ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – More than two years after being shot eight times in Soulard, a dancer is set to take the stage again.
Rain Stippec was shot while in a car in Soulard in February 2017, and has under gone several surgeries and rehab.
Stippec has been dancing since she was a toddler, from ballet to hip hop. This weekend, she plans to dance again.
“I would like to be known as a dancer again and not the girl who was shot in Soulard,” Stippec said. “I’m so nervous. I didn’t think I was gonna be nervous, but I’ve taken a long time off from being on stage obviously.”
After the attack, her friend and fellow dancer, Paige Walden-Johnson, raised money to help with Stippec’s medical bills. That effort has now grown into “Community Arts STL,” which is focused on unifying the city through the arts.
This weekend, there will be artistic workshops, performances and discussions.
“We'll be discussing with the community, as well as FBI agents, police officers, surgeons, mental health board, Moms Demand Action, so the community can be part of the conversation of how we can move faster toward solutions, and not just talking about it, but how we can make a difference,” said Walden-Johnson with Community Arts STL.
St. Louis is a community still reeling over not only a consistently high homicide rate, but the 12 children who have been shot and killed since late April.
“We're hoping that with this festival and what Paige is doing, we can get people to learn how to express themselves through an art medium, whether it's singing or dancing or painting or drawing or video, it will help stop what we're continuing seeing on the news,” Stippec said. "Hopefully, we're starting to turn that train back around and edge it toward the positive of what I can do, as opposed to what happened to me.”
For the complete Community Arts STL schedule, click here.