Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

aka CAM St. Louis   |   St. Louis, MO   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

EIN: 43-1202816


The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis promotes meaningful engagement with the most relevant and innovative art being made today.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Lisa Melandri

Main address

3750 Washington Boulevard

St. Louis, MO 63108 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

The Forum for Contemporary Art

The First Street Forum



Subject area info

Arts and culture

Art museums

Population served info

Children and youth




Artists and performers

NTEE code info

Art Museums (A51)

Visual Arts Organizations (A40)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis presents, supports, and celebrates the art of our time. Our mission is to create meaningful engagement with the most relevant and innovative art being made today.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Public Programs

CAM visitors are invited to engage in a variety of meaningful ways with the exhibitions on view.

Population(s) Served

CAM offers in-depth art-training programs with a focus on contemporary practice for pre-teens and teens.

New Art in the Neighborhood
In this nationally acclaimed studio art program, high school students work with local and international artists to immerse themselves in contemporary art issues and practices.

Teen Museum Studies
This innovative career-based program introduces teens to the inner workings of the Museum. Participants work with staff members to organize an exhibition from start to finish.

LEAP Middle School Initiative
A collaborative approach to art-making for middle-school students with a focus on a specific medium and mentoring from local artists and art educators.

Population(s) Served

CAM connects local artists to the St. Louis community through such dynamic exhibition opportunities as the Great Rivers Biennial and as the annual Teen Museum Studies selected artist. We also hire a lineup of Resident Teaching Artists to lead such signature programs as ArtReach in St. Louis Public Schools and our studio art programs for young people: New Art in the Neighborhood and LEAP Middle School Initiative.

Population(s) Served

Discover our playful explorations of contemporary art through these workshops, kids activities, and programs.

Play Dates
Families with children of all ages and abilities are invited to participate in this free, live program offered the second Saturday of each month at CAM.

Family Days
A great day at the museum for everyone in the family, with art activities and performances to entertain all ages.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

CAM is dedicated to engaging with its immediate neighbors and the broader region in which we live. We aim to promote access to contemporary art as a forum for making connections and community care.

CAM Connect Workshops
Discover creative ways to connect and collaborate with CAM through art making. Free workshop instruction and materials are provided to organizations that serve community groups including children (6 years and older), people with disabilities, cultural organizations, and senior citizens. Participants will explore art and have their turn at an accessible hands-on art project.

Collective Impact
Collective Impact is a community-centered project facilitated by CAM and Creative Reaction Lab. It makes use of an Equity-Centered Community Design™ model to identify, develop, coordinate, and collaborate in artistic interventions that directly relate to the challenges faced in our shared neighborhoods.

Population(s) Served

CAM’s signature ArtReach program provides students and teachers various programs free of charge and aim to increase access to the museum.

ArtReach Partnership: Sumner and Vashon High Schools
Since 2017, CAM has partnered with Vashon High School to ensure a consistent art curriculum is available for students. Resident Teaching Artists and museum staff provide weekly art classes throughout the year. In 2021, CAM expanded its ArtReach Partnership program to include the historic Sumner High School.

ArtReach Intensives
Each academic year, CAM collaborates with a cohort of middle school and high school teachers to foster a community of practice and craft in-depth classroom programs led by CAM’s Resident Teaching Artists.

ArtReach Drop In Workshops
These workshops take inspiration from our exhibitions and offer students an opportunity to explore art through making—workshops include a hands-on art project that can be completed in one class period.

Population(s) Served
People of African descent
Multiracial people
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people
People of African descent
Multiracial people
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


Lisa Melandri - Outstanding Arts Professional 2020

St. Louis Visionary Awards

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of free admissions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Museum visitor attendance count, recovering and growing post-pandemic.

Total number of audience members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Museum visitor attendance and virtual audience

Number of professional artists employed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Total dollars received in contributions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Contributed operating income and net of special events

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

With a dynamic array of changing exhibitions, CAM provides a thought-provoking program that reflects and contributes to the global cultural landscape. Through diverse perspectives offered in our exhibitions, programs, and educational activities, CAM actively engages a range of audiences to challenge their perceptions.

