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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

  • 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

  • 27 Jul 2020 5:14 PM | Anonymous

    We’re extremely excited to welcome four talented artists who will be moving into the studios at the ArtsXchange: Nick Davis, a Digital Artist; Saumitra Chandratreya; a fiber-installation artist; iBOMS, an illustrator and muralist; and Zulu Painter, a scenic artist, muralist and painter. We’ll be profiling these artists in greater depth over the weeks. 

    Nick Davis 

    Nick is a Digital Artist from Saint Petersburg, Florida. Inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kerry James Marshall, Kehinde Wiley, and Kara Walker, to name a few, he uses his art to express everyday life. Nick's goal is to encourage his community and others to know that they are not alone and that their Black Is Beautiful.

    Learn more about Nick here: www.ndartlife.com

    Saumitra Chandratreya 

    Saumitra is a Fiber-Installation artist who lives in St. Petersburg, FL, and Chicago, IL. He was born in Mumbai, and he considers Bangalore, India, his second 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.

    Learn more about Saumitra here: https://www.saumitrac.com

    Jabari Reed-Diop 

    Jabari is what his mother calls him, but his artist's name is iBOMS.  IBOMS is a 20-year-old artist from St. Petersburg, Florida, whose experience and skills stem from his education at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, located in Jacksonville, Florida, along with his consistent determination to better his craft. Upon first glance, his work may seem like simple illustrations and graffiti. However, each piece has a unique story to tell of self-love, destruction, and discovery. It exposes the viewer to a glimpse inside his world of being a young African American male.

    Learn more about iBOMS here: https://thisisiboms.com 

    Carlito Culb 

    Carlito is better known by his artist name, Zulu Painter, and is an international multi-media artist who works in traditional mediums and body paint, special effects, and scenic art. Zulu’s large-scale mural work contributes to the art revitalization in communities throughout the United States. Zulu has worked as a Scenic Artist for The Science Channel, Disney on Ice, Home Shopping Network, Sea World Parks & Entertainment, national ad campaigns, and as a representative artist for Visit Florida.

    Learn more about Carlito Culb here: Carlito Culb - Zulu Painter

  • 27 Jul 2020 4:14 PM | Anonymous

    The arts community is mourning the recent passing of Patton Hunter, talented artist, teacher and beloved friend.  Patton was a founding member of the ArtsXchange and an ardent supporter of the The Warehouse Arts District.   She came to painting later in life after a successful career as a writer and journalist. A favorite early job was reporting for the European office of the US military paper, The Stars and Stripes. She turned to art originally as a diversion during her late husband’s struggle with early onset Alzheimer’s. 

     Her first love was watercolor. Her exceptional talent became evident early on in her studies of this medium.  She evolved rapidly and was soon sought after to teach classes at different venues around St Pete. Eventually she turned to acrylic as a primary medium of expression but she never stopped growing and experimenting in her art, continuing to try different approaches throughout her life. She was a prolific painter, appreciated throughout our community by other artists and by the public at large. In her art, she worked representationally and abstractly, large and small, on canvas, paper and panel.  Her self-portraits are wonderful examples of her joy in painting and her ability to play in her work. 

    Patton honed her art skills and indulged her love of travel by taking workshops around the world. Her sense of adventure was a wonderful part of her personality.  She wasn’t shy about taking on a challenge both in art and in other areas of her life. She once took a year off to sail with a friend exploring the European coastline and its many ports.  Her last travel adventure was just over a year ago when she crossed Africa off her bucket list. 

    Patton’s life was a work of art. She cherished her friends, was open to new experiences, loved to teach, reached out to help and support other artists, and was a wonderful companion. She never stopped learning, and was in art classes to the very end. We will miss her, her lively banter, her sense of humor, and her generous nature. She enriched our lives.  Rest in peace, dear Patton.

    • Sue Johnson

    Like so many others-I am absolutely heartbroken! I met Patton 10 years ago and knew instantly she was an Angel sent to be with us. There was always a warm smile and gentleness about her spirit. She touched my heart, I’m a better person for having met her.  

    •  Rita Bateman 

    What a positive, encouraging artist and teacher! Always tried to stop in and say Hi to her and several other artists, there. Loved her in your face fore-shortened, colorful painting style, R.I.P. sweet lady!

    • Rick Whalen, ArtLofts

  • 16 Jul 2020 11:05 AM | Teresa Sullivan (Administrator)

    Alsace moved to St. Petersburg from Asheville, NC where she had managed a bookstore for 16 years.  In St. Pete, she was in search of a contemporary bookstore which also brought in authors from out of state to give lectures about their work. 

    There was a need for a bookstore involved with the community.  The year was 2015 and she spent the next two years researching, taking courses at the Green House, and producing a business plan.  In 2017 she became an LLC.  She had a pop-up shop in the Edge District for 5 months, facilitating book clubs, and partnering with local non-profits to sell books for them as well as events and book signings.  The little 100 square foot shop helped to get her name and business on the local literary map. The shop performed special ordering along with delivery service all over the country. 

     She began to save money and locate investors to aid in opening a real brick and mortar store.  The young entrepreneur was finally able to locate a physical store at 2153 1st. Ave S., right here in the Warehouse Arts District. 

     Alsace came from a family of painters and her father is a woodworker.  Her interest falls heavily into the literary arts.  Words as an art form that cover everything from details, font, thought, artistic covers, to the incredible way words and stories are formed out of the imagination.  She says WADA has always been supportive and her physical store location is practically right at the entrance of the district off 22nd St. S.  But, she states, she would have been a member even if physically she wasn’t near the district. 

     Her family and wife worked on coming up with a name for the store.  It needed to be a name unique to the locale.  Tombolo is defined as a type of sandbar that connects an island to the mainland.  And lastly she added, “Books help people connected to other people.  People connected with great literary minds.”  And thus, Tombolo Books was born.

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