St. Lou Fringe announces that its current Executive Director and Founder, Em Piro, will transition from her role after the 2016 Fringe Festival occurring August 19-27 in Grand Center. Piro was the first Executive Director of St. Lou Fringe and founded the organization in 2011.  In her five years of leadership, the organization has grown significantly to produce a two-week, annual Fringe festival in addition to other productions and artist-focused programs throughout the year. Under Piro’s guidance, St. Lou Fringe has cemented its place as an organization devoted to facilitating connections between brave artists and bold audiences and promoting collaboration among artists in the St. Louis region.

The Board of Directors conducted a candidate search earlier in the year and, after considering both local and national applicants, has selected Matthew Kerns, a St. Louis native who returned to the city in 2015 to open the Drama Club STL, an arts school for kids and production company in Maplewood, Missouri, after twenty years working as an artist, arts educator, and arts administrator around the country.  Kerns’ past administrative credits include:  Education Director at Theatre Cedar Rapids, Director of Theatre at Sonoma Academy, and Chair of the Theatre Department at The Chicago Academy for the Arts.  Kerns will begin his term as Executive Director of St. Lou Fringe starting with the 2016-2017 season.  Kerns brings a passion for independent art, developed as both a producer and actor as well as an arts administrator. Having produced a show in the 2014 Fringe Festival, Kerns is a dynamic contributor to the St. Louis regional arts scene, and he is excited to continue the work of St. Lou Fringe in the future. Throughout the remainder of the 2016 season, Piro and Kerns will work collaboratively to direct the organization and prepare for an exciting conclusion to the fifth anniversary of St. Lou Fringe at the Fringe Festival in August.

From the St. Lou Fringe Board of Directors:

“St. Lou Fringe has been fortunate to have Em Piro as its leader for the first five years of the organization’s history. Em has built a strong, stable organization committed to the promotion of independent arts in the St. Louis region and dedicated to assisting independent artists in creating high-quality performance art for a broad audience. We wish Em the best and express our deepest gratitude for her tireless work for the organization. We are very excited to work with Em and Matthew for the remainder of the year and look forward to continuing to build St. Lou Fringe and serve the St. Louis artistic community for many years to come.

ABOUT ST LOU FRINGE: St Lou Fringe bolsters cultural identity in St Louis by providing a support structure to connect independent performing arts with accessible, affordable showcase settings for audiences. Fringe showcases theatre and dance, storytelling and spoken word, burlesque and acrobatics, visual art and more in a one-of-a-kind pressure-cooker of artistic expression. St Lou Fringe has been named “Best Theatre Festival” and “Best Theatre Surprise” by the Riverfront Times, one of “Nine Intriguing US Fringe Festivals” by CNN, and one of “Fifty Essential Summer Festivals” by the New York Times. The 2016 Fringe Season runs April through August. Up next: On May 21 2016, St Lou Fringe presents its popular performing and visual artist showcase and benefit event, FIVE-FIFTHS: THE AGE OF GLAM. For more information: