Cecilia Nadal Receives the 2019 Missouri Arts Award for Leadership in the Arts

Cross-Cultural Engagement through the Arts

Artistic Producer

Cecilia has long been recognized by many organizations as the maven of cross-cultural engagement through the arts in St. Louis since 1997. This recognition comes from Women of Achievement, YWCA Leadership, St. Louis Visionary Awards, Encore.org Purpose Prize, Ethics in Action and the Adelante Award. Here are but a few of the innovative programs Cecilia has initiated:

1997 She began the annual “
Extraordinary Person of the Year Award” recognizing local humanitarians at Gitana’s mainstage performances.

1997 to Present --
Musical Programming is culturally based engaging multiple communities simultaneously. Examples: a) Karamu: Latin and African American Music b) St. Louis Sacred Music Festival including spiritual traditions from around the world c) The Roma Music festival brought together artists from the Spanish, Bosnian and north African communities all influenced by the Romani people d) Jewish and Muslim artists were brought together including representatives from Africa, the Middle-East and Far East e) Gitana has worked with the Indian community for joint presentations with our children and those involved with BalVihar.

2000 She brought the China National Orchestra to Powell Symphony Hall with a capacity crowd
evenly divided between African Americans, Asians and White Americans. Dancers included Chinese children from West County dancing with African American children from St. Louis City. Audience diversity to Gitana is as important as artistic quality. Co-Creating with the Chinese community she produced an award-winning film on Chinese music called Dance of the Dragon that won the Calop Award.

2007-Present-- Started the
Global Education through the Arts Program, a Community Arts Project for African American, Immigrant and Refugee youth who learn to work together through training in the performing arts, leadership and cross-cultural engagement.

2009 to Present --Gitana produces only
original plays that deal with issues of importance to the community including domestic violence, race and class, the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, the relationship between the Police and the African American community, the lives of refugee women in St. Louis and the community that exists between users of the St. Louis Metro system. All productions include educational programming that engage diverse communities in thoughtful and critical dialogue.

2010 Initiated the
Amherst Park Peace Festival to bring immigrants and African Americans together in peace through music and dance representative of the people who live in the Hodiamont/Page area. (Featured on PBS-Homeland: Immigration in America)

2009-Present Gitana has taught Cross-Cultural Engagement classes using the arts at the Nahed Chapman New American Academy, TRIO Program, Carpenter Branch Library and Ferguson Library.

St. Louis Cross-Cultural Engagement Conference at Webster University included topics on Poverty, the diversity within the Latino and Asian communities, Cultural Competency, Racism and Classism in St. Louis with workshops on the needs of immigrants and the community of people with disabilities. (280 attendees from nonprofit organizations)

2014 Gitana initiated a
social justice project that included Ferguson Protestors and Law Enforcement representatives. Using the arts, the project helped participants to debrief and share their feelings about their roles as change agents while stepping into the others shoes.

Many thanks to the Missouri Arts Awards for recognizing the work of Gitana Productions and the model this organization provides in using the arts as a vehicle for community building and cross-cultural engagement. Cecilia will be recognized on February 6 at the Rotunda of the State Capital building in Jefferson City.

Friends of Gitana are welcome to come! For information call 314-721-6556.