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WADA Member Blog

Want to know what the Warehouse Arts District Association is up to?  Learn about the latest in this blog with features intended to keep members up to date. Also, members should join our closed Facebook group: the WADA Member Network

  • 23 Aug 2020 10:52 PM | Anonymous

    ARTIST CALL for Detailed Color Paintings or Drawings of the exterior of the Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, the Palladium, Royal Theatre, Carter G. Woodson Museum and the Museum of American Arts and Crafts Movement. 

    The Warehouse Arts District Association Education Committee has been working on a project to create Art Tubs for Pinellas County Schools. WADA Art Tubs are a student directed independent activity that allows students to explore the subject with materials in a tub. There are tubs for math, science and language arts, and our WADA Art Tubs project aims to create one for visual arts, to be utilized in the elementary art classrooms for grades K-5.

    Our first WADA Art Tub project is a set of artisan-made architectural building blocks where students have the opportunity to create their own buildings, inspired by art-focused buildings in St. Petersburg, Florida.

    We are looking for an artistically detailed color rendering of these local 6 buildings: Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Art, Carter G. Woodson Museum, Royal Theater, Palladium, and Museum of American Arts and Crafts Movement. 

    Artist Payment is $400.

    In an effort to push this Call to Artist out to a diverse population, please feel free to share this Call with other qualified local St. Petersburg artists. 

    WADA will purchase the rights to a digital copy of your building image artwork for our WADA Art Tub Project under the following agreement:  

    • Image will be used in the creation of 12 tubs and will appear on the tub exterior at approx. 2 inches x 3 inches 
    • Image will be used in high resolution form for publicity of this project in which the artists will receive credit 
    • WADA will also reserve the rights to use this image in future duplications of this project. 
    • WADA will not own the original artwork nor exclusive rights to the image.

    Interested artists must return a basic “Letter of Intent” by midnight, August 30, via email to WADAarttubs@gmail.comincluding the artist’s intent to submit, identify which building(s) they would like to render and the artist’s return physical address.  Although artists may submit for multiple buildings, each artist selected will be chosen to complete artwork for one building, allowing six artists to participate in this project.

    Deadline Dates:

    August 30, midnight.: Letter of Intent Due via email to: WADAarttubs@gmail.com

    October 18, 5pm.: Artwork images Due via email to: WADAarttubs@gmail.com

    November 8: Notification via email and US Mail to Six Selected Artists 

  • 23 Aug 2020 10:00 PM | Anonymous

    Mark Mitchell is an international multimedia artist, specializing in painting conceptual pop art.  As a Pratt Manhattan graduate, School of Visual Arts alumnus, and former advertising creative director, he spent his entire career honing his visual and communication skills.  Mitchell’s work has been exhibited during Art Basel Miami, at and also at Scope and Select Art Fairs. In the past few years, he was awarded seven times as an Art Slant Prize Showcase Winner.  In early 2016, he launched HIDDEN AGENDA: The Conceptual Pop Art of Mark Mitchell — a large-scale solo multimedia month-long exhibition at The Melvin Gallery at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. He also won a Purchase Award at Gasparailla Festival of the Arts. 

    His work has shown in galleries and museums all over the Tampa Bay Region, and Mitchell is now the proud recipient of the Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist Grant 2019-20, and kicked off the year with a solo exhibition at TECO Public Art Gallery in Tampa. As a WADA member, he was recently selected for commission by both MODERN TAMPA BAY HOMES and FAIRGROUNDS PROJECTS. Mark will also be the featured artist to be showcased permanently in the lobby and common areas of a new national hotel property, opening soon in the Tampa Bay area (TBA). And he currently has four originals exhibiting on artsy.net via BG Gallery in Santa Monica, CA.

    Always in pursuit of “The Big Idea”, Mark has learned how to put concept first, and manipulate imagery to surprise, provoke and reward the viewer. Mitchell’s approach as a fine artist is to draw on the power of mass media and pop culture, while repurposing its icons, imagery and techniques to deliver a more personal artistic statement. Through the use of meaningful juxtaposition and social commentary, Mark Mitchell’s work is an exploration of the irony, contradiction, parallels and harmony to be found in 21st-century life.

    We asked Mark some questions about his art and inspiration:

    How long have you been a full-time artist? 

    Conceptual Pop Art has been my prime focus for the past 10 years. That’s when I left my NYC advertising career behind and relocated to St Pete with my wife. I really needed to clear my mind and devote all my energy into establishing my painting style and developing a consistent body of work, which continuers to this day. That said, I continue to do a fair amount of commercial freelance work on the side—some art direction and design, as well as occasional voiceover projects that help pay the bills.

