Calling Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon French is a correct statement, but it’s also an understatement. With the vast number of locales she’s visited and the experiences she has under her belt, she’s practically a citizen of the world at this point. (Or, as they say in her mother tongue, a “citoyen du monde.”)
Although born in France, she spent her early childhood in Niger – in the middle of the Sahara Desert! – where her parents and grandparents had lived. From the age of 8, Coralie began a globe-trotting personal journey that included residencies in France (again), the U.K., Qatar, Beirut and finally Orlando, where she arrived 10 years ago. Along the way, she got married, had two children, and earned degrees in visual culture; culture, media and communication; and language sciences and cultural mediation.
With her education as a foundation, she’s worked in art galleries and museums just about everywhere she’s lived. Here in Orlando, she’s been affiliated with Snap! Orlando, Jai Gallery and now the Orlando Museum of Art, where she’s created or co-curated seven exhibitions since coming on board in January 2018. As a member of OMA’s Acquisition Trust, she helps expand the museum’s permanent collection with new pieces of contemporary art. And through her work with the Orange County Public Arts Review Board, she has a hand in developing public art commissions in and around Orlando.
Fashion is another of her passions, which she got to indulge when she served as Arts & Culture Editor for the luxury fashion and culture magazine. LAPALME. In addition, she’s spent the last two years volunteering as a teacher for the French immersion school Samedis Francais, where she teaches her native culture to French children who grew up in Orlando (and who, for the most part, don’t speak the language at home).
“Living as a French person in many different cultures has enabled me to forge a unique identity and a boundless understanding and appreciation of other cultures, which I welcome with open arms and from whom I still feel I have so much to learn,” Coralie says. “Each country I have lived in has taught me new things and yet I remain French. My accent just won’t go away!”
And while she admits she still misses the land of her birth – “the romantic sprawling landscapes of the French countryside, the scents of Provence and the crumbly old stone buildings charged with history” – there’s plenty here for her to enjoy as well. The year-round heat and sun remind her of Niger, and afford plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like camping, kayaking and swimming.
“One of my favorite things to do is to send to the family pictures of us on the beach in January when all of Europe is freezing,” she says.