Fox 24 News: Movers & Shakers, Claire Kolberg


Northwest Arkansas is chock-full of creative minds in the world of business, education and the arts. 

Northwest Arkansas is chock-full of creative minds in the world of business, education and the arts. 
Each week, we highlight an individual whose talents are shaping the landscape of our area. She’s an influencer in the River Valley, who’s using art as a canvas to help create a masterpiece in Fort Smith’s revitalization.

Some dreams are unexpected. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, in a city full of stars, Claire Kolberg grew up around the music industry, shaping her artistic perspective. Kolberg says, “We had a lot of musicians that would come to the house and play music. Family that was in show business, I’ve had the luxury of going to the American Music Awards and the SAG awards and kind of seeing things from both sides.”

Kolberg moved to Fayetteville in high school, later graduating from the University of Arkansas. She would find work in other cultural settings at the Walton Arts Center and Crystal Bridges. Both venues taught her the inner working of showcasing, along with building lasting relationships. It also gave her the tools needed to lead her own project in Fort Smith. “If you ask me five years ago, what do you think you’ll be doing in five years, you know, I couldn’t have dreamed of this. It’s just an opportunity that created itself and we’ve created it along the way.”

Kolberg, along with local businessman, Steve Clark created, “The Unexpected”, bring world-renowned artist to paint mural on buildings in downtown Fort Smith, a key part of the city’s revitalization. Kolberg says, “It’s selfish of me to want that and to desire that and to also be able to give that experience to someone and share that moment with them. “

Something new, often times brings criticism. And it took a while for the community to catch on to this new art form. “I’m disappointed that people have those opinions. I understand them. Because yesterday, you didn’t care about art, but today you do care about art and you’re actually involving yourself in your community and in the conversation and that’s really important.” says Kolberg.

And “The Unexpected”, has paved the way for new opportunities for Kolberg, due to the exposure. Kolberg says, “People want to talk to me about what I do and I’m humbled and honored and I’m shy about it at the same time, because it is something that is very personal to me.”

It was a dream, that became a reality, that is now her life’s work. Something Kolberg says, is fulfilling. “I think when I look back on everything that I’ve done. Everything that I’ve done has built me up to this one place and I’ve very grateful for all of the experiences that I’ve had. I’ll look back on this time very fondly.”

“The Unexpected” 2018 will take place in Fort Smith in late October.

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