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Hidden Gems: Arlington

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of Arlington’s gems below.

Maks Sobolyev

I landed here at a very young age with my mom to figure out what I wanted to be. My mother taught me how to work diligently, build my own path, and create the spark in me to see the world in a different lens. From there, filmmakers such as Bergman, Tarkovsky, and Kubrick inspired me to experiment with color, texture and perspective through many mediums to create concepts that took me to distant worlds. Read more>>


Throughout Dallas, I’m best known for spoken word. I’ve been hosting, featuring, and slamming throughout The United States for over 14 years now. I began with a family friend, Philip Lyles and we co-hosted at TePhejez Jazz Club downtown Dallas on Elm St. At the time it was being managed by Phylicia Bryant and we had our own band called The Unknown Band. It was the BEST of times in my poetry career. Read more>>

Kifo Doorwaze

I love classical music but thoroughly enjoy abstract, experimental sounds as well. This love led me to informally study music. I’d be up late at night watching interviews, radio freestyles, biopics, cyphers and live concerts of my favorite artists. By 17 I was so inspired by all the music I’d absorbed, I started free-styling at impromptu cyphers, parties, smoke session and get-togethers with my friends. Read more>>

Caty Bilton

I was made to believe I was putting my baby at risk if I did not move forward with a c-section. So through many tears, I reluctantly agreed to a c-section. As a laid on the operating table, I could only pay attention to my oxygen levels and not the fact that I was bringing life into this world. I thought my baby and I were going to die. It was traumatizing. Read more>>

Avii IM

There came a point when I had to face one major change where all of this would come to an end. That was when I moved to America. However, I never allowed this to pull me down. If it wasn’t for me moving to America, I don’t think I would be anywhere close to who I am today. This place made me who I am, which is why I give thanks to the people here. I moved here with no plan in life other than to go to college and graduate with a Bachelors in BA. Read more>>

Mary Hale

The studio has grown to serve 100+ families. Mary is also the co-founder of a non-profit organization called Awaken Ensemble. Awaken is a chamber choir in Arlington that raises money for music education and other AISD programs. We have a scholarship fund to provide music lessons and music therapy services to students in the ‘Families in Transition’ program. Read more>>

Darcie Gregoire

Being raised on the family-run dairy farm taught me the meaning of ambition and perseverance; there were many teaching moments that taught independence and self-worth as well. Luckily my generation in my family were all encouraged to set out on our own and make the life that we wanted to live, which has brought me around the country with my husband, Mike. Read more>>

Ollie Huynh

I grew up spending a lot of time making things with my mom. She said I tried to help her with her crafts the second I could crawl. We also watched a lot of Alton Brown’s show called Good Eats together. As I grew older, I noticed a lot of kids, and even adults are always on their tablets or phones. They would play with them at restaurants, at parties, all day long at home. Read more>>

Maris Izquierdo

My talents were discovered at my time at UNT! I graduated high school in three years and will be graduating college with my bachelor’s degree in May at the age of 20! The last year of my life has been remarkable hard after losing my dad, I’ve slowly watched him die while at my time at UNT which is why I left. However, God has blessed my life so much and I’ve come back so much stronger. I have even took up painting, my favorite being my Nipsey Hussle Tribute. Read more>>

Ximena Reyes

I was experimenting a little at a time but it wasn’t until I reached the age of 15 that I started to discover my love for makeup. Everyone always complimented me on how I glammed myself up and how good I was at it. Of course, looking back now, I laugh because I obviously did it to my best ability at that age. There truly was no YouTube or much of Instagram bloggers but hey, everyone loved it and you have to start somewhere. Read more>>

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