NINE Design + Homes Festival of the Arts, on June 17, 2023, is a new event produced in partnership between NINE Design + Homes, an artist studio and retail space founded by Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas of HGTV’s Bargain Block, and The Guild of Artists & Artisans, producers of the world renowned Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair. The inaugural event, located in the heart of the arts district of Old Redford, Detroit, will showcase 40+ artists, live music at the Artist Village Detroit, Food Trucks, adult beverages, a Q+A with Bargain Block stars Keith Bynum, Evan Thomas, and Shea Hicks-Whitfield, and more!
Meet Taqwa Hasan: Detroit Native, Mother, and Artist
We caught up with one of the events’ artists, Taqwa Hasan, and Bargain Block’s Shea Hicks-Whitfield to learn more about their background, inspirations, challenges and more! These African American Detroit natives are truly inspirational mothers, entrepreneurs, and successful women with a commitment to their communities.
Taqwa Hasan, an African American Muslim artist who grew up in Detroit, has a “passion for fashion”. Taqwa holds a Bachelors in Fashion Merchandising from Wayne State University, and creates childrens clothes, homeware products, and starting in 2019, her jewelry line, the Black Box Collection. Taqwa’s lightweight jewelry, made with cork leather, conjures up the resort mindset. Her “resort-style” necklaces, bangles, and earrings include fabric, wire, beads, and other materials. Of her style/brand, inspired by nature, travel, and various cultures, Taqwa says you don’t have to travel to wear her pieces, rather the work is “about a mindset…It’s unique and makes you be free and in the moment.”
Taqwa draws inspiration from artists such as Johanna Ortis and Christy Brown. Her work was recently featured in Chroma Detroit’s Fiber Arts Exhibition, and she also sells her work through social media, vendor events and her website. A mother of two, entrepreneur, and artist, Taqwa says her biggest challenge is reigning in her creativity – and not letting the design process take over – in order to focus on creating the actual pieces of jewelry. For events like the upcoming NINE Design + Homes Festival of the Arts it can take months to create all the work.
In addition to her creative career, Taqwa and her sisters manage a women’s co-working, private gym, and events space called The Social Loft. The space offers spinning classes, community events, and more. From The Social Loft website: “The Social Loft is the Muslim women’s ultimate social space that encourages a productive lifestyle while focusing on wellness, business and sisterhood”. Within the space you can see Taqwa’s eye for design and decor as well as her passion for community and supporting other mothers like herself.
Come visit Taqwa at this year’s NINE Design + Homes Festival of the Arts to purchase one of her unique and eclectic pieces of jewelry. Can’t make it? Connect with Taqwa online at her website, https://theblackboxcollection.com/ or on instagram, https://www.instagram.com/Destinationblackbox/.
Shea Hicks-Whitfield: Real Estate Agent and HGTV’s Bargain Block Star
HGTV’s Bargain Block would not be the same without Shea Hicks-Whitfield, who, along with Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas, purchases abandoned houses in Detroit neighborhoods and transforms them into affordable homes ranging from $115-180k. Shea lives and works in the heart of downtown Detroit as a real estate agent – in real-life and on TV – and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Shea grew up on Detroit’s west side, and found her passion for real estate in 2004 when working as a sales assistant for a builder. She’d always loved and appreciated the architecture and beautiful homes of Detroit, but quickly realized helping folks make these houses their homes was really enjoyable and rewarding. Shea dabbled in several full-time career opportunities before she was able to go full-time into real estate, even working at Chrysler making engines before she was able to do real estate full-time starting in 2015.
Shea got connected with Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas through a mutual friend. Of Keith and Evan, Shea laughs as she explains, “When we met it was an instant connection. Within 10 minutes of us meeting it felt like we’d known each other forever because our relationship is very much like what you see on TV. They instantly became like my two little brothers and we laugh and have a great time – but then also on the business side, we’re all very knowledgeable of real estate, and they really respect my experience and anything I recommend as far as listing price or what areas we should focus on, as far as where they can possibly at least make $10…because you know they don’t make that much money off of the resale.” Despite the fact that they are all running a business that their livelihood is dependent on; Shea, Evan, and Keith are able to make their relationship thrive because of this strong mutual respect – but also because, as Shea says, they “maintain a strong sense of humor about it all…and we have a lot of fun working together on screen and off screen”.
Shea says that in Season 3 of Bargain Block (airing in August) you will see a selection of houses in the Fitzgerald Neighborhood transformed into “beautifully unique custom homes where they [Keith and Evan] put so much love and attention to detail” into each home. Shea goes on to say “we’re selling them [these homes] at market rate and we’re selling them to buyers who want to live in the neighborhoods that they are in…want to live in the neighborhood where they were raised or their grandma lived.”
Season 2 of Bargain Block featured a pilot episode for Shea and her husband, Terry Whitfield’s own HGTV show, Bargain Block: Bargain Buys, in which the couple leads families who never thought they could purchase their own home through the buying and remodeling process, making their dream a reality. You can catch the pilot episode on Discovery plus or HGTV on Demand.
To learn more, you can catch up with Shea along with Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas at a Q+A at this year’s NINE Design + Homes Festival of the Arts! Want to work with Shea to buy or sell your home? You can contact her through her website at: https://homessoldbyshea.com/