In the year 2007, the United States economy was mired in a deep and prolonged recession. It was also the year Florcy Morriset, owner and curator of Vivant Art Collection, launched her Old City gallery. In the course of five years, Vivant has become a cultural arts destination while energizing both business development and multicultural diversity among professionals.
“It has been an amazing ride,” said Morriset. “Every year that went by, I really did realize the magnitude of really what was happening. And now that I look back at everything that I have done, I look at it as a whole entity, as a body of work that I have done, I, myself, am inspired. I can't take credit for it alone—definitely the community contributed—but I am definitely inspired. This was a rough time to be in business, and I've beyond survived it and I’ve really made something big for Philadelphia, for our community. I am really excited, and I say that so humbly. This is a really big deal for art, for culture, and a big deal for a minority owner in an industry that traditionally doesn't look like us.”
Vivant Art Collection, located on Gallery Row in the heart of the Historic District of Old City, specializes in Haitian art, African masks and Island ceramics and features cultural art from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. The gallery also features local artists, whose artworks are all embedded with cultural stories that illuminate their perspectives, experiences and cultures.
“There was October Gallery and Art Jaz that was here and if they didn't create those footprints I wouldn't have nothing to follow behind,” reflected Morriset in recalling two African American art galleries that preceded her in the area. “From the beginning of time, I never felt that there was a competition. All of the art galleries here are appreciative of the diversity. You need diversity in art in order for it to grow. You need diversity in old City in order for people to keep wanting to come back. I think that we celebrate multiculturalism in the arts, but I think that in the business communities that is celebrated differently. That is where I use art to enlighten and empower. It becomes something that we can cherish, teach our children and look back at our history and our culture.”
The mission of Vivant Art Collection is to entertain and enlighten its guest through visual art and empower them with the story and message of indigenous cultural art. Morriset is a proud Haitian-American who believes in building a bridge between the art world and the community as it hosts various social receptions, fundraisers, political discourse, and art forums. And, not only has the young entrepreneur defied the economic odds to stay afloat, she has gone on to be recognized in 2011 by Philadelphia Tribune as one of the 10 people under 40 to look out for in 2011 and by City Council as Next Generation of Leadership, Rising Star.
“My ultimate goal with Haiti is to really let people know that we are a beautiful country,” said Morriset. “Through art, maybe I can create some affinity, some love and dispel some of this negativity around (Haitian culture). It quickly exploded into Cuban art than Jamaican, Middle Eastern art. Many Third World countries have so much rich culture and history and now use art as a way to globally impact communities, as well as educate people about arts from all over the world.”
Vivant Art Collection, located 60 North 2nd Street, will mark its fifth anniversary with a four-day celebration spanning from November 14th - 17th, 2012. The week will feature a series of events along with special guests and media personalities. For more information, call (310) 612-4636 or visit http://www.vivantartcollection.com.
Contact Tribune Staff Writer Bobbi Booker at (215) 893-5749 or firstname.lastname@example.org