KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The theme for Black History Month this year is African Americans in the arts.
The art scene in Kansas City, Missouri, is growing for Black artists.
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“There is a lot of great art and it’s a standard of not only putting out great art, but describing yourself and that takes openness, takes vulnerability, takes you putting your soul within a painting,” said Deaunte Thomas.
Thomas and Deante Howard say every brush stroke tells a story.
“We have individually and collectively throughout the nation gone through like there is a whole different lens of how we see life and and that lens is portrayed in how we do our art,” said Howard.
While their paintings are different, the two men can share their experiences as they worked to make their marks in the city's arts scene.
“It’s like, hey, there is somebody that is here, that is from this, that can say this what I’ve been through," Howard said. "This is what you’ll have to go through, this is how you navigate that."
That's needed during tough times when many Black artists struggle to find their worth or find venues to showcase their work.
“So like knowing how to price your art, knowing how to finish your art, knowing how to set up a collection of art and base that off of the entirety and not just one,” said Thomas.
Howard says Black artists in Kansas City are getting more exposure.
“ I thank them because I could have went another two months and I could have had my artist's block” said Thomas.
Howard said the Chiefs run of success has helped.
“It’s always been this I love art type of thing in the city, but it was very low key," Howard said. "But because of the exposure that the Chiefs is getting and bringing to the city, it's like all these artists happen to have been here and now we are seeing them."
Howard and Thomas say as Black artists in KCMO they will help create a picture of what it means to be Black in the arts.
“We are here, see us, support us,” Howard said.