There are a lot of stories, shops and vendors on 52nd street in West Philadelphia but if one resident has his way, it will soon have an art Gallery as well.
On Saturday, April 6, Kalphonse Morris hopes to hold the first art exhibit at his newly built Urban-Art Gallery at 262 S. 52nd St.
Morris renovates houses and has a fondness for art. Working in Center City provided him an opportunity to visit art museums and other expressions of art reserved for other areas.
“I always loved the arts, have always been an arts fanatic and I have always enjoyed that same scenery and so I said let’s bring it to 52nd Street,” he said. “A lot of people in this area may have never been to a gallery, never been to an art museum but now its right in their neighborhood.”
Asked if he felt any concerns about the success of such an endeavor, Morris admits he has had moments in which he wondered if a gallery of this kind would be popular in the urban business corridor.
“I had some reservations, and at times I thought that the neighborhood might not be ready for it,” Morris said. “But as I thought about it more and more it’s time for a change.”
Morris said he was also encouraged by some of the comments he received from people whom he discussed the matter with in the neighborhood.
“I have been getting a lot of good reviews by those who asked me what I was doing,” he said. “Every time somebody says that it [the art gallery] would be nice, it gave me more and more of a push to keep it going.”
While this is his first art gallery, Morris has been creating art for years in his career of building and renovating homes.
“I always liked to bring a different style to each home that we do, we didn’t want to just follow the norm; we wanted to make it something that we ourselves would live in and make it real nice so that everyone would say that it’s a nice place,” said Morris about he and his wife and business partner, Pamela Morris.
So is he nervous about such a unique venture?
“Yes, I guess since this is the first time that we actually did something like this it gives you butterflies but we are just hoping for a great turnout,” he said.
Morris said that he is sure that those who do come will actually appreciate the art which will on display from the featured artist.
The art featured during the gallery’s first exhibit will be that of featured artist Shawn Rae Feimster, who describes herself as an abstract artist and a muralist who says she has always loved the arts.
“It started when I was a little girl, our dad would allow us to be free with our space, he would come home, he would give us his leftover paint from whatever project he was working on and he allowed us to paint on our bedroom walls,” she said.
Her father, who painted automobiles, taught her the science of painting and how it reacted to various surfaces. As long as they confined their painting to their own bedrooms, they could paint their walls as often as they would like.
“We could paint our dressers, our headboards, nightstands, as long as we kept it in our personal space he didn’t mind. That’s where it started,” Feinster said.
It was a friend which introduced Morris to Feimster’s art.
When a friend asked him when he was going to open the gallery, Morris said that he was looking for the right artist. Well, his friend just happened to know someone he thought he would like.
“That same night I called her, that night she e-mailed me, text me and when I saw her pictures I said ‘This is it!,’” he said.
Morris said that it was a perfect match, Feimster’s personality and style matched his own.
The Urban-Art Gallery will open its doors to the public 6 p.m.- 9 p.m.
For more information call the Urban-Art Gallery at (215) 919-2422 or e-mail them at