100 Colorado Creatives: Kalina Ross

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#25: Kalina Ross

Kalina Ross has a big heart and a knack for making things happen, which might explain why the events she plans always come iced with a frosting of love and community. A former player for Urban Cipher, a group that supports entrepreneurial activities and events for local micro-businesses and craftspeople, she just finished producing Night Fair Before Christmas, a holiday market and community celebration for all ages, held just days before Christmas. And last summer, she opened her own kitchen to the public on Sundays for her Love Buzz Patio Cafe, a family affair that offered homemade meals for donations.

We asked Ross to put in words what lies beneath her cheerful, forward attitude by taking the 100CC questionnaire; read on for her upbeat answers.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Reflections on an arts journalist's year well-spent

If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

Babies. I think the answers to most of problems are the most simple ones yet we ignore the ideas that seem so simple. Why must life be so complex? Of course, our paths are never roads of smooth sailings but rather lessons that are not always so easy to understand, sometimes many times over. But, with business and personal affairs -- our honest nature likes and appreciates the simple things at heart. So babies are a true reflection of what our souls desire at its core and that would be quite the collaboration! But, I think that's what I am aiming for...simple fun. 

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

The act of observing one person is literally the most interesting person. Disengaging from an event happening around you and instead focusing on one single person for even a few seconds is an act of beauty in itself. 

What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

Ego. I had a saying all year: "Ego. We go." And the truth in that is truth itself. I love art -- but the ego that so many establishments, artists and worldly opinions have over what is to be valued versus what is not is tiring. 

What's your day job? 

My day job is known as Kalina Poppins! I take care of a set of twin girls! Sasha and Annika's mother suffered a massive stroke on the left side of her brain three days after the babies were born in January of 2013. The mother Kate's family had a Tumblr site set up for the donations of hiring a nanny and within a week I was the proud nanny of Sasha and Annika. It's been quite a journey this year watching the development of two babies at one time and has only inspired my ideas of what we naturally love at our cores while creating events! Kate has been home since May and is working hard at her recovery. The family and I have grown so close, and it's been such a treat to be involved. I have two girls of my own (ages eight and ten years old), who also continue to amaze me! Children are what inspire me the most.

Continue reading for more from Kalina Ross. A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

Unlimited funds. First, I would by an entire block of houses so that I could move my family and friends closer together. Rent a few houses to extended folks, let them save a few bucks! Then, I would buy a bigger house, hire a few of my community members, and together we would raise kids who need homes/family. Then, I would use a ton of the funds for events that are even more centralized around fun! Hire all the people I need to make the community stronger, more connected and free to love! I would have to also buy City Park and turn most of it into a working share garden for the residents of Denver (I would also make this available for other cities!), so we could sustain ourselves locally. We could grow food, raise chickens and even turn around a few profits to pay the employees who tend to the grounds more often. I'd be crazy to say I wouldn't invest in education and the running of schools. Let the teachers breathe a little bit and show their true magic! The old floral shop on Colfax and Park Avenue -- I'd buy that too and make Love Buzz Cafe legit, serving a completely organic, budget friendly menu! Pay for my kids and every other kid in this city, but if you said unlimited, then all the kids who need it across the world to have arts at their finger tips! I could go on and on but seriously if you gave me unlimited funds, I think the main answer is I would spend it on pure love! 

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

Support more "below"...by that I mean, the part of the community that IS the community. As a whole, push ourselves to do new things and discover new places. I had a history teacher say once on the first day of Colorado History: "Class, today we will learn the 'history below,' the stories that didn't make the news." And wow -- what stories there were to be told. With that, investments in smaller ideas. I wish I could be the Mayor of the Arts! I would go around the city, as I already do, and discover all the little things happening and publish them in the news, for a bigger audience to see! I know so many rad musicians, artists, poets, singers and a plethora of wowza moments that I wish could have made headlines!

Continue reading for more from Kalina Ross. Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Phaedra High. She believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. We have partnered on many things and each experience has been a learning journey for us both. She listens, creates, thinks, gives, supports and pushes the people around her to go for it! I know she has big plans for Urban Cipher this year and I wish her nothing but success!

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

My first agenda is to establish my businesses. Take a few classes on business and pick up a few new hobbies. In December, at the Gypsy House Cafe, I started the first of the monthly Zodiac parties that will honor all friends and community who fall under the sign. The musicians are also the "sign of the times" to keep the mood fresh and expose new talents and communities -- joining more and more of us together!

The decor will also change with each Zodiac. In the summer, I will re-open Love Buzz Patio Cafe, maybe even offering a Saturday option this year. More events and more ideas as they come but picking up a few hosting gigs and smaller event planning for say weddings, parties, etc. -- will be a big focus this year. In the Spring, plans are underway for a citywide Field Day for kids, to include physical activities, arts and music! Lastly, love and play with my kids. I love watching them grow, and this year I will officially have a fourth- and a sixth- grader, so I am a little nervous! 

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2014?

Felix Ayodele! Also known as FAST4WRD. A local musician who plays instruments live, such as guitar, piano, flute, turn tables live, records it, then loops the track and sings over all the magical production! I refer to him as a musical Basquiat and the truth is, Felix is hot! It was a fun opportunity this year when I got the chance to have him open for R&B artist Jon B at The Roxy -- it was such a treat. 

Learn more about Kalina Ross online on her Facebook page.

Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.

Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.

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