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Episode 53: Kinya Christian Uses Art to Reveal Why 1619 is More Than Just a Number

Spread the Ozark love

IANWA Open 0:11

It's time for another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas, the podcast covering the intersection of business, culture, entrepreneurship and life in general here in the Ozarks. Whether you are considering a move to this area, or trying to learn more about the place you call home, we've got something special for you. Here's our host, Randy Wilburn.

Randy Wilburn 0:41

Hey folks, and welcome to another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. I'm your host Randy Wilburn. And this is a second try at my introduction for this guest today I'm sitting here with the lovely Kinya Christian. She's the CO designer and artist of the 4209 creative and she is a Local Northwest Arkansas resident and an artist and I got connected with Kinya because I reached out to some folks at the Rogers little Chamber of Commerce and Karen wagon was kind enough to connect with me. And we talked a while back. And Karen said one day, she'll be on the podcast to talk about Rogers and lol and all the great things that are happening in that area. But she reached out to me the other night during the Super Bowl and said, I've got somebody I think you need to interview. And that's when she introduced me to Kinya. That's when she introduced me to the 1619 art project that she's working on here locally. And when she mentioned 1619, which I'm familiar with, because it's it was an outstanding collection of essays, a collection of articles that were featured in The New York Times. And it also became a podcast that originally started on the daily which is the new york times daily podcast and then it morphed into its own podcast called 1619. And that podcast has been widely heralded and received and then 2019 I believe that was one of the most listened to short form series podcast because it's only a couple of episodes, but it's it's absolutely amazing. And will, will show will put the link to the 1619 podcast and to the daily in the show notes so you can check it out for yourself. But without further ado, Kinya Christian, how are you doing? I'm wonderful. Thanks for having me. Absolutely. Absolutely. You and you. It's so funny because I was I was telling Kinya that for all of my regular listeners, I very rarely make the mistake of not hitting a record, but I didn't hit record and she was saying such great things. So I was like, Okay, well, we'll rewind this and do it over again. And only reason why I'm sharing this is because nothing in life is perfect. And you're going to make mistakes. And I always remind my listening audience that you know, you just got to go out there and get 1% better each day. And so even sometimes in the throes of things you forget to hit record. So, Note to self, don't forget to hit record, especially if you're going to record some amazing people. Miss Christian. So why don't you tell our listening audience a little bit of get give them a little taste of your superhero origin story and how you ended up here in Northwest Arkansas.

Kinya Christian 3:09

I like that superhero. Um, so I'm originally from Kansas City, Missouri, specifically the suburb of Independence. And as I mentioned to you previously, people think of the Chiefs Kansas City Chiefs coming from Kansas City, Missouri, but actually, if you ask the people who live in Independence will tell you it's actually Independence.

Randy Wilburn 3:31

And there's a lot of pride in your voice. I mean, your boys did what had to be done.

Unknown Speaker 3:36

They Did, and I i've been hardcore Chiefs Fan. I was born a Chiefs fan,

Randy Wilburn 3:42

Right. So that's all you know,

Kinya Christian 3:44

That's all I know.

Randy Wilburn 3:45

Yeah. So I and we have a lot of lives. I mean, that was the thing when I first moved here. I recognize that if you're not from Northwest Arkansas, and you come here, this pretty much two camps. You're either a Dallas Cowboys fan for a lot of people. There's a small camp of people that were Originally St. Louis Rams fans, but when they left St. Louis like I have one friend that's from St. Louis, and he's like the Rams are dead to me. So I don't even acknowledge the folks out in California. And then of course, you have a lot of Chiefs fans. Yeah. So yeah, this is kind of like, Chiefs nation south, if you will.

Yes. It's wonderful to see how the, how everyone has embraced the Chiefs. At first I was a little a little jealous. I'm like, wait a minute. These are my Chiefs. But you know, we share them with everyone. Patrick is a special guy. Very talented.

