Loutopia: Panel & Play

The answer: us! Come be part of our hands-on panel + workshop experience, where we explore how design and creativity can reshape our shared public spaces!

2-3pm: Panel Discussion

3pm: Workshop


Samantha Lee Smugala

Samantha has a diverse background in marketing, design, and strategy. Her career has led her to work for both small and large firms, with projects ranging from logo design to go-to-market strategies. Samantha has worked across industries in education, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, and manufacturing. Samantha’s mission with Pocketparks is to activate and beautify city streets by reimagining and redeveloping underutilized plots into beautiful recreational areas for the community.

Ed Sharrer

Ed brings a passion for placemaking and community development to the YARD & Company team.

For over six years Ed served as Executive Director of Kendall Whittier Main Street, a nonprofit aimed at restoring the Kendall Whittier neighborhood of Tulsa. During his tenure, Kendall Whittier transformed from a commercial district with a 30% occupancy rate to a Great American Main Street Award winner in 2020.

Ed launched the City of Tulsa’s Destination District program to create vibrant commercial districts throughout the city. Most recently, he served as Director of Marketing for Leadership Tulsa, a non-profit that develops and connects diverse leaders with board service opportunities in the community.

His background also includes six years as a city planner working primarily with historic neighborhoods and commercial districts, serving as chair of the City of Tulsa’s Route 66 Commission, and running his own freelance creative and web design firm.

Ed graduated from The University of Tulsa with a Bachelor’s in Marketing and the University of Oklahoma with a Master’s in Urban Design.

Jayvn Solomon

Based in St. Louis, Jayvn's craft resides on a spectrum between progress, impact, and connection. Since pursuing his own creative practice in 2020, Jayvn has been exploring placemaking as a muralist. His practice stems from his concept series, "Loutopia"; a creative study of how the natural environment, design, and local collaboration can unlock the incalculable potential of St. Louis. While he's worked with companies such as Ideo, STL CIty SC, & Square, Jayvn also uses his expertise to build community.

Vanessa Cooksey

As the Regional Arts Commission’s (RAC) third leader and first President and CEO, Vanessa Cooksey leads the largest public funder of the arts in St. Louis.

Vanessa has more than 25 years of business and civic leadership experience. She’s held marketing, communications and philanthropy leadership positions with a variety of companies including Mary Kay Cosmetics, The City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office, Cartoon Network, Anheuser Busch, Wells Fargo and Washington University in St. Louis.

Vanessa is a serious change-maker and has led innovative arts, education, technology and health & wellness initiatives reaching millions of children and adults over the course of her career. Always willing to serve in her community, Vanessa’s humanitarian efforts over the last three decades have helped promote and advance human welfare and social reform across the United States.

Russell Dow

As a leader in Experiential Design, Russell’s background in architecture, brand, and storytelling has led to opportunities to work with leading firms and a wide variety of clients ranging from civic to thematic. Russell’s experience includes work in the themed entertainment industry, sports activations, brand experiences, corporate, urban wayfinding and placemaking. Russell’s work at Arcturis focuses on placemaking, wayfinding and experiential activations in addition to participating in the development of many public projects. Most recently Arcturis had the pleasure of teaming on Pocketparks and Great Rivers Greenway, for more information about Arcturis go to www.arcturis.com

Russell leads St. Louis’s chapter of SEGD (Society of Experiential Design) as chapter chair in addition to his roles as Senior Experiential Designer at Arcturis and Adjunct Professor teaching Environmental Graphic Design at Maryville University in St. Louis. Some notable projects include Enterprise Center Biergarten, Hershey’s Chocolate World, Nickelodeon Universe, Radio Flyer Head Quarters, Glentown Center Urban Wayfinding, Al Ain Zoo and Botanical Park and Shuttle Atlantis Museum at Kennedy Space Center.

When & Where
Sat, Oct 15, 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CDT
The DUC Park
923 Locust Street
St. Louis, MO 63101