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West End Community Center, a home for youth nonprofits.   

In 2025, the West End Community Center building will turn 100 years old. Within those 100 years, it hosted multi-cultural dances and cross-denominational partnerships in the 1930s. In the fifties, it housed St. Louis City’s first interracial arts center — People’s Art Center. More recently, the site was home to the Demetrious Johnson Foundation, hosting a myriad of community events and youth programs. Throughout its rich history, it has been a staple of the community, providing  enrichment to thousands of St. Louis residents.

The now empty halls echo with a century worth of stories, contributions, memories and positive impacts. The ballroom has seen weddings, parties, theater and community events of every shape and size. Its gym has had tens of thousands of residents step foot on its floor for formative experiences ranging from dances to sporting events. The classrooms once were a hub of skill building and educational growth for all of St. Louis’ residents regardless of their age, race or faith.   

As BWorks looks for a new home, we’ve started to evaluate the feasibility of spurring a rebirth of this now-empty city-owned cultural gem. This is an ambitious yet worthy dream: to create a shared space focused on empowering St. Louis’ children and teens through youth nonprofits.

This is a large project. But every big dream starts somewhere, and we believe our team and other youth nonprofits can rise to this challenge, especially if our city leaders walk alongside us.

Currently, this significant property is gathering dust. And right now, many of our youth are encountering new challenges and risks in our post-pandemic world. We could do big things at this location, and we are on a quest for the right partners to join us.

If this dream is something you are interested in helping make happen, please reach out to patrick@bworks.org. Let’s work together and do big, impactful things for St. Louis’ young people! Surely there is no better investment for our city to make than one that will have long-term positive effects on their lives.