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Events, Sightings

LaunchCode hosts Breaking Barriers Celebration

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Web/Tech  Lori Rasmussen LaunchCode Techforce Center Jim McKelvey JEMA Jeff Mazur

LaunchCode has just completed a $5 million fundraising campaign and is poised to begin work on the renovation of its headquarters located in the former Nat Rivers State Office Building at 4811 Delmar just east of Euclid, above. The Breaking Barriers Celebration was held last Thursday, November 5.

 

LaunchCode was the brainchild of Jim McKelvey (co-founder of Square with Twitter’s Jack Dorsey), who hired a team of “techies” to offer free coding classes and job placement services in the technology field after McKelvey found there was a shortage of qualified candidates in St. Louis to staff Square’s needs. Classes were held in the Cortex Innovation District until 2015 when LaunchCode moved to the Delmar location.

Last year 1,036 students completed the program, while 3,700 additional applicants were not admitted to the program because of a lack of space. When the renovation is completed in Fall 2021 the Techforce Center staff expects student population to increase by 30%.

At the groundbreaking last Thursday, two inspiring female graduates of the program told the crowd, some of whom were contributors to the fundraising campaign, how grateful they are for the opportunity to have participated in the free program, and how their lives have been impacted now that they are in stable high-paying tech jobs.

JEMA Studio’s John Mueller said his design team considered the significance of LaunchCode’s location on the north side of the “Delmar Divide” and decided it was important to make the entry to the building more welcoming and visible to the community, so glass blocks that currently frame the entry will be replaced with clear glass windows. Plans also include a rooftop terrace.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Web/Tech  Lori Rasmussen LaunchCode Techforce Center Jim McKelvey JEMA Jeff Mazur

From left, LaunchCode founder Jim McKelvey, Chief Development Officer Lori Rasmussen, and Board Member & CWEnder Alison Ferring are shown discussing the many barriers to success that were written on the soon-to-be demolished entry walls. Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Web/Tech  Lori Rasmussen LaunchCode Techforce Center Jim McKelvey JEMA Jeff Mazur  LaunchCode’s Executive Director Jeff Mazur, above, welcomed the crowd virtually.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Web/Tech  Lori Rasmussen LaunchCode Techforce Center Jim McKelvey JEMA Jeff Mazur

The two walls covered in messages that depict barriers to success, above and below.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Web/Tech  Lori Rasmussen LaunchCode Techforce Center Jim McKelvey JEMA Jeff Mazur

The video shows Jim McKelvey taking the first swing. Attendees were then invited to take turns symbolically breaking through those barriers too.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Web/Tech  Lori Rasmussen LaunchCode Techforce Center Jim McKelvey JEMA Jeff Mazur

McKelvey told St. Louis Magazine reporter Amanda Woytus (article here): “At some point, when a visitor comes to St. Louis, they’re going to go to the Arch, they’re going to go to Anheuser-Busch.” He said, “I want them to come here, and I want them to understand that LaunchCode is as important of a place.”

Earlier posts about LaunchCode can be found here, as well as a recent post on a development plan for the area that surrounds LaunchCode. With the addition of Craft Alliance, which just opened west of Kingshighway, Delmar continues to show continuing and much-needed progress.

Visit LaunchCode’s website for more information.

Jazz St. Louis hosts a Virtual 25th Anniversary

Gene Dobbs Bradford, President & CEO of Jazz St. Louis, located in The Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz in Grand Center (3536 Washington) announced recently that programming would remain virtual for the remainder of 2020. That includes a celebration of the beloved organization’s 25th Anniversary which will take place this Friday, October 2.

The anniversary party will include a special, open-to-all streamed event that features artists from across the country. The evening will focus on the impact the organization has had on jazz in the St. Louis Community and nurturing the Jazz St. Louis Family throughout the years.

Pull up a chair and raise a glass to support Jazz St. Louis at 25. The online festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Jazz St. Louis Gene Dobbs Bradford

Jazz St. Louis will only have one 25th anniversary, and we can’t wait to celebrate it with you! On October 2, we’ll be throwing a party unlike anything we’ve ever done before.

Around the world, jazz fans will make a toast to everyone who has been along for the ride the last 25 years as Jazz St. Louis transformed from a small music program to an internationally renowned jazz venue with jazz education programs for all ages, and forum for thought-provoking community outreach.

This music-filled and mission-driven virtual celebration will include performances by some of our favorite local and national artists, stories from education partners and families, and many special surprises.

And because a party’s only as good as its guests, we want to include everybody—musicians, patrons, donors, and supporters of all stripes from the last quarter-century. Whether you’re a 20+ season ticketholder or a curious spectator, we want to see you there. So, for the first time ever, we’re giving away all the tickets for free.

Jazz St. Louis’ 25th Anniversary Virtual Celebration
Friday, October 2, 2020
6:30pm Pre-event Concert
Arrive at your leisure to a performance by our JazzU Students
7:00pm The Big Event
Gene Dobbs Bradford & Peter Martin host with performances by Regina Carter, The Bad Plus, Ann Hampton Callaway & more!
8:00pm After-Party
Denise Thimes caps off the evening with a special set not to be missed.

Help us celebrate 25 years of the uniquely American art of jazz in St. Louis by RSVPing today, and bring your friends!

RSVP and More Information

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Jazz St. Louis Gene Dobbs Bradford