Who gave you the audacity to be an artist?”

Brian Owens Performing Live Photo Provided Courtesy of Sara Levin Photography
Photo by: Sara Levin Photography

The world-renowned artist and executive director of one the city’s premier music programs, Brian Owens, carefully thought about the question. “There are a number of people who gave me the audacity. My parents who were always supportive of me expressing myself in a creative way, my high school choir teacher, Mrs. Sharon Carter, who taught me that it wasn’t always about me, world renowned opera singer Christine Brewer who taught me that I didn’t need to move away to have a successful career in music….” Owens went on to name several others, including Michael McDonald who will be honored through an upcoming event here in St. Louis.

Photo by Sara Levin Photography

On September 29th, acclaimed singer, songwriter and community activist Brian Owens will host A Night For Life celebration and tribute concert honoring the music of five-time GRAMMY winning artist Michael McDonald at Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis, MO. The concert begins at 7:30PM. Proceeds will support the work and mission of L.I.F.E. Arts Inc. (Leadership, Innovation, Faith and Entrepreneurship), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization launched by Owens in 2014 to provide leadership development for urban youth and young adults pursuing the arts throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area using therapeutic methods to focus on the student’s mental and emotional well-being. During A Night For Life, the organization will present its first ever Champion for Life award to a member of the community who has dedicated their life to the development of young people.

A Ferguson resident, husband of 15 years, and father of seven children, Owens has a fiery passion for music that has served as the pedestal upon which he would build his non-profit, L.I.F.E. Arts Inc. “I never set out to have a nonprofit. My goal with my career was to use the gifts that God had given me to raise awareness and resources for nonprofits and organizations that were working with kids in underserved communities.” Despite it not being his primary goal, L.I.F.E. Arts Inc. was launched and has touched the lives of hundreds of young people who seek to build, learn, and grow their talents in the spaces of music and artistry.

Beyond developing the performance aspect of music, Owens and his team decided to break the mold and take a holistic approach to building artists and exploring all the areas in which the students’ skill sets can be utilized. “Most of the students that we work with are dealing with some type of trauma. If we as an organization haven’t provided a way to help students unpack their trauma, it doesn’t matter what we’re teaching them in the arts… we don’t compartmentalize their experiences. We want to address all aspects of their experiences in order to cultivate the whole person and the whole artist.”

The A Night For Life event is one that Owens hopes will be a display of the healing power and beauty that art can provide in the midst of chaos. The audience will leave with a sense of hope and pride after witnessing the tremendous talent and audacious courage of our community’s young people.

“The chaos that we’re seeing in this world is an opportunity. The question is, are we as a community going to take advantage of it.”

And this we ask of you; will you have the audacity to join us on September 29th as L.I.F.E.  Arts Inc. spread love and healing through the gift of art? Click here for tickets : A Night For Life Brian Owens, Michael McDonald, Kennedy Holmes!

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