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MasterMind Awards 2009 Introduction 

Last year Riverfront Times tapped four St. Louisans to receive our inaugural MasterMind Awards. Giving away money to local creative geniuses was so damn fun, we're doing it again!

There's plenty of fun about the MasterMinds. Not only do we present no-strings-attached checks to an extraordinary group of artists, we do it at a fabulous event: Artopia, which is itself a showcase and celebration of St. Louis' arts community. Just like 2008, this year's Artopia takes place at the St. Louis Artists' Guild in Clayton's Oak Knoll Park. (The Guild occupies the old stone house in the park, which is located on Big Bend Boulevard just north of Clayton Road.) The date is this Thursday, August 27, from 7 till 10 p.m.

In the pages that follow, we'll introduce you to this year's MasterMinds class:

2009 Visual Arts MasterMind
Cameron Fuller

2009 Performing Arts MasterMinds
The Improv Trick

2009 Film/Video MasterMinds
Oscar Madrid and Jim Ousley

2009 Literary Arts MasterMind
Beth Ketcher

These folks pursue very divergent creative paths, but they all share two crucial characteristics: a singular vision that enriches our local cultural mix, and, equally important, the dedication to pursue that vision.

I'd like to thank everyone who took part in this year's MasterMinds selection process, and in particular last year's recipients — Matt Krentz, Sarah Frost, Magan Wiles and Tim Lane — not to mention all the St. Louisans who took the time to nominate the people who inspire them — and us.

Please join me at Artopia. You can find more information about the party on RFT's website, at

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