscape conducive to collaboration and experimentation.

The scale of the walls, the vivid quality of the imagery and sound, the surrounding urban architecture, and even a landscaped knoll for quiet contemplation will provide an environment like no other—an urban environment for shared creative experiences.

St. Louis Public Radio General Manager Tim Eby says:“We are looking forward to the opening night celebration, as it will enable the St. Louis community to experience a wonderful new gathering space—a space that is certain to become a destination place for concerts, festivals, art installations, interactive experiences and much, much more. September 13th will, undoubtedly, be the start of something special.”

The evening will include dynamic video on the big screens, interactive experiences, entertainment, food trucks, and live music by Sleepy Kitty and The Reverbs. Among the featured videos is a showpiece by filmmaker Frank Popper and the world premiere of Electric Pilgrims: Everyone Is Everywhere, designed as a site-specific multiscreen experience for the opening by Van McElwee, internationally acclaimed video artist and professor at Webster University in the School of Communications. The party begins at 7:00 p.m.

“Creative and informed citizens are the foundation of a great community,” UMSL Chancellor Tom George says. “We’re proud that UMSL has partnered with the Nine Network and St. Louis Public Radio to strengthen that foundation with the Media Commons in Grand Center. It furthers our commitment to St. Louis and the people who make this region an outstanding place to live and learn.”

According to Grand Center Arts District President and CEO Vince Schoemehl, the Public Media Commons is unique. “We don’t know of any place like it in the world,” says Schoemehl. “It’s an environment where all ages can actively engage in creative experiences on a large scale. The Public Media Commons will be a dynamic new attraction for our region.”

The two large-scale video walls—two stories high—will become “windows on the world,” providing cultural and sensory adventures for all ages. In addition to the video walls the space will include four interactive touch screens, a performance stage and a window into one of the Nine Network studios. 

The community will also be invited to participate in developing content. Already underway are collaborations with StoryCorps, the Contemporary Art Museum, Feast Magazine, Alarm Will Sound, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Sheldon Concert Hall and TEDxGatewayArch.

The public will be able to visit the Public Media Commons from morning to night for experiences ranging from large-screen video productions to performances, events, films, and interactive audio/visual adventures that ignite wonder. A schedule of activities and video content will be available at in early September. The Public Media Commons will also be available for rental.

The public and media are invited to the opening on September 13, but space is limited. Tickets for the public are free and available through EventBrite beginning Tuesday, September 2 at 10:00 a.m. Media should call or email Terri Gates (314) 512-9036 or

The Public Media Commons is a collaboration of the Nine Network of Public Media, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and St. Louis Public Radio. The Public Media Commons is managed by the Nine Network and is privately funded by local contributors.

Funding for the Public Media Commons has been generously provided by the Emerson Charitable Trust, The Boeing Company, Nancy and Ken Kranzberg, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Edward Jones, Interco Charitable Trust, the Richard A. Baker Foundation, the Steward Family Foundation, the WWT Foundation, and the Trio Foundation of St. Louis.

The Public Media Commons was designed by a team from Powers Bowersox Associates Inc. led by Ben Gilmartin, AIA, who previously was a lead designer on the Lincoln Center Promenade. Other elements of the Public Media Commons were designed by Electrosonic, Inc.; Dlandstudio, LLC; Randy Burkett Lighting Design, Inc.; and HDR, Inc. Electrosonic provided audio/visual design and implementation on the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and Millennium Park in Chicago.

Nine Network of Public Media

The Nine Network of Public Media is a multifaceted public media organization creating a network of individuals and organizations empowered by public media to strengthen civic life. One of the nation’s most watched public television stations, Nine offers the people of the St. Louis region multiple ways to explore the world and become engaged in civic life, including four distinct broadcast channels (Nine PBS, Nine World, Nine Create and Nine Kids),, the Nine Center for Public Engagement and Nine Academy.

The Nine Network’s rich legacy of innovation and community service was launched in 1954. The Nine Network is a community-supported nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring St. Louis together as it connects our region to the world and the world to St. Louis.

St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU and Quincy Public Radio | 90.3 WQUB provide the St. Louis and Quincy regions award-winning, in-depth news  on-air and online, insightful discussion, and entertaining programs that focus on the issues and people who shape our communities, our country and our world. Signature programs include: Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Fresh Air, This American Life, Marketplace, Car Talk, St. Louis on the Air, BBC World Service, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and A Prairie Home Companion.

St. Louis Public Radio, which broadcasts in HD on 90.7, 90.7-2 and 90.7-3, and is online at reaches 515,000 people a month in the bi-state area. Quincy Public Radio, which broadcasts in HD on 90.3, reaches nine counties in western Illinois and northeastern Missouri.

St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU and Quincy Public Radio | 90.3 WQUB are member-supported services of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Media Contacts

Terri Gates                                                                 Phil Donato

Public Relations Manager                                           Marketing, Events & Outreach Manager

Nine Network of Public Media                                     St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU

314.512.9036                                                              314.512.5425                                                

For More Information Contact:

Matt Huelskamp
Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer
(314) 512-9117