CJD_9790Kaiya Smith February 27, 1998– July 22, 2016

The Forward Arts family is in deep mourning over the lost of one of our most beloved youth poets, Kaiya Smith.  Kaiya passed away in the early hours on Saturday, July 23rd.  She had recently traveled and competed with the Forward Arts All Star Slam team at the 19th annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam, where she was an instrumental part of the team ranking in the top 10 youth slam teams in the world.   As a poet she was a 2-time ALL CITY Teen Poetry Slam Festival champion (w/ McKinley High), one-time member of the Forward Arts All Star team that ranked among the top 10 teams in the world at the 2016 Brave New Voices, an editing contributor to the youth anthology, “Crushed Canvas” and a member of WordCrew, Baton Rouge’s youth spoken word leadership cohort. As a budding fashion designer, she produced her own fashion show as a part of a Critical Participatory Action Research project during her senior year at McKinley High.  As a student athlete, Kaiya played varsity soccer at McKinley and won the best sportsmanship award. Kaiya graduated certified in industrial sewing and textile. She was ranked 16th in her graduating class and graduated magna cum laude. She was accepted to Southern University Honors College and was focusing her studies on fashion and women’s issues here and abroad. Her goals were to bring justice through her spoken-word, be a game changer in the world of plus-size fashion for both men and women, attend law school and be an entrepreneur. She leaves to mourn her parents,  younger sibling and a host of friends, teachers, mentors and fellow poets.


Watch These Young Poets Take Down the Stereotypical Roles Given to Black Actresses - Shine-1 Forward Arts All Stars Featured on ForHarriet.com (CLICK HERE)


Forward Arts Trifold August 4Residency app cover 2016-2017FORWARD ARTS 2016–2017 SPOKEN WORD POETRY RESIDENCIES

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Forward Arts is a multi-generational collective of youth, artists, and educators who are committed to providing learning opportunities in Southeastern Louisiana. We provide workshops, performance spaces, and professional development for young people and adults. Through critical engagement and creative practice we foster personal and social transformation.

Forward Arts Inc. 100 Lafayette St. Suite B227 Baton Rouge, La 70801 (225) 389‑7226 forwardartsbr@gmail.com