Absolutely. Yeah. And you know, with the way he plays and with the you know, Andy Reid being a coach, I'm so glad he I mean, I always I always thought he was a really good guy. And just the way he's handled everything. When he was with the Eagles, the problems that he had with his with his two boys, and just everything about him struck me as just being a really good guy. So I'm happy that he got his first Lombardi Trophy after all these years. So you know, mean, next, you know, I think that's a perfect testament to the fact that you don't ever give up

Unknown Speaker 4:59

Yes, absolutely is exactly that. And then it kind of speaks to a little bit more of my personal story really just keep going until you do don't give up and having moved from the Inner City, Kansas City as a young married couple with a little baby, my parents moved into Independence during a time where you would think, you know, this is late 70s, early 80s. We've gotten past the neighborhood moving away when a black family moves in, but that's not the case. Yeah, that happened to them. And they had to deal with that. And then having their two little girls go to an elementary school there and being amongst the first black students there, they had to deal with that too. And they did a wonderful job of raising my sister and myself to not become hardened by that not to have a chip on your shoulder behind that. And all gratitude goes to them for for raising us to be real well rounded and And have a love of everyone and to still see good in people

Randy Wilburn 6:05

I think you also mentioned fueled by optimism.

Unknown Speaker 6:07

Fueled by... Yes, optimism, yes, that there are people that can still be that and they just have to be taught. Right. Right. You know and racism and I say this a lot is a trauma. Yeah, really it is absolutely a trauma and going in and pulling in the art piece of this. I have a lot of my family members are very creative people. My father is creative. He drew murals on our wall freehand and colored them in and he made clothes for us. He made cut. I mean, really, Dad was the homemaker. You know, he was he made my mama dress, you know, he that was something that he that he did and he and you know, that passes that down to us his love of all the forms of music that comes from him. You know, I played the alto sax all through high school and every once in while I fiend, I fiend for it. Yeah, I haven't I haven't pulled it out in quite a while, but I still have one good, you know, and I still enjoy that that all came that creative sense that sense of exploration. I think I mentioned to you that growing up, I wanted to be an astronomer, you know, that wasn't going to be possible because I had more of that artistic streak in me, but you know, and I wanted to explore that. And, you know, my parents allowed me to Yeah, so when I got married at very young age, oh, no young I was 23 years old. But that move. That's what brought me here to Northwest Arkansas. And when I left Kansas City and worked for a year book publishing company, as a temp, and I loved it, and I said, you know, what I want to go into publishing changed my mind. You know, this is what I want to do. So I come to Northwest Arkansas, and I get in with a printer and work for a printer for a period of time and then I worked for a sign shop. And then I worked for a trade show exhibit company that I work for a company that did product design and product development marketing for Walmart vendors. And then from there went and worked for actually a full service Ad agency where I was thrown into a world of learning TV and radio and web design and other forms of print that I had never explored before. And that whole I mean, very creative career, very broad career in a 20 year time span. And until recently, I had really pursued my art professionally outside of digital, right. And in the last 12 years, I've been pursuing that outside of digital and I'm loving it.

Randy Wilburn 8:37

How would you rate I mean, Northwest Arkansas as a place in terms of whether it stifles creativity or encourages creativity from an artistic perspective?

Kinya Christian 8:46

Depends on who you are. I know that's kind of a loaded question and not really answering the question, but me personally, I don't think it's stifled my creativity, but it certainly hasn't. fostered a professional career. As an artist, as a local artist, I feel like the arts are starting to... They are here in Northwest Arkansas absolutely here because of Crystal Bridges. But I feel like a lot of people are bringing in artists instead of grooming or taking care of the arts that are here on the ground. Yeah, that's what I think is lacking.

Randy Wilburn 9:25

Right. And I think the Momentary, obviously, it's going to play a huge part in that, because now you're going to create you, you you've essentially created a new platform where you can give people that are local, an opportunity to develop their craft. And as I think about this, I just sat down recently with the, with the folks from Theater Squared, which is a local production company, and, and, you know, they're big on trying to get local people to be part of their productions. And so I see that is as these are newer outlets where this creativity is being allowed were necessarily Theater Squared, I guess maybe wasn't around when you first moved here, but it's it has developed

Unknown Speaker 10:05

Well, one of the organizations that that was here when I got here was known as Rogers Little Theater. Okay. And it's downtown Rogers, and it's community theater. And all of the people from the ushers to set builders to the actors. The performers are all volunteer. Yeah. Completely hundred percent volunteer organization at the time. I mean, they even it was a dinner theater. So even the people that came in to, to, to serve the food, the caterers, you know, they got paid, but they were pretty much the only one Right, They had a theater manager and that was it. So the getting rights to plays and all that came from the supportive patrons coming to see the shows and then donors, but that organization has grown by leaps and bounds and I've been so fortunate to be part of it. I was a board member for a period At a time I volunteered there, you know, cleaning bathrooms and ushering people in and making sure food is set up properly to working on the actual marketing and helping them rebrand themselves as Arkansas Public Theater. And now they've grown. They've got an executive director and a theater manager, Hello! So that have two paid position. Exactly, yeah. But to see that evolved to see the organization evolve, and like you say, they want they need community involvement. Absolutely. And so that's so important.

