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Local business displays artwork by minorities to offer same industry opportunities for exposure

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Posted at 5:32 PM, Sep 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-26 19:14:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Restoration Emporium, a local family business located in the Country Club Plaza, is making sure everyone in the art industry has the same opportunity and space to display their work.

President of RE: brands, Chrysalyn Huff, says the decision to showcase the works of diverse artists in her business, especially minorities, was prompted by a life experience.

“Last year during the protests, we had some windows that were broken on the first night of the protest. And it was a real eye-opening moment in our life,” Huff said. “We just wanted to do something that speaks out to say, ‘We’re going to do everything that we can with every opportunity that we have to make a difference.'”

Huff says it has given her business the opportunity to work with people they have never worked with before. She hopes her small act will inspire others to do the same.

“Plaza Art Fair has a long history, but it's a juried event," Huff said. "So it is an event where they have to pay and they have to do all that to become a part of it. I think that's a wonderful thing, but some of the artists that we have here, it’s not something they can do.”

Deaunte Thomas is one of the five artists featured this year at Restoration Emporium. It is his first year at the Plaza Art Fair, but he says the work will not stop until he gets his own tent.

“It’s challenging, but it's also rewarding because once you actually break through and make it, I can hold that door open for more artists that I know and that I see, and help funnel their end,” Thomas said.

Seeing his art on display reminds him of everyone who has helped him get to this point. He hopes people of all different backgrounds will see his art and feel an appreciation for the African American history in Kansas City.