The three main goals of CAM's Strategic Plan are:
Goal 1: Increase the influence and impact of the Museum
Goal 2: Achieve a sustainable business model
Goal 3: Build a nimble, joyful, and effective organizational culture

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis works to enrich lives and inspire curiosity, creativity, and learning through experiences with contemporary art.

We showcase work being made today for today’s audiences—art that reflects the world around us, and helps connect us to the most salient issues of our time. Not having a permanent collection allows us to be nimble, adaptive, and responsive—both to the global art world and our local community. CAM is a launch pad for artists—many of whom go on to critical acclaim—as well as a venue for St. Louisans to experience figures of international recognition. A site for discovery, CAM is a gathering place in which to view and enjoy contemporary visual culture.

Inspired by the work on view, we engage thousands of people inside and outside the Museum’s walls through a wide array of activities for people of all ages, including artist talks, hands-on ArtReach workshops in schools and neighborhoods, play dates, First Fridays, and more. We provide more than 100 public programs per year—the majority of which are free—and maintain a deep relationship with St. Louis Public Schools, especially those within our one-mile radius.

CAM nurtures the creative minds of our city’s young people through free, in-depth art education. In New Art in the Neighborhood, our nationally acclaimed studio art program for teens, and LEAP Middle School Initiative, students work with artists to become immersed in contemporary art issues and practices. In Teen Museum Studies, an innovative career-based training program, participants experience the inner workings of the Museum as they organize an exhibition from start to finish. These programs have proven long-lasting impact—developing better students, better citizens, and better artists and art audiences for the future.

Founded by a group of civic and cultural leaders in 1980, CAM has transformed from a small gallery into a major arts institution, now permanently housed in a 27,000-square-foot building designed by renowned American architect Brad Cloepfil. CAM is located in the heart of St. Louis—the Grand Center Arts District. Admission is free.

CAM’s current strategic plan was put into place July 1, 2015 and ended December 2021. Through it, we have accomplished many things, including: exhibitions that received national acclaim and helped propel the careers of artists; new partnerships with Vashon and Sumner High Schools and Creative Reaction Lab and expansion of our community’s access to art education through Lifelong Learning and Community Drop Ins; successful fundraising campaigns and growth of membership; creation of a Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion staff working group and board committee; cultivation of an increasingly diverse and engaged board of directors; and the weathering of a global pandemic.

CAM's current Bridge Plan (2022-2024) provides the Museum with a short-term roadmap to prepare for our upcoming 2025 strategic plan. We are taking a year and a half to conduct preparation work for that strategic plan, including extensive audience research, assessments, and reflection. Therefore, our Bridge Plan serves as an interim set of benchmarks to help steer cohesive efforts across the museum and to prepare for the next chapter of visioning its future.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time


Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 46.90 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.5 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 10% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $1,153,887 $836,386 $1,661,649 $257,895 $805,147
As % of expenses 48.4% 37.3% 70.2% 10.2% 27.8%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $868,938 $547,151 $1,375,518 -$40,725 $461,618
As % of expenses 32.5% 21.6% 51.9% -1.4% 14.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $4,032,190 $2,175,661 $2,345,080 $3,186,763 $10,804,085
Total revenue, % change over prior year 4.0% -46.0% 7.8% 35.9% 239.0%
Program services revenue 2.3% 0.6% 0.9% 0.7% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 8.6% 12.5% 15.8% 16.9% 3.7%
Government grants 9.3% 3.6% 14.7% 24.4% 2.8%
All other grants and contributions 77.0% 112.5% 61.6% 52.3% 92.2%
Other revenue 2.8% -29.2% 7.0% 5.7% 1.2%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $2,386,371 $2,241,636 $2,366,354 $2,516,556 $2,896,183
Total expenses, % change over prior year 0.4% -6.1% 5.6% 6.3% 15.1%
Personnel 59.0% 64.3% 64.6% 62.0% 59.2%
Professional fees 2.1% 2.5% 2.9% 3.0% 2.4%
Occupancy 5.8% 6.1% 4.3% 5.2% 4.7%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 33.2% 27.1% 28.2% 29.9% 33.7%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Total expenses (after depreciation) $2,671,320 $2,530,871 $2,652,485 $2,815,176 $3,239,712
One month of savings $198,864 $186,803 $197,196 $209,713 $241,349
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $100,000 $0
Fixed asset additions $533,990 $0 $0 $0 $567,035
Total full costs (estimated) $3,404,174 $2,717,674 $2,849,681 $3,124,889 $4,048,096

