Fortunate students see a Tacoma with a history of artists – Dale Chihuly, Frederick Heath, Marissa Meyer, Frank Herbert. Many students do not know of even those greats. The opportunity to inspire, discover, and motivate Tacoma’s next wave of artists is great.
Affordable programs are rare. Matching youth with their appropriate mentors can be difficult.
Idris Joyce and Roxy Magno started Krownless Kings with goals of affordability and mentorship for youth arts in underdeveloped neighborhoods around Tacoma. One year into the project, the two are part of the Whole Child Initiative working with several local elementary schools.
Over the summer, they ran Krownless Kids day camps.
For Krownless everything and anything can be art. That’s a point of emphasis for Program Director Roxy Magno.
“Sports is an art. Being an engineer or scientist is an art. Kids get to grow up thinking that they are an artist no matter what their interests. They don’t lose that. They don’t outgrow it.”
Executive Director Idris Joyce explains Krownless Kings will use anything to connect with children to show them that art is an approach to creativity.
“Cooking is art and science. You’ve got to mix the flour and the water and the egg.”
The organization used robotics to connect with a group of students. Everything they do is about creating that connection and then seeing what the inspired youth do with it.
“I know it’s a better city than it was, but there are so many things with a price tag on it. We need more outlets for the kids that are free, where they can be themselves. You never know what you can get when you let a kid practice at a drum set, or a guitar, or camera, or a drone.”
For Joyce his goal is to improve the city that raised him, inspired him, and helped him grow into a musician. Krownless Kings grew out of his own love for Tacoma and his discoveries while touring as a hip-hop artist.
He connected with Magno to combine their skillsets. Idris is an artist with a grand vision. Roxy is the experienced social worker with strong organizational skills. Both are talented networkers with friends and family throughout Pierce County.
Like many South Sounders, Roxy came to the city for school, and stayed. Her goals, through Krownless Kings, are to help others stay in Tacoma.
“We’re only a year old, but the support that has come from our friends and our family and other organizations in Tacoma is amazing. It’s overwhelming how supported we are. We actively support other programs and projects too. We’re a hub. We’re not just Krownless. We’ll connect people, all braided together.”
Idris is Hilltop raised, someone who always comes home. His music sent him around the country. He particularly enjoyed the South, but it’s not Tacoma.
“In the South there was great food, but the bugs and humidity get to you. I love the South, but I always come back here. The air is fresh. I can just feel it. It’s a great place where dreamers can come and live out their dreams, and create.”
Conversations with the duo come back to creating, dreaming – art. Everything is art. Even their non-profit. Krownless Kings does not have a physical location yet. They go where they are needed, to the youth that need inspiration.
But they dream that one day they will create a new art – a hub for artists, a place for neighborhood creators to meet mentors with shared experiences.
Idris Joyce is no longer a musician. His art grew to be more than that.
“When Krownless achieves our dreams it will be a school where you can come and create. It will have every connection that you need.”
The next Meyer, or Heath, or Herbert, or Joyce, or Magno is going to grow out of one of the hubs that Krownless Kings establish. There is a kid who will be inspired by a lyric, or a drone, or cooking class. That child will carry Tacoma and Krownless Kings with them.