Hansmans receive ‘What’s Right With The Region!’ award from FOCUS St. Louis

Bob Hansman, associate professor of architecture and artist-in-residence in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts’ College of Architecture, and his son, Jovan, were honored at FOCUS St. Louis’ 11th annual “What’s Right With The Region!” awards ceremony May 7.

Held at the Sheldon Concert Hall, the awards showcase individuals and organizations that are making the bistate region a better place to live, work and learn. This year, 20 honorees were recognized in five categories: “Creating Quality Educational Opportunities,” “Demonstrating Innovative Solutions,” “Fostering Regional Cooperation,” “Improving Racial Equality and Social Justice” and “Promoting Stronger Communities.”

“All too often we are inundated with negative news about the community,” said Chris Chadwick, executive director of FOCUS St. Louis. “‘What’s Right With The Region!’ showcases everyday citizens and organizations working effectively to create a thriving and cooperative region.”

The Hansmans were recognized in the “Promoting Stronger Communities” category. Bob, a longtime community activist, is renowned for his work with underprivileged, inner-city youth. In 1992, he launched City Faces, a nationally recognized community arts program that offers year-round drawing classes in St. Louis’ Clinton-Peabody housing project. Over the years, City Faces has earned citations from the White House, the Missouri House of Representatives and Colin Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance, among others.

Today, City Faces is led by Jovan, Bob’s adopted son and himself a former student in the program. In addition, Jovan founded and directs Faces in the Loop, a gallery that features paintings and customized portraits by City Faces alumni.

“I can do some things on my own, and Jovan could have done some things on his own, but what we have accomplished together is more than either of us could have done alone, or even dreamed of,” Bob said. “Our lives together continue to surprise us and take us places we never thought we’d go.”

Said Jovan, “I’m just trying to follow in Bob’s footsteps. He made me believe in hope at a time when I didn’t believe.

“I guess this is what happens when you believe,” he said.

FOCUS St. Louis is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a thriving, cooperative region by engaging citizens to participate in active leadership roles and to influence positive community change. The organization also functions as the area’s citizens league, drawing on the support of nearly 1,000 members representing 16 counties of the bistate region.