Kiarra Lynn Smith is a visual and literary artist. Her artwork has been exhibited in multiple venues and her poems have been published in various magazines for creative writing. In 2004, Smith was commissioned to create a mural for First Student Bus Company, a year which marked her beginning of independently illustrating books. She was a featured artist at the 20th “Meet the Artists” exhibition in Indianapolis and began studying at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2008. She graduated from Culver-Stockton College with a degree in English and Art in 2013.
Smith’s passion is preserving African heritage creatively while simultaneously building her community. She has conducted writing workshops with children and has used her art and poetry to enlighten others about Black history. Her motivation stems from childhood experiences in which she was given limited views of her heritage. The late illustrator and writer, Fred Crump Jr. and his fairy tales featuring characters of African descent influenced Smith’s work and subject matter. In 2012, she wrote, illustrated and published two books Collective Face: a Series of Quatrains on Community Building (her work) and Looking for an Angel: the Story of Christian Taylor Ferguson (a co-written work) to emulate the path of Crump. She published her second book, Let’s Speak! Kiswahili: 3 Short Stories Teaching Basic Kiswahili Words in 2015.
Smith plans to continue her career as an illustrator and to use her projects to invigorate the minds of children and young adults.