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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

  • 28 May 2020 1:54 PM | Anonymous

    Andrea Pawlisz’s art incorporates nostalgic, simple themes and images in a loose, vintage, pop realism style. While Andrea is known for her contemporary works, she draws on a variety of inspirations and many different styles for her work, including coastal themes, urban furniture, and what she calls subway art, which focuses on city signage. She says that vintage toys and icons are among her favorite subjects. 

    Educated in architecture and graphic design, with over 30 years of experience, Andrea’s skills in advertising, print design, logo design, sign making are evident in her art.  Her art is colorful and uplifting, intending to transport the viewer to a better time.  

    Andrea is a resident artist at the ArtsXchange Studios and you can visit her once Art Walks resume in Studio 119. 

    We asked Andrea a few questions about her artistry and inspirations. 

    Where are you from? 

    I am originally from Chicago and moved to St Pete in 2002. I went to architecture and graphic design school in Arizona. Work has been at an advertising agency, a graphic studio and two sign companies. 

    How long have you been a full-time artist?  

    My freelance career exceeds 30 years and self-employment of fine art and graphics for 18. I opened a coffee and art bar on central ave in 2003 that I sold in 2007. (I got lucky, it was right before the crash, an accidental genius)

    Where do you draw inspiration?  

    Inspiration comes from everyday events, tv and advertising. 

    How has your style evolved over time? 

    The evolution of my work is in the content, revealing bits of myself which connects to the viewer.

    What do you value about part of the WADA and the ArtsXchange community? 

    The ArtsXchange has introduced me to several artists to which I have become close. Meaningful relationships with like-minded people are incredibly valuable for professional as well as personal growth. 

    How are restrictions related to COVID affecting you? 

    It has been difficult managing these last few months in my studio alone, without them. The closing of our building has disallowed my clients from coming to view or purchase art, view proofs or pick up printing for example. It also cut off artwalk which brought people through to view, purchase and commission art. There have been no sales since the first week of March, so I am using my stimulus check from the government to pay my studio rent. Lastly, the gallery where I work has been closed for 2 1/2 months, so I have been without that income as well. 

    You can learn more about Andrea here: 


  • 18 May 2020 10:18 AM | Anonymous

    Glenyse Thompson is an abstract visual artist who moved to St. Petersburg from Chicago in 2010. Her media include lightfast inks, acrylics and white or gold pen on panels or paper. Glenyse says she draws inspiration from day-to-day interaction with people, conversations, Florida's lively weather, travel and everyday experiences. It all shows up in the colors and movement used to visually illustrate how she enjoys life. 

    "I create my work with a combination of permanent waterproof lightlast inks, acrylics and water-based media," Glenyse says. "I love a good white ink pen too."

    Glenyse joined the WADA for the opportunity to promote and exhibit her art in member shows. She is also a member of @BADGuild, an organization in the bespoke art + design for residential, commercial, and hospitality environments to showcase the many talents of black artists, and designers, colleagues. 

    Glenyse answered some questions about her art and life:

    Why did you move to St. Petersburg?

    For love. After spending an inordinate amount of time in the Florida area for vacations, I jumped at the opportunity to relocate when my partner moved to Florida in 2010.

    What you think about the arts community here? 

    When I first moved here, I felt the area was lacking cohesive arts reach. Our arts game has become more sophisticated throughout Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater. Our metros are more culturally recognized.  We have wonderful new acquisitions ("Leviathan Zodiac", by Kehinde Wiley purchased by the Collectors Circle of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg) and public art collections gifted to enjoy (Purvis Young:91 Exhibition, 91 artworks gifted to the Tampa Museum of by the Rubell Family Foundation). Those collections are examples that our tri-cities are becoming tour de force. I think this is awesome; culture and the arts are central to metropolitan areas growth.

    How do you feel about being an artist during this pandemic?

    I was coming off a creative break during 2019 and had started creating again when COVID set in. There was just a breaking point where I had to get some easy, beautiful and simple artwork out, just for me. I signed up the the #100 Day Challenge, it is and was a good push to get me started-I created 40 little works in under two weeks. (I'll post them on my site soon, glenyse.com). I would say to any creator at this time, do a little of anything creative...create with the sole purpose of extending your medium to any visual. Create to relax, to let your mind wander, to let go. This is really the best time to let go of all expectations, impostors, and perfection, to let what flows be your salve. 