    What is your medium and how did you arrive at it?

    I paint in acrylic on canvas, which was a choice I made after starting with oils and becoming frustrated with the lengthy drying times, as well as toxic fumes from solvents. I made it my goal to achieve similar results with acrylics, and I’m happy overall with the technique at which I’ve arrived, and am breathing easier.

    What inspires your art?

    I’d say the answer is twofold. From a style standpoint, it’s the bold colorful imagery of classic Pop Artists like Rosenquist, Wesselman, Lichtenstein and Warhol—as well as current pop/street artists like Ron English, Banksy, Tristan Eaton, and so many more—including some amazing local artists and muralists. I feel like my style is a kind of mash-up of all my influences, refined through a filter that’s all me. But subject matter is another story. Since my work is thematic, my ideas are often “ripped from the headlines.” I find myself ruminating over current events, social issues, or topics that may be slightly under-the-radar. Lately they’re often issues around new technology, human behavior, and the relationship between the two. So, I set out with a theme, and use the canvas to convey my perspective on the topic, as a means to provoke viewers to think a bit, or spark a conversation.

    Are you a St. Petersburg native? What is it like to be an artist here?

    I’ve been here ten years. Not sure when I get to call myself a native! But no, i’m originally from New York. One of the things that drew me here, and continues to excite me is the connectivity of the St Pete arts community. I feel that I landed in a diverse artist colony of sorts—with a wide range of disciplines and experience who (mostly) have a great rapport and are happy to support each other’s artistic journeys. We have everything from high to lowbrow, museum to gallery to street, and so much talent! It’s nice to be in such good company, and it seems the opportunities for artists here continue to expand. As the city continues to build, grow and welcome new residents, I look forward to an influx of serious art patrons and collectors, as well as an even more robust and authentic gallery presence.

    Why did you join the Warehouse Arts District Association?

    I’ve been a fan of WADA, its studios and galleries for years now—especially MGA Sculpture and Soft Water Studios, where I was honored with a Best-In-Show award. I was curious for a while about joining WADA as an off-site artist. As someone with a home studio, I liked how WADA offered open calls, an online profile, publicity and connection with other members. When the Modern Tampa Bay Homes commission opportunity was announced, it seemed like the perfect time to take the plunge. Very happy I did! As a result, I was selected as one of eight featured artists offered for potential commission to new townhome owners in Ad Lofts, now under construction in St Pete!

    Finally, is there anything else you'd like to say?

    It’s been a big thrill and honor to have been awarded a Creative Pinellas arts grant this year—a program including personal mentorship for me by the great Steven Kenny, blog writing, new art creation, virtual artists talks, studio tours and an online exhibition. And after a months-long pandemic delay, I’m happy to say the real-life Emerging Artist Gallery Exhibition is now finally open to the public! Among a lot of wonderful other grant winner’s work, the show features my largest piece to-date—a nine foot wide triptych called “Distracted Driving”. I’ve also included three new small pieces currently on display that carry the distraction theme through. I encourage anyone interested to check out my website to learn more at www.markmitchellstudio.com. You can also find Mark Mitchell Studio on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @mmstudioart.

  • 20 Aug 2020 1:10 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Darling Readers -

    My name is Miss Lonely Arts and I’ll be here every week to answer all your questions about art, love, relationships, and of course our fabulous Warehouse Arts District Association.  Some have called me a know-it-all (my mother, for instance) and they’re right.  I know it all!  So bring it on!  Ask whatever questions you want and feel free to comment on my answers.  Really good ones will be published in the Digest and in our WADA blog and I’ll try to answer everyone. You can reach me at MissLonelyArts@gmail.com.

    And here’s our first question from “Looking for Love at WADA”:

    Dear Miss Lonely Arts,

    I recently ended a tragic relationship and now am looking for love in all the right places.  I’m thinking my best bet is to focus on artists. Which artists make the best lovers?


    While glass blowers might seem like the obvious choice... all artists are great in the sack.  Creativity, patience, and perseverance - hallmarks of great lovemaking - are all part of great art making. 

    Painters are sensitive, photographers are observant, sculptors and welders are strong, ceramic artists and potters are earthy, and jewelers, weavers, and mosaic artists have wonderful small motor skills.  Yeah, artists will definitely ring your bell.


    Miss Loney Arts

    Frequently Wrong But Never In Doubt!

