Dancer, producer, singer, actor, model, poet, choreographer, and teacher, Kayla Marie Gilmore uses her many talents to give back to the community.
“My heart and true desire is to help others because someone helped me and my family,” says Gilmore. “I wanted to use my gift to help others, young and old.”
Gilmore is the owner of KMG Creations Dance, Fitness, & Productions and The KMG Center for Creative Arts which offers dance and fitness classes, production services, creative opportunities, and exclusive parties in Starkville and around the world.
Sharing the Joy of Movement and Art
The love of the arts is present in everything that Gilmore does. From her business to community activism and volunteering, she strives to share the joy of movement and art with others.
In 2009, she created Starkville’s first Dancing in the Park event in memory of her sister and niece, Alecia and Brandie Gilmore-Tyler. The day celebrates movement, music, and the arts for all abilities and ages. The event also seeks to bring awareness to disabilities through a Disability Awareness Walk.
“Hundreds of people attend with their family to watch great national and local dance entertainment. It is a ball and the community loves it!”
“My heart and true desire is to help others because someone helped me and my family. I wanted to use my gift to help others, young and old.”
Promoting the Arts and Artists
The opening of her studio’s physical location at 317 MLK Drive Suite 225, allowed Gilmore the opportunity to promote visual artists as well. Gilmore has created a gallery room to showcase local artists in her studio. The AB Gallery Room is named after her niece and sister, who passed away in 2007.
“My sister was one of my biggest supporters,” says Gilmore. “She encouraged me so much. When she died, it encouraged me to open up my business. It really pushed me to use my gift to help others in honor of my sister and niece.”
“[The AB Gallery Room] is really special because I feature the work of local artists,” states Gilmore. “Right now, the work of artist Samuel Lawson, Jr. is being displayed. I plan to reach out to other local artists to display their work in the future. Hopefully, after COVID-19, I will have an art exhibition show, but in the meantime, we will have it virtually. The public will be able to purchase work in the gallery online.”
Gilmore’s most recent project, “The Giving Hope Series,” features national and local artists in monthly live virtual concerts held at her studio and streamed online. In this way, she hopes to reduce some of the devastating toll of the pandemic on local arts organizations and events.
“This is a platform where all types of artists can participate in my studio and share their talents nationwide,” says Gilmore. “It will provide entertainment and add joy as we continue to spend more time at home during the pandemic.”
Recognizing People in the Community
Gilmore enjoys being engaged in the community and has a strong love for this “big little town” and its people. She has worked to recognize those who make this community special.
As a strong supporter of the military, Gilmore and many volunteers established Starkville’s first Veterans Day Parade in 2018.
“My brother is a veteran as are many of my friends,” states Gilmore. “It was my call and duty to make this event happen.”
In 2019, Gilmore and her friends and supporters produced and hosted Starkville’s first Sanitation & Environmental Services Appreciation Day. Held in January close to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the event recognizes and honors sanitation workers by hosting a breakfast and presenting a plaque to workers.
“Considering the importance that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on his journey for sanitation workers in Memphis, it is important that our workers are recognized and appreciated,” says Gilmore.
The appreciation event has grown over the last two years, obtaining new businesses as sponsors.
In addition to the many events and activities she is involved in creating or producing, Gilmore has mentored many kids in Starkville, providing them guidance, support, and the gift of dance.
“Our community is the definition of love,” reflects Gilmore. “I reach back to help others as others have helped me. We have to continue to pass the torch.”
Gilmore encourages everyone to ‘pay it forward.’
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