    Why did you join the Warehouse Arts District Association?

    I joined WADA to help support the arts and creative communities in St. Pete; I'm glad to be a part of it!

    Find out more about Glenyse's work here:

  • 16 May 2020 8:33 AM | Anonymous

    Join The James Museum's Curator Emily Kapes on this virtual tour hosted by the Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA) Education Committee.  This one-hour tour lets you seem some of the great art from the 3,000 piece collection of Tom & Mary James.

    500 pieces from their entire collection are now housed at the James Museum at 150 Central Ave in S Petersburg. Emily highlights some of her favorite pieces from the Native Life Gallery, Wildlife Gallery and others.

    If you haven't been to the James Museum, this is a great intro and -- when things open up again, will be a solid foundation when you visit the 30K square foot museum.  Enjoy!

    James Museum Virtual Tour

    Emily is available if you have any questions. emily.kapes@thejamesmuseum.org


  • 11 May 2020 10:23 AM | Anonymous

    Growing up, Jenny Bleackley dreamed of going to art school. But her parents associated artists with the sex, drugs, and rock & roll of the 60s – not something they wanted their daughter involved in.  So her dreams of being an artist took a back burner to an office job and raising a family.

    But in 2003 when her kids left home, she began studying watercolor in her native United Kingdom.  Discovering techniques enabling her to work on canvas, she explores and pushes boundaries, harnessing traditional form which allows the techniques to have an expression of their own, in a style of impressionistic fine art. 

    When she met her second husband Adrian, Jenny warned him that in the next phase of her life, she wanted to paint full-time and he was happy to support her passion. In 2011, they bought a home in St Petersburg, initially as a vacation home, realizing only after what a great arts destination was exploding here. She moved here permanently in 2013 and became an artist full time. 

    “I am finally doing what I always wanted to do,” Jenny said. She has worked from her studio in The ArtsXchange in the Warehouse Arts District since it opened in 2017.  “Finally, I am an artist amongst an array of talented artists and in a City growing by the minute with artists and museums and exciting hip venues.”

    Her watercolor-on-canvas techniques come into play with her series – Florida Flowers, Cool, Calm & Collected and Petites Fleurs.  The series Florida Flowers are inspired by the beautiful, and some exotic flowers she sees in her neighborhood and are painted on canvas prepared with torn tissue paper glued to it.  This creates an impressionistic style as if dried flowers were used.  Concentrating on three colors she creates stunning paintings offered as duos to brighten any room. 

    Being surrounded by the sea is a huge source of Jenny’s inspiration – never does the sea or sky look the same, giving endless excitement to her color book. The moods of the sea inspire her in a poetic and spiritual sense and each painting in her Cool, Calm & Collected Series comes with its own poem.  This series is created using a wet-on-wet technique and Jenny follows her intuition as to where the painting is going.

    For more information on Jenny’s work:

  • 07 May 2020 8:05 PM | Anonymous

    Modern Tampa Bay Homes and Barkett Realty have selected eight contemporary artists to showcase and ultimately commission works for buyers of a new seven-unit development in the Grand Central District, called AD Lofts. These eclectic residences will celebrate local artists in the area, with close proximity to all the Warehouse Arts District has to offer.

    The artists selected include: Carrie Kilgore, Dana Killion, Geoffrey Baris, Lesley Jeffery, Mark Mitchell, Nathan Beard, Pamela Van Sant, and Tom Amidon-Rivero.

    MTBH and Barkett partnered with the Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA) for a call to artists in April to commission and selected the artists from an extremely talented roster of submissions.  MTBH will feature the artists on its website and in a catalogue for its buyers and will give each buyer a credit of up to $3,000 to purchase an artwork from this exclusive catalogue. The purchases also support the WADA mission of promoting a vibrant artist community in the district and the city.  

    “Since we will be living and working in Grand Central, and admire the beautiful, exciting, and progressive types of artwork done by our local artists, we want to support our neighbors.” WADA Business Member and MTBH owner Richard McGinniss said. “We thought it would be only right to include some of our local artists work to our buyers.” 

    For more on why McGinniss supports the arts, view this member profile here.  See more about the selected artists below. 