  • 20 Aug 2020 1:08 AM | Anonymous

    WADA was so fortunate to have the generous support of donors; we were able to give 20 grants of $500 each earlier this summer. From the comments we have received, it is clear those grants made an impact in the recipients’ lives.  We thought we would share some of the comments we received.

    ”Thank you for supporting me during this pandemic.  Your donation helped me to move forward with my surgery by helping me to cover the deductible. I am now back planning and creating to promote ART.”

    ”It is hard for me to put my gratitude towards WADA into words for a helping hand. The USD 500 grant has been used to pay essential necessities as part of my month’s rent, bills (electricity, water) and food. Forever grateful.”

    ”The stress and uncertainty over the past few months has been financially and mentally challenging. As a full time working artists, this grant was a breath of relief for a moment in time where I was able to pay my health insurance and buy groceries along with a few studio supplies that will help me continue to create art and goods for my community. I am just so proud to be a part of a community that supports local artists especially during times of need. Thank you again for your continued support of the local arts. It truly means more than words can express.”

    ”The WADA grant was a bit of relief in this very difficult time. I was able to use the funds to help pay a month’s worth of rent at the ArtsXchange and have portioned the rest of the funds as reinvestment into a better backdrop system to offer more professional headshots in my studio. The funds were able to relieve financial stress and allowed me to re-invest into my business; diversifying my services so that I may have a more stable business for the future.”

    ”The WADA Artist Relief fund has enabled me to pay basic bills, so I can continue to work in the studio creating for the future while also working on new business methods, so I can adapt to the changes that Covid-19 has brought. It is giving me time to deal with the overwhelming reality of  having my well developed plans and methods for showcasing my art suddenly become unavailable. Thank you for your support.”

  • 17 Aug 2020 4:56 PM | Anonymous

    Nancy Cohen is an artist in the Arts Xchange and a member of the WADA Board of Directors.  She is a classical oil painter in the style of the Old Masters – lots of light and shadow and drama.   And even though she was trained in the classical tradition, she is hardly conventional.  To put it bluntly, she loves food.  She likes to eat it and she likes to paint it!    Her series called “THIS IS HOW I GOT SO FAT” features cakes and cupcakes, candy, ice cream, and a parade of pears and apples that look like a line of rockettes.  

    Nancy believes the secret to happiness is in noticing and appreciating the beauty in the everyday things of life.  In her work, she tries to elevate the small and ordinary into something extraordinary.  And she’s learned one important truth in art – EVERYONE loves a painting of a huge donut! 

    You can see her work at nancycohenstudio.com

    We asked Nancy a few questions about her art and inspirations: 

    How long have you been a full-time artist?  What other work do you do?

    I've been a full time artist for 20 years.  Before that, I was a respiratory therapist, a child care counselor, a professional fundraiser, I wrote really good computer manuals, I was a junior bond analyst, a professional speech writer, and the Director of Communications for a large NYC bank.  When I was 50 I gave it all up and spent 3 years drawing and painting at the Art Students League of New York.  After that I was hooked on being a painter and stopped earning any money.

    What is your medium and why? 

    Oil painting.  I love the smell and the gushy feel of the paint and the translucency.

    What inspires you?  

    Beauty. Ordinary things that get transformed by light into something magical.

    What's it like to be an artist in St Pete? 


    Why did you join the ArtsXchange and how has it informed your work?  

    I joined because I love people and painting and I get both at the ArtsXchange.  I never liked the isolation of being an artist.   I've been influenced by the very different work of the people around me and I know I've grown as an artist by being there.

    What else arouses your passion besides art? 

    I'm a fairly high stakes poker player.  I love the game, I love the degenerates who play, and I love the competition.  But I'm not a gambler.  I study the game, play the odds, and try to make the right decisions at every juncture.  It's a good strategy in poker and in life.

    Finally, is there anything else you'd like to say? 

    Yes.  Wear a  mask!

  • 10 Aug 2020 10:01 AM | Anonymous

    Saumitra Chandratreya, one of the new artists who will be joining studio residents in the ArtsXchange this month, will bring a new medium to the artist collective.  Saumitra is a fiber-installation artist who uses found objects, often deriving images from mainstream media or public sources, to create textiles, abstract prints and woven pieces for his contemporary works of art. With pop culture and social commentary playing an important role in his art, every piece of art has experiential elements that have brought him widespread recognition. Though he is a new resident, frequent ArtsXchange visitors will recall his exhibit last year titled "Everyday Obvious."

