Student-created organization to host art show featuring Black creators



Akyn will hold an art showcase featuring Iowa-based Black creators on Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m.

The Iowa-based organization, Akyn, will host the “Black Ice” art showcase Saturday. The show will highlight Black artists, performers and vendors from the Ames and Des Moines area.

Akyn was created in 2021 by co-founders Kaleb Nichols, a junior in liberal studies at Iowa State, and Arabia Parkey, a University of Iowa student majoring in journalism and mass communication.

“The show will simply be an art showcase where vendors will be selling their art and merchandise,” Nichols said. “Anyone that comes to the event will be sure to walk into a space full of Black youth, positive energy, great music and an overall great atmosphere.”

The showcase will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. at 4625 Reliable St. in Ames.

Events such as the Black Ice Art showcase have taken place in the past, thanks to Akyn. Exactly one year ago, Akyn threw a similar art event in Ames.

“One of the biggest reasons Akyn was created was due to the fact that both co-founders saw and experienced the lack of safe spaces and cultural events for Black youth,” Nichols said. “So instead of waiting for someone to create these opportunities and spaces for Black youth, the co-founders took it upon themselves to actively create solutions to their problems.”

Nichols described Akyn’s focus behind the arts.

“Both co-founders wanted to extend their reach and range and begin to focus on ways they can create for their community, in which they decided to take focus on arts and community,” Nichols said.

Akyn’s goal is to ensure Black youth can find, support and celebrate different artists that look like them. They wish to continue to grow the culture within the state of Iowa and provide Black youth with positive cultural environments, Nichols said.

Akyn members hope participants see the benefits of bringing Black artists and youth together in a supportive environment.

“We hope people see the brilliance of Black creators within the Ames area,” Nichols said. “We also hope people see how beneficial and impactful it is when Black youth successfully come together to support one another. We also hope people can leave with a great experience.”

To learn more about Akyn, visit their Instagram.