On the latest episode of Drinking Partners podcast with Ed Bailey and Day Bracey, Thomas Agnew and D.S. Kinsel join the conversation.
Both D.S. and Thomas operate Boom Concepts, which the Drinking Partners combo claims has heavy influence in Pittsburgh's popular culture.
"Fuck the culture," Thomas says. "I feel like everybody just rides the waves... We don't follow any standards."
Instead of latching on to the trends or playing it safe, D.S. and Thomas are a part of the formula which makes Pittsburgh culture pop. D.S. is a self-trained artist and creative businessman. Thomas has been the brain behind the city's "word up magazine" since 2007, Jenesis.
Together, D.S. and Thomas combined to create Boom three years ago, which promotes and provides resources to a creative community in The 'Burgh.
"We feeding the culture [and Boom is] a place to cook," D.S. says.
Fundamentally, Boom Concepts is a workspace foremost, then a gallery (voted the third best gallery for local artists by the Pittsburgh City Paper) and incubation hub for art and entrepreneurship.
Through all the gentrification happening in the city's East Liberty neighborhood where Boom locates, the venue is a constant beacon for African American business and fun.
Whether it is from D.S.'s roots in The Hill District or Thomas' transfer from Toledo, Ohio to the city for schooling at the Art Institute in the early 2000s, both men are tapped into Pittsburgh.
The young men have created a safe space where people are "comfortable not being judged," Thomas says. Events like breastfeeding class, yoga class, and Wine and Trap have featured at Boom. Rap video has filmed in their basement and on their stage.
Additionally, "we show artists how to be professionals... we support you conceptually," D.S. continues.
One of the ways the partners get support and show support is through grants. "Talk to Heinz Endowments, talk to Pittsburgh Foundation, the money is there for you to get," Thomas urges. There is free money available to artists in The Steel City. They just have to apply themselves to receive it. "We tell all the young niggas, you're not an artist, you're a creative entrepreneur," D.S. says. People need to think of themselves as a small business and find the money opportunities that will allow them to live off their craft.
Along with talk about D.S. and Thomas' joint and personal pursuits, episode 92 of Drinking Partners podcast comments on African Americans doing better at supporting one another. We have to "team up," Thomas says. "Throw the rope back over" once you make it to a place of stability and achievement, D.S. adds.
More than anything, the effort from all the parties involved continues to contribute to the progression of the city of Pittsburgh.
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