    Carrie Kilgore  
    Kilgore paints vibrant, iconic portraits.  She paints the face in a unique way that best captures the spirit and character of that particular individual. The work is visually rich and meaningful, with vibrant color and playfulness.

    Shine on
    Oil on canvas
    4 x 4 ft 


    Dana Killion
    Killion is an abstract painter interested in bold mark making and intuitive, layered processes.

    What's Going On
    acrylic on canvas


    Geoffrey Baris

    Baris is an abstract nature photographer.

    Headed Home 
    Photographic Print on Canvas
    30x40 or 40x60

    Leslie Jeffery   

    Jeffery’s main interest is large format abstract non-representational acrylic paintings that are about the process and feature layers, texture, line and shapes, and color. She also does large bird nests which are popular with many of her followers.

    Taste of Honey
    Acrylic on Canvas

    Mark Mitchell

    Mitchell is a Conceptual Pop Painter in the tradition of classic pop artists like James Rosenquist and Tom Wesselman — with his own spin. He believes in art that conveys ideas. By using meaningful juxtaposition and social commentary, his work is intended to encourage viewers to ”look deeper.” Because by exposing things that are hidden, each piece is designed to invite the viewer in, challenge them to find meaning, and ultimately see the world a little differently.

    State of Independence
    Acrylic on Gallery-Wrapped Canvas w/ Black Painted Sides. 2-Coats UV Gloss Varnish. Frameless with Hanging Hardware
    36" X 36"

    Nathan Beard 
    Beard has two main bodies of work: Exit Music and Pond's Edge. He employs a variety of processes to achieve complex, multi-layered artworks inspired by the human conception and experience of Space-Time. The meaning of Beard's work is inextricably tied to the process of its creation, with each color, form and technique chosen for its metaphorical possibilities. He draws inspiration from the density and variety of Floridian flora, the natural and cosmological sciences, as well as mathematics and anthropology.

    Exit Music #70 (Life Lines)
    acrylic and soil on panel, unframed with finished edges
    60" x 84"

    Pamela Van Sant
    Van Sant loves to create mixed media abstract works that incorporate all kinds of materials, aluminum,  salt, image transfers, nail polish  and anything else I find interesting. She also loves  to paint flowers in oil.

    Cave Clubbing
    Mixed Media on canvas
    24" x 46"

    Tom Amidon-Rivero
    Amidon-Rivero paints Impressionistic abstracted reality.

    Blue Boat
    60 x 48

  • 01 May 2020 4:22 PM | Anonymous

     In this time of uncertainty, there's a fundamental truth that gives us hope - that together we can do extraordinary things. Over the past few weeks and months, the entire world has been coming together to stand up, help out, give back, and heal. Whether that's through donations to community organizations, celebrating doctors and nurses, or reaching out to a neighbor to help with groceries, generosity has beenhelping the entire world get through this global pandemic.

     As you know, our organization is dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant arts community in St. Petersburg that supports the success of all artists and the community at-large through a broad spectrum of tools including community revitalization, marketing, advocacy and educational programming. But we can’t do it without you!

     To continue delivering on our mission and engaging with our community we need your help and support. Please save the date and consider a gift to the Warehouse Arts District on May 5, 2020, for #GivingTuesdayNow. Give Day Tampa Bay is a 24-hour, online givingevent presented by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay to showcase nonprofits like the Warehouse Arts District Association.The Warehouse Arts District will be raising money for a WADA Artists Relief Fund to help those who brighten our community with their exceptional talents and make St. Petersburg an amazing city in which to live, work, visit, and play.

     Join the movement on #GivingTuesdayNow. Make a gift, spread the love, and tell your friends and family why you believe in our work and encourage them to support us too!

     Together. We unite. THANK YOU for being a part of our team!  https://www.warehouseartsdistrictstpete.org/Donate

     A special #GivingTuesday is will take place on May 5, 2020, as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. 

    May 5, 2020


    - https://now.givingtuesday.org/

    Together. We Heal.

  • 01 May 2020 3:13 PM | Anonymous

    Leila Martini is a local artist specializing in the use of color. From abstract to landscape, she uses color to create feeling with her art. From the early age of 5, when she got her first typewriter, Leila was always writing stories and poems, and drawing. When her sister was taking dance classes, Leila preferred drawing lessons at the Tampa Museum of Art. 

