“When life gave them a lack of women ’s artistic experiences, expressions, exhibits and stories, Alexy Irving, Ashlee Nicole, Erica LoveJones and Taylor Roberts joined forces to begin working on an empowering response to fill that void.” – Ebonie Young (From “Kuma Theory Breathes Life into Women’s Artistry in St. Louis”)
This response was an artist showcase titled, “The Year of the Woman,” that served as a breeding ground for creative people, connections and genuine support. On a beautiful afternoon at Urb Arts, people started arriving promptly at 7 pm to experience this unique and girl-power event. The energy from the time the doors opened to the end of the night was full of people appreciating the time and effort that went into the event curation and each artist in attendance.
The artist that were showcasing their work included: Kelsy “Ross” who brought her powerful woman inspired paintings; N’Dea of “Nifty Pirate” with colorful paintings, thrifted clothing’s and zine’s full of her other artwork; Kalyn “Bloom” Mcneil, who brought her very own personal hand-died garment; Janae Norman with her paintings symbolizing the strength of the woman; Ymani “Mani” Wince, who brought her printed photography; and Jasmine “Jazzy Pics” who captured the attendee’s at the event with her photo booth.
DJ Nico spun her empowering female playlist the entire night and kept the audience on their feet and dancing. Performances started at 8:30 and each performer offered a wide variety of art forms for the event. The first performer was “Bloom” who blew the crowd away with her Erykah Badu covers as well as other original songs. Next was Gloria “Glow” Mills, singing an original song and interlude. Rachel Nevels came straight from the studio and performed some newly recorded tracks from her producer Najee Person and a cover from Amy Winehouse. Rehema McNeil gave us unreleased songs that gave her a new fan base in St. Louis. Mcneil is a rapper and singer that came all the way from Indianapolis to slay the stage for The Kuma Theory. Lastly was Kayla “KV” Thompson spitting powerful poetry from her heart featuring the expressive dancing of Maya “MJ” Johnson.
In the building was several tastemakers, future artist for “Year of The Woman” and artist who wanted to check out and support other artist. There were also passer-byers that came in following the sounds from the performers and parents of the performers who felt the event was important to come support their amazing young woman.
The event was such an empowering event, from the performers thanking the event curators to the curators thanking the performers and artist, each showing gratitude for a successful event. Everyone left with a smile on their face and a new found love for the featured woman artist, which is what The Kuma Theory set out to do.
The plan is to continue this momentum for woman artist and build an environment where the woman is no longer kept out of St. Louis’ artist scene. Hopefully connections were built that night that will ensure the lack of women’s artistic experiences, expressions, exhibits and stories never happen again.
Make sure to check out the IG account and the Facebook page for features on other notable woman artist and updates on the next showcase. If you’d like to be involved email The Kuma theory at KumaTheory@Gmail.com