SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Missouri State Black Arts Expo is a student-led event, created to celebrate art in the Springfield community. 

“This event is to celebrate us, to show our culture, and to help other people get exposure to our culture,” says Tylea Wilson, the organizer of the event. “We’re using this to express to all the businesses on campus, student entrepreneurs and multicultural businesses out in Springfield. It shows diversity.”

The expo started off small in 2019. 

“The originator was Naysa Adams,” said Wilson. “It was at first just where people came together to show off their art.”

Four years later, it’s grown into an event packed with artist, local and student-owned black businesses. 

“We reach about 500 people. There are 20 businesses. I have nine performers, there are eight fashion models,” said Wilson.

The expo is also used to highlight different visual arts in Springfield.  

“Being an entrepreneur and being a student, it gives you more opportunity, more leeway to go out of your community more and be a part of the school as well,” said Tia Latimer, owner of Pretty Little Candle. 

Black artists had the chance to perform poetry, comedy and even put on a fashion show. 

Organizers say they are happy to see the growth in the event and hope to see it bigger and better in the years to come. 

“It’s really expanded and I’m excited to see it grow,” says Wilson.