Randy Wilburn 11:34

Yeah. So I mean, I love that. And that's one of the reasons why. I mean, again, the whole idea behind I am Northwest Arkansas is to really talk about all the things that make this area great. You've got the businesses, you've got the culture, right, which includes the arts, you have entrepreneurship, and then you have just life in general. So I mean, there's so much that we could obviously talk about but I really want to kind of hone in on this event coming up. You're working on a project. And I would love for you to share with this audience. Exactly. Just give them a little, little, I guess, view into the 1619 project from your perspective and what you're hoping to accomplish with this art exhibit. And then we'll go over the particulars about where it will be and all that coming up starting next week.

Kinya Christian 12:19

Right, so I was introduced to the 1619 project. First of all, through Facebook, I was seeing a lot of sponsored content, but I didn't click through on it, because I thought it was going to be more of what I already knew of the year 1619. This is not a new idea. But then Gwen Kelly, who is a veteran in multicultural marketing, and diversity, equity inclusion, consulting with several different companies and interning with some, some different projects and familiar with the area. She lived here for 12 years. Right? working for a company that recruited her specifically for that, but she reached out to me. She said, Have you looked at this? I think that I want to see this introduced in Northwest Arkansas, and maybe in a dramatic fashion, you know, a dramatic reading a dramatic play. How could we bring this to life? And I said, Well, hold on Hold that thought. Let me check this out. Because you're you're talking to me about it. I've seen it on Facebook. Let me take time to read it. And much like you, I was.. Will use the word I was shook. Yes, this is information that I have always known but in the way that the Nicole Hannah Jones put this together. Just, it was mind blowing.

Randy Wilburn 12:34

Yeah. Yeah, it was. And for the listeners, Nicole Hannah Jones is an award winning writer, reporter at the New York Times, and also just for reference, just because there's some people listening like what is 1619 and the significance of it? And a lot of people ask that question. And the significance is simply, that was the beginning or the first time that Africans were brought over as slaves to the United States. And so they celebrated 400 years since Africans set foot here on the soil in the United States. And so that's the whole significance behind when you hear people say 1619. It's a date, almost akin to the date when the pilgrims landed here.

Absolutely. And I was going to say that the a lot of people talk about the year 1619 and want to discount it, but no one discounts when the Mayflower got here. A year later. So we can't really... we can't discount what happened in 1619. And the effects that are still being felt today. Yeah, and so having read that project, and I became Gwen's biggest cheerleader, I'm like, let's go, let's do it. Let's bring it here. But you know, their were always constraints to bringing something of that magnitude, the way you envision it and trying to work within those constraints. I said, What if we did something a little bit smaller? She said, Well, you know, let's think about it. You know, we'll see what comes up. And sure enough, I participated in Art on the Bricks. Every second Thursday of each month. The Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce supports this. Art on the Bricks is a program to bring people to downtown Rogers and to highlight art in several different locations. And the Rogers experimental house, invited me and about 20 other artists to come as kind of their opening celebration to the year. Sure. And it's Black History Month. Well, in January when she first you know, approached me to show my art I said, Absolutely. So I participate in that. And then at that event, in January, I said to her, what if we brought in emerging artists, specifically black artists, to help celebrate Black History Month? And she said, Oh my goodness, yes. Okay, you're on it. Tag you're it! And I said, Okay,

You're probably like, man, did I just say that?

A little bit? I did a little bit but like I you know, at the outset of it well, I said previously, on my website, I described myself as a jack of all trades, trying to master at least one right?

Right, you are doing a good job.

