Center of Creative Arts

Center of Creative Arts

Center of Creative Arts is a non-profit and home to the largest multidisciplinary arts education institution in the Midwest – serving over 50,000 people annually.
St Louis, MO

Project Impacts:

  • Currently, COCA serves a total of 14,915 students, 7,024 of which are from low income families and 7,255 who are minority students. At the completion of the project, COCA estimates increasing these numbers to 20,583 total students served, 9,693 of which will come from low income families and 10,012 who are minority students.

  • At the completion of the project, COCA estimates that it will be able to serve over 19,000 more people annually on site, an increase of 38% over the 50,000 served annually at present.

  • COCA will create 55 new construction jobs and 80 new FTEs, in addition to retaining 40 current employees.

  • COCA is located in a severely distressed census tract with a poverty rate of 36.7% and an unemployment rate of 12.5%. Over 15% of individuals within this community live below the poverty line, of which 64% identify as white, 30% as African American and 4% as Asian.

NCIF: $5.7 million NMTC allocation
CDFI Partner: Legacy Bank and Trust ($1 million direct loan)
Large Bank: U.S. Bancorp ($4 million NMTC allocation; $4.8 million NMTC equity investment)
Other CDE Partner: IFF ($5.3 million NMTC allocation)

National Community Investment Fund provided $5.7 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to finance the expansion and renovation of the Center of Creative Arts (COCA). COCA is a non-profit located in St. Louis - home to the largest multidisciplinary arts education institution in the Midwest - annually serving over 50,000 people from the community and surrounding region. Since 1986, COCA has established an array of arts-based programming designed to engage, develop, and educate people of all abilities, levels and backgrounds. Throughout its history, COCA has sought to provide equal access to art education/participation and dedicates 20% of its annual budget to provide free access and scholarships to LMI students. Today, the organization coordinates over 1,300 on-site programs for community members and engages students through mentorship programs and trainings with the support of financial assistance to the most underserved in the community.

As a result of the strong demand for COCA’s services throughout the community, its current facility has reached capacity, leading to long wait lists and significant enrollment bottlenecks. To grow operations to meet this demand, COCA is undertaking what they have titled the Create Our Future Campaign - a $30.5 million development project which includes the renovation of 10,265 sq. feet of their current facility - as well as for the vertical construction of a 44,381 sq. ft. structure on an adjacent lot. The renovation and construction will help grow the current offerings of the organization and help expand the organization’s impact by serving an additional 19,000 people annually over the next 10 years.

Legacy Bank and Trust exists to serve as the financial leader in economic and community development by providing financial products and services in the largely underserved populations of Southcentral Missouri, and its employees and shareholders are committed to partnering financially with customers to ensure vital capital investment in these communities.