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Months of cash 2.9 11.8 6.9 5.9 3.1
Months of cash and investments 57.2 62.7 77.5 63.7 58.0
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 11.4 16.5 23.8 23.2 21.1
Balance sheet composition info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Cash $568,779 $2,196,335 $1,369,523 $1,245,715 $756,779
Investments $10,813,445 $9,519,315 $13,921,457 $12,121,759 $13,232,102
Receivables $2,339,169 $2,020,014 $1,283,340 $1,340,538 $8,781,794
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $9,921,160 $9,896,387 $9,935,501 $10,017,178 $10,584,214
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 37.5% 40.1% 42.5% 45.1% 45.9%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 2.1% 1.0% 1.8% 1.1% 0.4%
Unrestricted net assets $8,473,444 $9,020,595 $10,396,113 $10,355,388 $10,817,006
Temporarily restricted net assets $2,948,576 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $8,130,742 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $11,079,318 $10,561,766 $11,544,665 $9,749,774 $17,623,975
Total net assets $19,552,762 $19,582,361 $21,940,778 $20,105,162 $28,440,981

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Lisa Melandri

Lisa Melandri, CAM Executive Director, leads the region’s premier contemporary, non-collecting art institution. Since 2012, during her tenure, CAM has shown a dynamic range of solo exhibitions and thought-provoking group shows, presented alongside public programs for all ages that provide access and insight to the work on view. She has expanded the Museum’s reach through innovative arts education programs offering opportunities for St. Louis Public Schools and the community alike. As curator, Melandri has organized exhibitions Mickalene Thomas: Mentors, Muses, and Celebrities; Salvatore Scarpitta: Racing Cars; Sanford Biggers; Amy Sherald; Christine Corday: RELATIVE POINTS; Kathy Butterly: Out of one, many / Headscapes; and Shinichi Sawada: Agents of Clay. Prior to joining CAM, she was Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Programs at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Melandri serves on the Board of Directors at Webster University.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Board of directors
as of 04/02/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Jackie Yoon


Term: 2021 -

John Ferring

Plaze, Inc.

Andrew Srenco

Hatch Street Capital, LLC

Alexis M. Cosse

Nancy Kranzberg

Emily Rauh Pulitzer

The Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Jacob W. Reby

Lewis Rice LLC

Rex A. Sinquefield

Sinquefield Enterprises LLC

Michael Staenberg

THF Realty Inc.

Donald Suggs

St. Louis American

Patricia D. Whitaker


Jackie Yoon


Joe Herman


Paul Cambridge

Armstrong Teasdale LLP

Bradley Bailey

Saint Louis University

Hedwig Lee

Washington University

Gail E. Childs

Edward Jones

Rick Shang

Vulpes Corp.

Jane Clark

Jane Clark, DMD

JiaMin Dierberg

Dierberg Star Lane Winery

Shereen Fischer

Terry Hoffmann


Judith W. Levy

Julian Schuster

Webster University

Kate Warne

Edward Jones

David Bentzinger

PNC Bank

Larnise Boain

Reinsurance Group of America, Inc. (RGA)

Sylvester Chishom

Global CTE Learning

Preston Davis

J.P. Morgan Private Bank

Tracie Wolfmeyer

Candice Carter-Oliver

Confluence Academies

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/2/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/22/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.


Fiscal year ending
There are no fundraisers recorded for this organization.