We had the good fortune of connecting with Cicely Carr and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cicely, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
At Kindred Creatives Art and Literary Press, our mission is to promote the love of literacy, creativity, and entrepreneurship for all and we do that with many community events. We began this organization with a fundraiser called, “The LIT Christmas” where we accepted donations of books and school supplies and had a “shopping” day for the youth. As the founder of Kindred Creatives ALP, I knew the challenges in education with literacy rates being very low where students are 3-7 years behind in their reading level, first hand. As a certified English, SpEd, and ESL teacher, I wanted to transfer my love of literacy to my students who struggled to pass the STAAR, scored low in English, Reading and Writing on the ACT and SAT, and in everyday practice had a hard time reading and writing. I felt that I needed to do more.
Many of the students that I taught were Black and Brown but the books and passages did not reflect them leaving a huge disconnect. Opening Kindred Creatives ALP I had a mission to place on the shelves authors that looked like them. On the shelves, you will find authors and makers that are BIPOC. The shelves are to elevate and promote voices that get censored, erased, or changed.
Access is huge for me, and being a creative of color, I understand how challenging it is to be seen. So the store not only holds authors, it holds makers and artists as well. We have 29 members in the collective, authors, makers, and artists from all over the country. They share their truths and their passions. Being able to have their products at a store, stretches their reach to share with the world.
We are excited to be a beacon or incubator for creativepreneurs.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always been a creative person since childhood nutlike many kids who try something and it doesn’t come easy you give up. I played the comparison game and the results were horrible. So, I forgot about creativity. Went to college got a bachelors in something did some traveling, got married, got divorced, suffered with anxiety and depression then I moved to Texas. I became a teacher, and then there was more stress and anxiety.
My first summer off, it took me two weeks to recover from the school year and once I did I found a hobby. It was watercoloring and I wasn’t good at it. But this time I knew that if you kept trying and practicing you get better. School went back in session, and almost every day, the stress made me say, “I just want to be home creating.” Every summer I picked up a new craft, making tee-shirts and designing things with my Silouhette, acrylic, polymer clay, DIY projects and more. It was year three when I realized that art was therapeutic… it became my medicine. Friday nights it was wine and watercolor. Then it became, let me teach you how creating is healing. Then it became, I just want to create all day everyday. That is how the bookstore became more than a bookstore, it was a maker and creative space.
I call my store my passions in a box!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I really love Denton Square! There are so many cute artsy spots and boutiques which is not as crowded like Bishop Arts and Deep Ellum.
I love Music City Mall Lewisville because, it is no longer a “Mall” it is like a marketplace filled with small businesses of all types. So many black and women owned businesses! It’s a whole vibe.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Kindred Creatives has been supported by so many people and I am so thankful. Starting off with my family and the board of directors. My family has been so hand on with the planning, implementation, and sustaining it. Living in four different states, they have done more than I can imagine and I am couldn’t ask for a better family and support system. Thank you!
My board, that’s funny… the president was my supervisor my last year of teaching and had just met me but I guess we saw something in each other that connected us. My VP was my co-worker, a fellow English Teacher and poet and she was all in! The one that suggested that I become a 501c3 was all in and has been so supportive in so many ways. My treasurer and her team has kept me in check and I love it!
The fact that they all want to see this succeed is a blessing.
My first $500 dollar donation came from a woman I knew about 15 years ago and saw what I was doing and jumped in without much information, that encouraged me so much.
My coworkers, came in put in lights, helped me clean and organize and was there supporting and sharing, y’all it was mind-blowing!
I have met so many new people building strong relationships because they see the vision, understand the mission, and see the value in this business, it’s so dope.
And to all those that have liked, shared, visited, did a Google Review, that confirmation is everything!
Thank you to everyone!