Founded by two French expats in Miami, the association French Arts Associates brings together French art professionals based in the United States.
French Arts Associates was launched on November 18, 2016, with an inaugural event in the gallery owned by Parisian-born Lélia Mordoch in Wynwood — the Miami neighborhood hosting the Art Basel fair every year. The association founded by Sophie Blachet and Hélène Filipecka, two French expats living in Florida for more than ten years, provides U.S.-based French art professionals with advice, resources, workshops and conferences. Professionals targeted include painters, photographers, musicians, actors, and voice actors, as well as gallerists, curators and museum directors. As Sophie Blachet sees it, the objective is to create links “in a community which direly needs them.”
Sophie Blachet owns the Art Vitam gallery in Miami, and Hélène Filipecka is a private art consultant. Both women have regretfully observed that a lack of communication and support between art professionals is hampering the spread of French art in the United States. “The dice are loaded before you even start,” say the duo, quick to list the obstacles facing French artists in the U.S.A.: a poor level of English, a limited professional network and a lack of knowledge about American structures all hold people back. “The same artists are often exhibited time and again, while newcomers can’t get a foot in the door.”
French Arts Associates founders Sophie Blachet (left) and Hélène Filipecka.
Some 20 artists, painters and photographers originally from the French West Indies, the Dominican Republic and Antigua have already joined the association. The annual subscription fee for French Arts Associates is 205 dollars for Florida residents, and 95 dollars for those living in other states. Members will enjoy access to a directory of French art professionals in the United States — currently being compiled — and a calendar of events organized by the association.
The first round-table event to discuss and exchange experiences between professionals is set to take place on January 24 at a Miami art gallery. As part of the Palm Springs Photo Festival from May 7 through May 12, French Arts Associates will also be organizing a series of conferences aimed at American artists looking to exhibit their work in France. With the support of the Alliances Françaises and French consulates in the United States, the association hopes to expand its activity to other American states. “We already have volunteers ready to organize and lead events in New York, San Francisco, Houston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Dallas,” says Sophie Blachet.