I am Jarius Edens, and this is my story. I've been a creative since I can remember. It started with cutting pictures out of my mother's Sears catalogs and turning them into outfits & rooms of furniture for my imaginary dolls. Then, the creative focus shifted to notebooks, pens, & stickers in grade school all the way through college. I decided to become an English teacher because I loved the idea of creating an inviting space for children to come learn & feel safe. Nine years later, I knew it was time for me to expand outward, into my community, but life came by and changed my plans. My husband was swiftly relocated to a new city & I was learning how to adjust to being away from my support system I had known all of my life. I was away from my family & friends and what an adjustment that was. Then, I realized that I had a problem to solve.
There was no comfortable, chic place for me to express my creative side while meeting new people in the community who were also creative. Okay, there was Starbucks and Barnes & Noble, but I always felt like I was extending my welcome in those spaces. I needed a space that I could use to create, connect, and build a community of support. Was I the only one who needed this space? Absolutely not was the answer I received when I asked others in the community if they needed a space to be creative, positive, and productive.
I decided to launch a campaign to CREATE the space everyone I spoke to really wanted. The space would have chic furniture, unique tools like vinyl cutters and a t-shirt machine, a room to set up a backdrop for photography, headshots, and flatlays. Creatives and community members from around the city would come to this space to create, work, communicate, collaborate, and relax. It would be their dream space to interact with others. The Pinterest-inspired home away from home.
Then, my educator passions began to blossom. I wanted to see young people mentored in the space, workshops held there, and community leaders use the space to network & socialize. I wanted this to be a collective space for the entire community. Art shows & poetry nights would take place here. Artists would create here and musicians would play here. It would be the heart of the mall.
The KL (as I affectionately call it) is what emerged from my months of thinking & planning. I'm looking forward to the growth and vibrancy that The KL will bring to Springfield and the communities that live here. Come on out and meet us!