    Saumitra was born in Mumbai, lives in both St. Petersburg and Chicago, and considers Bangalore, India, a third home. He graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago with a Master of Design in Fashion, Body, and Garment. He also has a BFA in Textile Design from the Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology in Bangalore, India.

    He was awarded one of the Individual Artist Grants from St. Petersburg Arts Alliance in 2020, Emerging Artist Grants from Creative Pinellas in 2018 and he was one of the emerging artists at the 2019 Gasparilla Festival of Arts in Tampa, FL. Saumitra was one of the selected artists for Inaugural Qinfolk Festival in Ithaca, NY. He was one of the Finalists who exhibited at the Union League Club of Chicago for Luminarts Cultural Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship Show. Saumitra was awarded the Shapiro Graduate research fellowship at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was nominated by his department for the James Nelson Raymond Fellowship while studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His works have been collected nationally and internationally and his art has been written about extensively in the local media.

    We asked Saumitra a few questions about his art and inspiration:

    How long have you been a full-time artist? 

    I have been practicing art professionally for about 12 years now. It has shifted in terms of how much of my time I’d dedicated to it because of both undergraduate and graduate schools but I am always working on something creative. I am a maker. 

    What is your medium and how did you arrive at it? 

    I use textiles as my primary medium but I have also started using readymade objects in my art. I enrolled in my undergraduate art school to become a product designer. As good art school foundation programs go, the education allowed me to question everything I was doing, I believed in and I was becoming confidant about my sexuality. I saw the work that textile design students were producing at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology and I fell in love with the medium. I love the versatility, the inherent grace and dynamism of textiles. I felt like the possibilities are endless with textiles. So I decided to choose that as my specialization. From there on, I worked as a design intern at a natural dyeing and Shibori studio and then as a junior designer at a high end embroidery studio, before studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There, my principle advisor, Nick Cave, challenged me to step away from textiles for a while and that’s how I discovered ready-made objects. I started using them through weekly design projects and I really enjoy working with the history and meaning they bring to my arts practice. 

    What inspires your art? 

    I am inspired by day-to-day nuances of my identity, as a queer, non-binary, immigrant person of color and what it means to affirm these identities now, when we have been othered. What does it mean to be an artist with a voice? I am inspired by pop culture, LGBTQIA+ culture, fashion and day-to-day activism. 

    Why did you join the ArtsXchange and how do you feel that will inform or influence your work? 

    I have always thrived in a communal studio settings. I believe in the value other artists can add to my work through critiques and discussions. Through the 2nd Saturday Art-Walks and other community events I have been familiar with a lot of artists in the group. So when I was given the opportunity to be a part of the studio environment I was delighted.   Having a professional studio will also help in adding more discipline to my practice and I am looking forward to that. Having a studio separate from home will also help me be more prolific in my arts practice. 

    Do you have any upcoming events? 

    I have a collaborative art show opening on August 17th at the Gallery 221, located at Hillsborough Community College, Dale Mabry Campus in Tampa. The title of the show is ‘Secret Language of Intimacy’. I collaborated with poet Kevin Mooney who lives in Venice, FL. I also have an art piece in the current Mize Gallery show, Sounds Good. To know more details about the show, please follow me on Instagram and Facebook. 

  • 04 Aug 2020 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    This month, the Warehouse Arts District Association is excited to welcome several new artist residents in the studios at the ArtsXchange. One of these artists is Nick Davis, a 29-year-old digital artist born and raised in Saint Petersburg, who has gained both popularity and exposure for his unique style of digital art. Inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kerry James Marshall, Kehinde Wiley, and Kara Walker, to name a few, Nick says his art expresses everyday life.  He uses his iPad and the Procreate app to sketch and draw beautiful illustrations and animations.

    Nick is open with his struggles with anxiety and depression, and has said that, “My goal is simply to encourage my community and others that you’re not alone but that your Black Is Beautiful.” He says he wants to focus on his community, and help others to know that they are not alone.

    Nick has been a full-time artist for just a little over a year. His most recent series, called Black Is Beautiful, and has gained him a lot of new followers – over 17,000 on Instagram -- and great interest from the artist community.  He has been recently featured by Creative PinellasWEDU Arts, and 10 Tampa Bay.

    We asked Nick a few questions.

    What inspires your art? 

    My community, driven by lack of emotions.


    What is it like to be an artist in St. Petersburg?

    I was born and raised in Saint Petersburg. It’s a city full of talented artist willing to help each other grow.


    Why did you join the ArtsXchange and how do you feel that will inform or influence your work? 

