Meet Christina Elizabeth Rodriguez, co-founder of EXPO Collective in her own words.
I’m a restless soul with a lot of energy. I want to do everything and am very impatient when it comes to making things happen. I don’t want to die knowing I could’ve done more or that there was something I didn’t try. I want to go down swinging.
My friends are my main source of inspiration. I’m lucky to know them and privileged to have worked with them. Leaders in their fields who love and acknowledge their roots– whatever they may be– are people who I am motivated by. As entrepreneurs, artists and friends, we inspire each other to become better and do more. It’s a two way street and that’s the best part.
I started in the arts when I was very young. I played music on a keyboard after hearing it. I also drew and played with paint. As I grew up, I found writing and also continued on my musical path by playing the flute through high school, during which time I actually painted on canvas for the first time. In college I learned photography and used it as a creative outlet for a while. After college, I managed a local band and was always still around music. I used my gift for writing to promote them and photography for their pictures. I was in my element. Then I became a reporter and soon after, a blogger. Now working with visual artists, I can be in my element again using my art in support of the art.
We launched EXPO Collective in October 2013.
The name just came out of the blue. My partner Roho Garcia (Ricardo Gonzalez is the other) mentioned the EXPO Collective to me as a name and I liked it.
We saw a need for a transitional resource for young artists. Programs out there now mostly distract kids from being on the streets, providing youth development with the arts. However, these students may realize that being an artist is what they want. Where do they go for support from there? Who is there to teach them?
And for those graduating from University, do they know how to work as a visual artist in the world today? Do they have the insight or savvy to be an entrepreneur?
I wanted to develop a resource for those artists that helped in every process from giving them a place to display work, to helping them find paying jobs. I believe that art is sustainable and we want to help everyone get there.
I created it for my friends. I saw the potential and the drive and I wanted to help them get to the next level. Instead of just helping my friends, though, I saw it most beneficial to work collectively and extend the invitation. Why not let everyone come together and learn to maneuver the dynamic art world?
Our future goals include fully transitioning to an artist resource hub and advocacy center. The hipster in me calls it an artist accelerator. I want to work with students of all ages, teaching workshops and developing curricula for these programs.
Getting married! That’s insane. The other half is cool though. I’m more excited about getting a dog. Ha! EXPO is still pushing forward and I’m going to need some help! But we got this. We always do.
Song: Adventure of a Lifetime by Coldplay
Movie: right now? Fences.
Book: Scriptures found in Accra