Spotlight On: COCA

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As a national leader in innovative arts education, the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) provides meaningful arts experiences in its studios, gallery and theatres, as well as in schools, community centers, and corporate settings around St. Louis. Serving more than 50,000 people annually of all ages, backgrounds and ability levels – from enthusiastic amateurs to emerging professionals – COCA uses the power of the arts and education to build a vibrant St. Louis that is creative, connected and inclusive. 

A returning participant in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, COCA earned the esteemed title of Challenge Champion for their dedication to implementing environmentally friendly measures into everyday operational practices. With an ongoing commitment to caring for the environment in which they do their work, COCA’s Green Team has done a great job celebrating what the company is already doing right and identifying opportunities to grow their sustainability initiatives in creative ways. 

During the 2021 Challenge, COCA replenished its stock of reusable water bottles to promote the use of the facility’s water bottle filling stations, which have helped eliminate an impressive 60,724 disposable plastic water bottles to date. To further conserve energy and resources, COCA participated in Ameren Missouri’s BizSavers program for energy efficiency improvements to save $7,705 in incentives, as well as phased out the purchasing of fluorescent light bulbs in its historic Kuehner Wing, so that all facility lighting fixtures are now equipped to handle air quality-friendly, LED energy efficient bulbs. 

Other noteworthy innovations that helped COCA earn recognition in the Challenge include the promotion of sustainability through Youth Arts Education by integrating green themes into a portion of their summer camp programs. These included gardening themes where young participants explored gardens through art, stories and planting, in addition to upcycle camps where students pushed the boundaries of creativity through the repurposing of books, clothing and various other items. Moreover, during COCA’s annual Cleanup Day, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” themes were heavily promoted to help reduce harmful emissions resulting from the amount of waste that winds up in landfills. 

Last but certainly not least, COCA staff continued to operate in a hybrid work environment last year, where employees were able to work remotely as needed to cut back on commuting and travel times, which also positively benefits the region’s air quality! 

The Clean Air Partnership is pleased to recognize the efforts of organizations like COCA that continue to do their share for cleaner air by channeling their time and energy towards practicing sustainability. For additional information on how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, subscribe to their weekly E-Newsletter or visit To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore,  like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.