Unknown Speaker 16:21

So I thought, Well, okay, here we go. Let's do this. Let's jump in with both feet. That's how I do things. And so I did. I thought, you know, the light bulb went off. I said, this is it. Gwen this is where we introduced Northwest Arkansas, to the year 1619. Absolutely, absolutely. We're going to do it in the framework of artwork. Because you think about when you go to a gallery or a museum, you're allowed to stand quietly and reflect on that piece of artwork. Maybe read a little bit about that artwork. And you're doing that internally, you're having that conversation within yourself. And you walk away, and you're still being affected by that. Right. So I thought, this is a way for people to learn about the 1619 project, learn about the year 1619. And the effects of it still felt today, where they can go up and read it, and silently have that conversation with themselves. All right, they don't have to have a sit down face to face where they feel uncomfortable talking about it. They don't have to feel bombarded or attacked. Yeah, for what they may be thinking or how they want to react to what they're being told. They can just sit and read it. And then they can be inspired or moved by the artwork from local artists here in Northwest Arkansas, who are also appreciating this culture, specifically black American culture here. And Gwen, bless her heart. She said, you know, this should be opened up to not just black artists or people of color, you need to open this up to everyone. And so I said, You know what, you're right. Everyone and it goes back to what I've always known to be true is that there's inherent good in people, and that there are other people out there who are sincere, and who appreciate this culture and who may want to know more about this history. So let's invite everybody. So there are artists, out of the 11 artists, I believe that I've that are gotten so far because I'm still getting artists that want to participate. It's like I'm hanging. I'm working on this. And I still have people coming in wanting to to be part of it, but it's a pretty split down the middle. Okay, black artists and white artists and the artwork is beautiful, all of it and it fits perfectly. All the excerpts I've chosen from the essays we received approval to use, match up with the artwork. I couldn't have been more happy with how this is going to turn out.

Randy Wilburn 19:13

Wow, that's awesome.

Kinya Christian 19:15

And people can come in and like I said they can, they can learn about this. And they can reflect quietly, and take it in. And I hope that they take away something that they didn't know before, be inspired by it, and talk about it with others. And for the artists that have participated that talk back at the end of the month, I want them and I want to give them an opportunity to express why they got involved in this why they said you know what, yes, I want to participate in this and what they hope to accomplish by being part of it. What do they want people to walk away when they when they put their artwork out there now what do they want? In return? And, more than that, as a community of Artists locally, what would we like to see? How would we like this to continue to go forward? And that's ultimately what I want. I want a permanent place for this type of artwork to be seen all the time, a permanent place for these pieces of the 1619 project to be framed up with the artwork, where businesses and organizations and students can come in and learn about it and get connected with the artistic community here, not just a passing exhibit. Yeah, but a permanent place.

Randy Wilburn 20:35

And speaking of passing exhibit, so that the idea is that this is going to be on location at the Rogers Experimental house.

Kinya Christian 20:43

Yeah, until the end of February and then it goes to the Rogers Historical Museum until the end of March.

Randy Wilburn 20:51

So that you have you'll have those of you listening right now. This episode is going to come out just a couple of days before the grand presentation of the 1619 project. Here in Northwest Arkansas, you'll have some time even after this podcast episode has aired, to check it out whether at the experimental house or at the Rogers Historical Museum. And then if you're listening to this after the fact, so like in April or May or maybe even sometime next year, you know, you'll have information in the show notes where you can reach out and connect with Kinya and learn more about what she's doing and where, if anything, this particular installation is and if maybe if it has a permanent home, you'll learn more about that. And then if nothing else, I think one of the reasons why I didn't want to necessarily get into all the particulars of the 1619 project and kind of rehash exactly what's discussed specifically on the podcast, or through the essays or the articles is because I would encourage all of my listeners to check it out for yourself. You know, I don't even think I could do it justice by talking about it. I think obviously, from an artistic perspective, Kinya and her team, and all these amazing artists are going to give it their perspective from an artistic standpoint. But I think just to understand the historical significance of that date, and what it means to this country, black and white, it's, I would encourage you, I'll put the link in the show notes, go listen to the podcast, and form your own opinions based on the information that shared it. It is, I think, I've listened to it three times. And that you know, several episodes, it's all I can say is that it's deep. I think the first time I listened to it, I cried a little bit, just listening to it, just listening to the stories and it's told through the lens of the lives of several black families through those 400 year period and things that they I mean, this is all accurate historical facts. I mean, this is not conjecture or this is one person's opinion or somebody. This is all documented fact that that is discussed in here. So it's just the idea that, you know, we, those hit that that forget their history are doomed to repeat it. And, you know, I think in our country, we're all in this together. And so the more that we can understand his historical significance in context, I think the better off that will we will be, especially when it comes to our relationships. Because we, you know, we all have to live here on this on this tiny planet. And I think it's incumbent upon us to work as hard as we can to try to understand each other. I was like how Berne Brown talks about looking at some, you don't really talk to somebody, I mean, it's one thing to talk to someone, most of the times we're talking over somebody or past them, but when you really stop to look into somebody's eyes and understand them, understand where they came from, understand their historical proximity to you and just the relationships that exist there. I think it's important. So you know, I think we need to do more of that and I get it that you know, for some of you listening to this might be a little bit more touchy feely because I talk about barbecue and I talk about entrepreneurship.