    I’m excited for the opportunity to join a community of creators driven to grow. My hope is it to encourage new medium such as Digital Art.

    Learn more about Nick here: www.ndartlife.com

    “Born Radiant”Black Is Beautiful in Nick Davis' Digital Masterpieces - Creative ... 

  • 02 Aug 2020 6:08 PM | Anonymous

    A relative newcomer to St. Petersburg, Joe Furst, Principal of Place Projects says he was immediately drawn to St. Petersburg the moment he toured the City in 2017.  Although his first investments were along the Central Avenue corridor, Furst found the Warehouse Arts District the most intriguing.  

    Place Projects, and its partners, acquired several properties in the Warehouse Arts District and quickly worked to become a part of the community by launching Creative Art at 400, located on 22nd Street South, and becoming an active member in the Warehouse Arts District Association. Place Projects helped fund the outdoor plaza and proposed signature art sculpture by Mark Aeling at the ArtsXchange.

    “It was no surprise to my family that I immediately honed in on this hip and edgy district,” said Furst. “I spent most of the last 10 years working to help redevelop Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, so it makes sense to get involved in the Warehouse Arts District.” 

    Previously, Furst spent over 10 years at Goldman Properties, a real estate development company with holdings in Miami, Philadelphia, and New York City. As the Managing Partner for Goldman Properties’ entire Wynwood portfolio, Furst oversaw the transformation of Wynwood from a fragmented industrial district into an engaging destination and a true live-work-play neighborhood. 

    “What really helped the Wynwood district thrive was a zoning overlay focused on maintaining the industrial character of the area, while allowing thoughtful, human scale development.  The zoning allowed us to curate diverse, but complementary uses,” Furst said. “So you might have a baker, a local light industrial fruit canning company, and live/work lofts all flourishing in the same neighborhood.” Dubbed the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District (NRD), it won the American Planning Association Award for best planning and zoning policy for economic development in 2016. 

    What’s next for Furst in the Warehouse Arts District? 

    Furst has been researching and listening to existing business and community leaders in the greater Warehouse Arts District for a couple years now and has become an active business member. He is making plans for the property that Place Projects and its investors own on 22nd Street South, but wants to include the community every step of the way. To reach the community in these days of social distancing, Furst recently launched a project website with an interactive map of the 22nd Street South corridor where visitors can share their feedback. 

    “The biggest thing I took away from the Wynwood District project was the power of collective thought and how much more you can achieve through commonality,” Furst said. “So, for now, we’ll continue to listen and get feedback from the community so we can chart our future together.”

  • 30 Jul 2020 6:18 PM | Anonymous

    Sixteen of the artists from The Studios at the ArtsXchange are now showing their work in an exciting group show at the Tully-Levine Gallery.  This will be a virtual show by video until a live ARTWALK resumes.  You can take a virtual tour of the entire show and the work of each artist participating by going to the link below.

    Those who wish to see the show in person may contact us for a private viewing by appointment only, Tuesdays or Thursdays.  To schedule an appointment call Nancy Cohen at 917-921-6821 or email nancy@nancyandrichard.com.  There will be limited visitors allowed in at one time, and masks and social distancing will be required.

     The show includes:

    • Installation:Alice Ferrulo
    • Sculpture:Maria Saraceno
    • Jewelry:Paola Nesmith
    • Mixed Media:Susan Antoinette and Vanessa Seagraves
    • Photography:Donna Daugherty, Rob Fazio, and Dylan Todd
    • Paintings:Tom Amidon, Jenny Bleackley, Nancy Cohen, John Flavin,
      Sue Johnson, Carrie Kilgore, Andrea Pawlisz, and Don Silvestri.

    The tour was created by WADA member, Dylan Todd Photography.  Here are three different ways to view the show:

    • 3D Virtual Tour with info-tags: 3D Virtual Tour Touch the circles on the floor then spin around to navigate.  Touch the orange dots for information on the artist. 

    • Complete video walkthrough narrated with everyone’s info  Complete Video Tour  approximately 17 minutes long. 

  • 29 Jul 2020 6:15 PM | Anonymous

    A huge thanks to Robert J. Simone for sharing his expertise on a three part FREE online class on painting "Waves and Water.” These three classes were held live and taught the anatomy of waves, as well as how to convey movement and translucency.  Simone explained in detail his three-step process for moving from block-in to development to finish. Robert J. Simone is nationally recognized as an award-winning artist. 

    The workshop is available for viewing:  Session 1, Session 2, Session 3

    You can check out his work at Robert J. Simone Fine Art, www.robertjsimone.com

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