    Leila was introduced to painting with acrylics by her grandmother when she was 12. She wrote her first children’s book in her 20s called Where the Light Shines Through and her second in her 30s called Juni and Freska.

    Born and raised in Tampa, Leila is no stranger around town in St. Petersburg, her favorite place to hang out. She has shown her art in WADA member shows, at Black Crow Coffee, and at Tampa Bay Home Furnishings. She has WADA member since 2017.  "WADA gives me a sense of community and connection," Leila said. "I love the members and the opportunity to show my work."

    While Leila’s academic background was firmly rooted in science not art, she always retained a creative side. She has her Doctorate in Public Health, Masters in Public Health in environmental health and toxicology, and a Masters in Library Science. During one of her jobs designing training manuals for public health workers in epidemiology, a training participant saw Leila’s sharpie doodles and suggested that Leila share them publicly. So, she started creating mulicolored geometrical works with markers.

    Always a scientist, Leila was fascinated by the neuroscience concept of synesthesia- a condition in which one sense (such as eyesight) is simultaneously experienced by other senses (such as sound)- so the person with synesthesia might hear color and see sound. Because of the colorful and flowing look of her creations, Leila decided to call her art Synesthesia Artwork. 

    During a trip in 2016 to Asheville, Leila discovered alcohol ink and fell in love with the medium. Leila currently experiments with using alcohol ink on a variety of surfaces to design colorful abstract artwork.

    For more on Leila check out:

    Her website: Olive Branch Research, LLC http://olivebranchresearchllc.com/

    Her artist page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/synesthesiaartwork/

  • 30 Apr 2020 5:59 PM | Anonymous

    The Warehouse Arts District Association proudly announces an Artists Member Art show with the theme “I Need A Drink! Cocktail Hour”. Selected artworks fitting this theme submitted by WADA members, will remain on exhibit for 2 months in the Burka Member Lounge of the ArtsXchange located in the heart of the Warehouse Arts District. The ArtsXchange campus is one of the most widely visited galleries included in the Second Saturday Artwalk. (We’re looking at July Art Walk but the dates may change depending on COVID-19 restrictions.) See more information here.

  • 25 Apr 2020 9:13 AM | Anonymous

    Ted VanCleave has been creating art for more than thirty years while living in San Francisco, Los Angeles & Miami before making Saint Petersburg his home in 2017.

    He says he moved to St Pete from Miami three years ago in large part due to WADA and ArtsXchange.

    "I was looking for a new artist studio and a place to connect with like minded creatives," Vancleave said. "As a WADA member, I am constantly learning about interesting and useful art related subjects via their educational events [free to members]. And having a studio in ArtsXchange is a dream come true." 

    VanCleave's Sinuosity sculptures are sought after for their sensuous shapes, delicate folds & metallic finishes, but they are also a dichotomy. Each sculpture looks like gently folded fabric that could easily be compressed and flattened but they are as hard as a rock and permanently frozen in their final expression.

    VanCleave's media of expertise include sculpture, abstract painting and photography. He always brings an original point of view to his work. 

    Artworks by VanCleave can be found in collections in the USA and internationally and have been acquired by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation as part of their permanent collection. His work was exhibited at the Dali Museum in 2018. He's also exhibited widely during Art Basel in Miami including Art Miami, Art Miami Context and Aqua Art Miami. His work was exhibited in four major fairs simultaneously via four top international galleries. His interviews on CNN among others have received a worldwide audience.

    You can find Ted in Studio 101 at the ArtsXchange in St. Petersburg.

    Check out Ted's work here and at the video below:



  • 21 Apr 2020 9:52 AM | Anonymous

    When asked if the Warehouse Arts District Association could help in getting much needed food to families in need, we said yes!

    In conjunction with Feeding Tampa Bay and Grow Smarter St. Petersburg, the Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA) hosted a mobile panty on April 20 where volunteers handed out 7,500 meals and 9,000 pounds of food! More than 300 families received food, including meats, fruit, potatoes, bread and more. 

    WADA is dedicated to be an active participant in helping our community in need and hopes to offer regular opportunities in the future for our members to participate in activities that benefit the community. Rock on WADA!


    WADA Board Members Veatrice Farrell and Caryn Nesmith and WADA Interim Director Renee Dabbs and Director of Operations and Events Michelene Everett help distribute food to families in need.

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