We had the good fortune of connecting with Kayla Wheat and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kayla, why did you pursue a creative career?
There is a quote by T.D. Jakes that has always resonated for me… “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” I pursued a creative career because I’ve always felt passionately about creating. Art makes me feel the most fulfilled as a human–the most “whole.” If I have to spend the majority of my time and energy in a “career,” I might as well go where I feel pulled. So, I kind of feel like I didn’t choose a creative career. A creative career chose me. I followed my passion and it led me to a purpose.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been teaching studio art to a neurologically-diverse population of 1st-12th grade students at Denver Academy for the past eight years.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am very introverted. I tend to enjoy quiet spaces and contemplative places. I would definitely take an “out-of-towner” to Red Rocks, hopefully to see some music as seeing live music at Red Rocks should be on everyone’s “bucket list,” but even if there wasn’t music playing, Red Rocks is a spiritual place with great hiking and spectacular views. There is a ton of amazing street art all over Denver–a little walking tour of that, followed by a “First Friday” on Santa Fe would be an ideal evening. The Denver Art Museum might be an obvious choice, but one not to be missed, especially if there’s a cool traveling exhibit (there always is…!)
I would also take someone from out of town to Lafayette, CO which is a cool little town about 20 miles north of Denver–great art galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. The Post for the best fried chicken and local brews, and then to Lafayette Florist and Greenhouses, a world-renown, 72 year old establishment that is definitely worth checking out. There’s a lot of deep Colorado history to learn about in Lafayette too. Those are my kind of places…
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am so lucky to have so many supportive, encouraging people in my life. My husband, Tanner is first to offer encouragement and the first to dash my self-doubt. He is my biggest champion. Ryan and Lindsay Longenecker of Collective Mind Technologies have been essential in supporting my artistic endeavors both emotionally and monetarily. Their own creative drive provides interminable inspiration for me.
And, a special shout-out to Kris Fritzsche of Fox.Street.Studio, who has been not only a mentor and a counselor, but also a colleague, a comrade, and a like-minded friend. He’s been unwaveringly supportive of my creative choices for many years and has helped me push beyond artistic barriers to find the best version of myself and my art. He’s always seen the potential in me even when my vision was clouded, and had a guiding hand in my creative career path. His own leadership by example has been an invaluable asset on my path.
I couldn’t be who I am or where I am in life if it weren’t for the creative minds that surround me and have believed in my every move. I am so thankful.