Kinya Christian 23:50

Wait, wait, wait, now you talk about barbecue.

Randy Wilburn 23:52

No, but I mean, listen. Let me finish my thought. So no, I'm just saying I mean, I yeah, I talked about Some weighty subjects I talked about some light subjects, I just think it's in the context of things. What Northwest Arkansas has meant to me and means to me is that there are so many different factors that play into what I believe makes this place a great place. And just the fact that you're doing what you're doing is symbolic to me for to that end.

Kinya Christian 24:19

Absolutely. And let me speak to that because I think about well, so I've been involved in with with any parts of Rogers since I got here. Okay, first off, getting involved with working with the Rogers Little Theater. And then I actually worked on the marketing for the city of Rogers before it even had a Convention and Visitor's Bureau. So when it was just a Rogers A&P Commission, I sat in on those meetings, I learned what was going on what was happening with the city and how they were trying to brand themselves. What were they? What are they? Who is Rogers? And, I worked on those I sat in on focus groups trying to figure out what the what Rogers brand is. Bentonville has its identity. Springdale has an identity. Fayetteville has an identity. Where does Rogers fit in on that? And to your point, with Northwest Arkansas being a unique place, I feel like Rogers is the most unique of them all, because it's everything. Rogers is groundbreaking. Rogers is forward thinking, Rogers has been a place that has fostered my creativity, to be sure. And all of the leadership over the years, specifically at the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce has been nothing but supportive of me and what my endeavors are. And, this project is no different. They completely embraced it. And I'm so excited to see where Rogers goes with this. With this project and really, with developing its art and culture scene, because I feel like it's coming.

Randy Wilburn 25:58

Yeah, and I'm glad you mentioned it, because I've actually was involved with a Rogers they have a project called pride thing. I don't know if it's called Project 2030. But it's their focus on where is Rogers going to be in the next 10 years? Yeah. And, you know, what are going to be the things that are going to allow Rogers to really evolve and grow? I mean, Rogers has a very diverse community. I mean, they're just a lot of questions about how they do it. And I commend Rogers for being at the forefront of that and not just, you know, kind of like waking up one day like, Oh my gosh, I never thought of this. It's like they're actually doing things but I would say every city here in Northwest Arkansas is progressive from that standpoint. And I think that's important, especially people that are listening to this that may be thinking about relocating here. Maybe Tyson's on your radar, JB Hunts on your radar, Walmart's on your radar, you're thinking about coming here to work or you just realize that this is such a very rich environment for corporate employment. This place is on the move. It's as I say, it's on the come up I mean it and it's it is an Not this is not your grandfather's Northwest Arkansas. And that's not to say that that's a bad thing. It's just no place ever stays the same. It does change and evolve over time. And I just think that I think that, that this is actually a fairly progressive area, and it continues to evolve and will just keep getting better every day. That's why that's one of my mottos is get 1% better every day. Yes. And I think Northwest Arkansas was doing the great job of that, and Rogers especially doing that. So

Kinya Christian 27:26

Yes. And to your point about this kind of backtrack a little bit on the 1619 project. I appreciated that you said that, you know, you and I sitting here today could not do it justice, but encouraging people to go out and do a little bit more and dig a little bit deeper and read that project because what will overcome the fear that fuels racism is knowledge. When you realize and understand and believe that knowledge is power. That's where we go from here. You know, you've got to get get past the fear and the apprehension and teach yourself.

Randy Wilburn 28:04

Yeah. No, it's Yeah, it's really, really important.

Kinya Christian 28:09

And then do you have to have a heart? That's receptive? Yeah. Right. Your heart has to be in a place where you're willing to take it in and learn from it and not be hard and you don't want to be have a hard heart. What does that say about you going forward as a as a person as a human being just making it through life? Yeah, soften that heart up, allow it to be receptive and take the knowledge in and and you're going to grow?

