Mission and History


Bread & Roses Missouri is a celebration of the arts in the lives of working people and their families. As G&Cthe labor hymn for which the organization is named reminds us, “Hearts starve as well as bodies…”
Mission: Bread & Roses Missouri uses an arts lens to examine social and economic justice issues in all our programming. We believe that cultural and creative expression are a means to affect deep and lasting social change.
We accomplish our mission by organizing and participating in arts and humanities events, exhibits, and workshops for and about workers and their families that address the root causes of poverty and inequality, and that move us toward an economic base that benefits the entire community.  All proceeds benefit Bread and Roses Missouri!
Bread & Roses believes in equality for all on and off the job. Using an arts lens, we are committed to fighting against racism, sexism, classism and other forms of discrimination and for affirmative action, cultural diversity and a more just society for all.

Our History

Bread & Roses Missouri celebrates its birthday as an independent arts organization each October. Birthed originally fifteen years ago as a project of Jobs With Justice out of discussion about the racial dynamics still pervasive in our own communities, Bread & Roses brought together commuIMG_1764nity activists and union members with art that spurred dialogue about various social justice themes. Sixty artists submitted work for the first art exhibit, many of them union members and community activists that had not shared their artistic talents so publicly before. One of the most exciting parts of the developing the exhibit was the participation of many non-traditional artists – a house painter who takes photos, a postal worker who writes music, single mothers who were facing Medicaid cuts, …victims of police violence, …factory workers who had lost their jobs overseas. It is in that same spirit that Bread & Roses Missouri continues today. To learn more about our current projects click here.


Our Programs

A Youth Initiative began as a pilot project at Riverview Gardens High School in 2010, has since moved to Saint Louis City Recreation Centers. The program operates in five city recreation centers and two venues serving refugee and immigrant youth, working with youth between the ages of seven and eighteen, providing afterschool and summer programs with a focus on themes of home, family, work and community. By encouraging artistic expression and creativity, youth explore and deepen their understanding of these topics.download
Labor Day Week Film Festivals showing films that tell the stories about working people were organized for the last two years. Matewan and Bread & Roses, shown in 2015, and Chicken Run shown in 2016, were co-sponsored by the Saint Louis Labor Council. Trumbo and Sing Faster were screened in 2016 in partnership with SAG/AFTRA and the CWA City Council.