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Our History

Born as a project of Missouri Jobs with Justice (MO JwJ), Bread and Roses united community activists and union members with an art exhibit in 2003 that spurred dialogue around 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 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.


As a leader in Missouri JwJ, Joan Suarez continued to develop the Bread and Roses project and lead its establishment as an independent non-profit in 2015. Under her leadership, Bread and Roses Missouri built their Youth Initiative and the Workers’ Theater Project, including The Workers’ Opera.  On this foundation of arts and activism, Bread and Roses Missouri has built strong momentum.


Joan Suarez is now Founder Emeritus, and in early 2022, Bread and Roses added its first full-time Executive Director, Emily Kohring, and a Youth Programs Coordinator, Luisa Otero Prada.


We are making a significant, positive impact in our communities today.


Artistic expression as a Right




Dignity of Labor

Economic Equity


Racial Justice

Purpose Statement

The purpose of Bread & Roses is to amplify and elevate the stories of working people through art, performance, and activism.

Board & Leadership

Executive Director

Emily Kohring

Executive Director

Board Chair

Laura Stefacek

Board Chair

Board Vice Chair

Michael Paplanus

Board Vice Chair

Board Member

Roseann Weiss

Board Member

Founder Emeritus & Co-Chair, Council of Advisors

Joan Suarez

Founder Emeritus & Co-Chair, Council of Advisors

Co-Chair, Council of Advisors

Gwen Moore

Co-Chair, Council of Advisors

Board Member

Lynn Maupin

Board Member

Youth Programs Coordinator

Luisa Otero Prada

Youth Programs Coordinator

Board Member

Shannon Duffy

Board Member

Board Member

Shevaré Perry

Board Member

Board Secretary/Treasurer

Mary Barber

Board Secretary/Treasurer

Past Board Chair

Sherrie Hall

Past Board Chair

Board Member

Shelton Solafleur

Board Member

Council of Advisors

Bread and Roses Missouri values our Council of Advisors, an esteemed group of activists, organizers and art leaders who provide their expertise and wisdom as Bread and Roses Missouri plans programming and strategy for continued growth and success.


Joan Suarez, Co-Chair

Gwen Moore, Co-Chair

Joan Beuckman

Mark Bielicke

Joan Briccetti

Danny Gonzales

Percy Green

Sue Greenberg

Malaika Horne

Brenda Jones

Earline Jones

Rhona Lyons

Sukanya Mani

Karla May

Cassandra Medley

Donnie Morehouse

Diana Oleskevich

Julie Terbrock

Christopher Worth

Bronwen Zwirner



At Bread and Roses Missouri we rely on our donors, funders and sponsors to support the events, workshops, exhibits and performances that give voice to the struggles of working class people. Fair compensation for labor is a core value and we are proud that we pay every teaching artist, creative and performer that works with us.  Art IS labor, and it is work that deserves fair compensation. 


We invite you to join us in creating arts and humanities experiences that make a tangible difference in the lives of working families.

To donate by check:

Bread and Roses Missouri
5585 Pershing Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63112

To offer an in-kind gift or find out how to sponsor an upcoming Bread and Roses MO event, contact us at

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