Randy Wilburn 28:32

Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think and that's a perfect point. Because I mean, I certainly I'm constantly looking, for the best in everyone. And I think that just because that's my focus, and I have I know for I have friends that they look at the worst and everybody and it's, you know, some people and people listening to this know exactly what I'm talking about. You have friends that their focus is always negative, then you have some friends that their focus is always positive, or how do I get to that positive place and so that's kind where I am, and I think that the world, the world could be a much better place if we would just start looking at the glass half full as opposed to half empty.

Kinya Christian 29:08

Exactly. And to that point, you know, in, you know, the idea of cultural appropriation, I spoke to this in in another interview, where I said, you know, to me, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? And it doesn't matter, even if you try to repackage it or whitewash it, the fact is that you loved it just the way it was. Right? And you can't erase that, you know, deep down inside, you know, you liked it just the way it was. And that's, that's all I need to see. You know, however you want to. The way you want to express that that's on you, but don't try to front. Yeah, you know, go ahead and do go ahead and do that. We really know. And instead of trying to repackage it, or whitewash it or put it in a different way. Just go ahead and Embrace it. And then guess what happens, then people will come to you. And they will say thank you for doing that. Thank you for expressing your love and appreciation for all that is whatever that culture is. It would be it, you know, Black or Hispanic or Marshalese. I don't care what it is. And then when you think about the love you will get if you just let it go.

Randy Wilburn 30:25

Exactly. It's so funny. You brought that up. And so I will air some of my own experiences growing up. It's kind of like I thought about I grew up in northern New Jersey, and I can remember listening to groups like and I don't know, because I think it's because my father just had a very eclectic music palette.

Kinya Christian 30:40

Okay, let's hear everything cuz that's my dad.

Randy Wilburn 30:43

So I was, I mean, I would listen to like Ambrosia and you know some old school stuff, but it wasn't like traditional things. So like a lot of my friends. I mean, I had black and white friends, but my black friends be like, why are you listening to that white music? And I'm like, Dude, this music is good. And then when I started listening to Boston and Led Zeppelin and all this oh my goodness. When people would be like what are you doing you don't understand but if I could imagine that would be the same way that some you know some young white boy might... a young white kid might be listening to Rap you know or Tribe Called Quest back in the 90s. And didn't want to let all his friends know that he liked that music and it's just like, it's just music. You know, it's it's, it's not white or black. It's an expression of art is the expression of that particular artists, you know how they saw the world and what they were sharing and I just you know, as you say that it just reminds me it just it creates a level of equality that we need to we need to try to aspire to right where we don't look at it through the lens of black or white. It's just, this is just great art. This is great music.

Kinya Christian 31:50

Right, and but love this and then to when you start breaking down those artistic styles. When you look and peel back all the layers of the history and you see that some of that had its beginnings with slaves that showed up here in the 1600s and the 1700s. Think about what that will do to your worldview. It shouldn't blow your mind what it should do is help you to appreciate the people who are around you. Black, brown and in between.

Randy Wilburn 32:20

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, we could certainly go on and on. Oh, my goodness. Yeah, there's a lot that I could share. I just wanted to...

Kinya Christian 32:29

We'll see you named off some of those bands. You got it. My dad raised me on the Beatles.

Randy Wilburn 32:33

Oh, yeah. I love the Beatles. But I mean, my father was like a, like a Three Dog Night and Doobie Brothers kind of person.

Kinya Christian 32:45

CCR.

Randy Wilburn 32:46

Yeah, I mean, we go we could go back to Traffic and Mandrill. So and then. It's so funny. I went to see Santana when he came to the Amp this past year. I was blown away. And big shout out to a friend of mine who took me to that concert and it was just I just, it was so cool to see all the people in that audience.

Kinya Christian 33:13

How about Chicago? Look, every time Chicago has been here. I have been here.

Randy Wilburn 33:18

That's funny,

Kinya Christian 33:19

And I did get my tickets to Steely Dan as well.

Randy Wilburn 33:23

All right, Steely Dan and Steve Winwood. Steve Winwood, right, so yeah, so that's going to be a great. That's going to be a great event at the AMP in June. And actually, I will put a link in the show notes. For those of you that listen to this before June. You should check out that Doobie Brothers concert because it's going to be it's I'm sorry, Steely Dan concert because it's going to be outstanding. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So now, man, listen. Alright, so here's here's the deal. Those of you that are listening to this podcast, especially if you're listening to it right as it comes out, because I know I have some hardcore listeners. I really want you to make it down to the inaugural event for this the Art Walk Rogers the actual first day is what day?

