Agnes Wilcox, Founding Artistic Director (1947-2017)
Under the artistic direction of Agnes, Prison Performing Arts grew out of The New Theatre. It began with one play about a woman getting out of prison, produced at the St. Louis City Medium Security Institution. There was no looking back. Her vision for engaging justice-involved people in the arts energized St. Louis. By the time she retired in 2015, PPA was operating in 7 facilities across Missouri.
“Agnes created ‘ripples’ of learning, of self-respect, of teamwork that were propagated (and continue) through every single PPA participant as well as through her friends and family. She always presented an intellectual challenge and brought out the best of anyone - inmates, friends, strangers. Her absolutely infectious laugh, friendship, enlightened presence, unwavering commitment to justice, and wise counsel are sorely missed.”
– Mark & Peggy Holly, Friends of PPA