National Small Business Week at The Greenhouse
The Greenhouse joins in the national effort to help America’s small businesses do what they do best – grow their business, create jobs, and ensure that our communities remain as vibrant tomorrow as they are today.
Meet Vivia Barron with Vivia Barron Studios
GH: Tell us a little about yourself and your business!
VB: I am a mother, immigrant, advocate, and painter. Growing up in Jamaica, I was always more creative than academic. My initial creative outlet was food. I was a personal chef, known for my extravagant, artistic plating. As a chef, I opened two restaurants. I’m still passionate about food, but the birth of my daughter made me reconsider what I was doing. I found myself drawn to antique photographs that showcased black and brown people enjoying life. I was fascinated by these everyday stories that were often overshadowed by the more traumatic, brutal representations of black life in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Through Vivia Barron Studios, I aim to celebrate the diversity of Black experiences and create a space where black joy and beauty can be fully expressed and celebrated. I believe representation is crucial for marginalized communities. For far too long, black people have been underrepresented and misrepresented in art, particularly in the traditional canon of Western art history. I aim to challenge these conventions. My pieces are a rewriting of the narrative to include black people in the story in a way that doesn’t treat them as “othered” or “different,” but as an inextricable part of the experience of being alive and being members of a community. My paintings are joyful and joy-filled – A colorful, ecstatic representation of what it means to be human.
GH: What inspired you to start your business?
VB: My inspiration was a natural progression. I started collecting African American images ten years ago and developed an instant passion for the beauty and rarity of the images. This led me to want to preserve and curate the images for historic preservation, which naturally lead to exploring my own artistic and creative desire to bring those images to life in my own art.
My artistic process is deeply intuitive and improvisational, allowing me to connect with the materials and the stories they tell. I work primarily with acrylic paints using bold colors and expressive brushstrokes to capture the essence of my subjects.
My art is an expression of my personal journey, as well as a reflection of the beauty and complexity of the black experience. I hope that my work can inspire others to find joy in their own lives and celebrate the diverse richness of our collective human experience.
GH: What was it like starting your business?
VB: Starting my business was a very easy process. It came naturally from my passion and obsession to preserve and translate into my art at the time. As for setting up the business, I utilized incredible resources like The Greenhouse, classes, referrals, and connections to my SCORE mentors and other financial assistance.
GH: What advice would you give to others who are looking to grow their business?
VB: Make sure you are passionate about what you are doing, be relentless in accomplishing your goals, don’t ever take no for an answer, and utilize local resources and networking opportunities. The team at The Greenhouse was instrumental in assisting me with changing my business model, growing after the pandemic, and opening doors for business continuity. I am always grateful to The Greenhouse for encouraging me to grow and expand.
GH: Why do you think National Small Business Week is important?
VB: National Small Business Week is important because it brings attention to small business owners who have weathered the storm. It also provides an opportunity for business owners who have experience and advice to share and serve as an inspiration to others. National Small Business Week also reminds us of the organization’s accessible in our community to help us sustain and grow our business.
GH: What are your future goals/plans for your business?
VB: From June 2 to August 27, I have a Solo Exhibition in Atlanta Georgia. I’m very excited! My immediate goals are to continue to grow in the St. Petersburg community and find resources to grow regionally and nationally.
MORE ABOUT VIVIA BARRON STUDIOS