Kinya Christian 34:06

February 13th. It's a Thursday night is kicks off the doors are open four o'clock and some of the artists will be there at 4:45 or there about the Arkansas Arts Academy fifth and sixth grade dance troupe will perform like CC Finley is... oh my goodness she reached out to me she heard about this project she heard about the exhibit and said "I want in!"

Randy Wilburn 34:33

Okay, okay, that's awesome.

Kinya Christian 34:34

So they're going....talk about getting emotional watch is something I have to admit. She sent me videos of these girls dancing and I got a little I got a little emotional Yeah, watching the girls dance because they were so into it and, and and loving it and I'm like, Oh, yes, please. Get as many of those kids rounded up and bring them down.

Randy Wilburn 34:54

Listen, Triple A as I like to call it or better known as the Arkansas Arts Academy has some super talent What'd you think they're both in the Lower school and in the Upper School and I only the only thing that I'm sorry about with regard to this date is I will physically be out of town speaking at an event otherwise I would be there with bells on but I want some of my listeners, my I am Northwest Arkansas listeners to do me proud by showing up at this event, by tracking Kinya down and saying hey, I heard about you from that podcast with Randy. I really liked it and I wanted to come down here and support you.

Kinya Christian 35:28

And, listen if that's not enough, Torchy's is bringing out their Queso that night. Okay, Torchy's will be there Come check it out. Open in Fayetteville and Rogers. Yeah.

Randy Wilburn 35:45

It's right across from where the new Top Golf is.

Kinya Christian 35:49

yes, sir. That Queso is on point. It will be there. And also, I'm going to have some of my favorite wines there.

Randy Wilburn 35:56

Okay. Oh, yeah. Real quickly. You are studying to be a Sommelier. Yes, I am. For those that aren't as cultured and I'm not including myself in that group but I mean, if you are a sommelier you are a special individual. And so Kinya is working towards that. And there's a lot to be said for just being able to ascertain that the great things in life like a good wine a good you know, bourbon, a good cigar and I mean, there's something to be said for that and we may have to have another episode to kind of talk about because because because there are when you talk about the finer things of Northwest Arkansas, and you know, people like to imbibe from time to time and they like to take in that stuff. That's, there's just so much going on here. It's hard to keep track of it, but I didn't want to talk too much about it with this particular episode, but we're going to have to put a pin in and come back and talk about your life as a up and coming sommelier.

Kinya Christian 36:58

Up and coming in training. In fact, that'll be good to comeback because I'll be making my next my yearly trip out to Napa in a couple of weeks actually so...

Randy Wilburn 37:09

Good after you do all this stuff after I do all this because I'll be ready yeah you will be ready for glass of wine that is for sure so. Well Kinya it has been nothing short of a pleasure to have you on the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. I really appreciate it. You certainly do embody what Northwest Arkansas is all about, at least in my book, but as well as in the books of a lot of other people that I've talked to that listen to this podcast and are really inspired and encouraged by what we're trying to do here. So please keep doing what you're doing. Kinya Christian again as a CEO, Designer, and Artist at 4209 Creative and you can also catch her at KinyaChristian.com. I'll put a link to both of her sites in the show notes. I would certainly like if you can support her if you can support her efforts, what she's doing, but also just support the Art on the on the Bricks with the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce, they do a lot of work with that. My kids, and my wife and I went down there this summer and went into one of the stores that was participating. And we painted some really great pieces of artwork in that and it was just a lot of fun.

Kinya Christian 38:16

See, I would love to do something like that, where we could make it and we can hear about these drink and draw drink and paint. Yeah, you know, but I'm, I wanted to take that up a notch. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Some of those some of those wine pairings to write of artwork, I could get it all the way down. That would be fun. I'm so glad that you all were able to

Randy Wilburn 38:37

Oh, yeah, we did. And we're because I told Karen that we were going to do it again. And so it's just I think people need to know that these these events are available, and you should certainly partake of them and they're free. I mean, that's the other thing, too. So the event that I went to... I went to two different location. People were serving appetizers, they were serving drinks. I mean, it was really really it was well done. I was very impressed with it. So I certainly want to encourage that now. I'll also put a link to the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce in the show notes. You can check them out and a link to Karen since she is the reason why we're even sitting down talking right now. And then we'll just go from there. But any last thoughts before we close?

Kinya Christian 39:14

No. Other than that, thank you, absolute for providing the platform short for this and, and thank you to Northwest Arkansas for being the way that it is so inclusive and ready to accept people like myself in you and what we're trying to accomplish here. You know, it's making it the good life.

Randy Wilburn 39:37

Right, exactly right here and people say a laugh all the time. And I think those of you that listen a lot, no, I say this, when I tell my friends from back East and I live in Arkansas that you know, they asked me how long you know how long you gonna live there and like me, I love it here. It's great. And I mean, I could technically live anywhere, but I chose to live here and I'm staying for a while. It's grown on me and y'all not going to be able to get rid of me that easy. So

Kinya Christian 40:04

They haven't gotten rid of me. I've been here 20 years.

Randy Wilburn 40:05

There you go. Absolutely. So what can you thank you so much we really appreciate.

Kinya Christian 40:10

Okay, thank you.

Randy Wilburn 40:10

Absolutely. Well, there you have it, folks, another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas, I really want to encourage you to come out and be a part of this 1619 event. If you are listening to this after March of 2020, that's okay. Just connect with with Kinya online, connect with her website and wherever this 1619 program is, will make you aware of that. And if nothing else, just connect with the show notes so that you can learn more about the 1619 project. Learn more about what Nicole Hannah Jones was doing with that and maybe read some of her essays, some of the articles that were written in the New York Times. So I'd really appreciate that and we would appreciate it that you just continue to support us in any way that you can. I'd actually do one of three things you can either you can share this podcast with a friend, I've asked for you to visit IamNorthwestArkansas.com and join our email list so you can get our weekly newsletter, and then I'd also ask if you get a chance wherever you listen to this podcast, please write a review, and leave a rating and let us know what you think about the podcast what you like what you don't like we've had, we've gotten some great reviews, and we want to start reading them on the air. But we would love for you just to kind of share your thoughts and sentiments about what we're doing here with this show. And we're only going to continue to grow 2020 is going to be an amazing year for us. And we're excited that you've taken time out of your busy day, whether you're on the treadmill, whether you're walking on the Razorback trail, whether you are riding to work up in Bentonville, wherever you're going, or whether you're somewhere else in the country, and you're listening to this podcast, trying to figure out whether or not you need to move here. Do it. Trust me. You'll you'll thank me later. That's all I have for you guys and I will catch you next week. Peace.

IANWA Open 41:51

We hope you enjoyed this episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. Check us out each and every week available anywhere that great podcasts. can be found. For show notes or more information on becoming against visit. I am Northwest arkansas.com. We'll see you next week on I am Northwest Arkansas.

About the Show:

We recently had a chance to sit down with Kinya Christian, CEO, Artist, and Designer with the 4209 Creative. Originally from Independence, MO, Kinya has been in Northwest Arkansas for the past two decades. She considers herself a Jack of All Trades but, according to her website she is working on mastering at least one! 

By the looks of her website, she is doing a great job as an artist. Kinya is inspired by a lot of things and The 1619 Project serves as her latest inspiration. The 1619 Project is a collection of essays from the New York Times on the significance of Africans first arrival here in America as slaves and what the past 400 years have represented to the evolution of African Americans. 

Kinya has taken a very heavy topic and assembled a collection of local black and white artists in Northwest Arkansas who have provided their interpretation of the 1619 Project the only way they know how – through art. 

Kinya will share her reflections of this project in a show in Rogers, AR, Reflection of the Black Experience, at the Rogers Experimental House from February 13-29, 2020. The collection will then move to the Rogers Historical Society until March 29, 2020.  

Art on the Bricks Art Walk Thursday, Feb 13, 4:00 p.m. – 7:30 pm Rogers Experimental House, 121 W Walnut Street, Rogers, Arkansas

This episode is a great chance to learn about the diverse art scene in Northwest Arkansas and how even difficult subjects like The 1619 Project can be represented, interpreted, and discussed through the lens of Art. 

We also want to acknowledge the efforts and support of the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce helping to get this event off the ground.   

Listen to this podcast and read the transcript to learn more about Kinya and The 1619 Project. 

If this podcast episode resonates with you please let us know by commenting below or by dropping us an email. We appreciate each and every listener of this podcast. 

 All of this and more on this episode of I am Northwest Arkansas.   

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