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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

  • 09 Mar 2020 12:10 AM | Anonymous

    The man behind the sleek geometric and classic transitional homes popping up in many of St. Petersburg’s and Tampa  neighborhoods is Richard McGinniss, the owner of Modern Tampa Bay Homes. McGinniss’ bio includes being the executive in charge of some of the largest communities and mixed use projects in the Southwest, including a $600 million research facility in North Carolina, a 13,000-acre master planned community in central Florica as well as a variety of large scaled  condominium, hotel and resort facilities. In 2013, McGinniss left the corporate grind to do what he loved: build high-quality, unique modern homes. 

    Four years ago, McGinniss moved his company to the Grand Central District in order to get away from the high downtown rents. Once he spent time in the area, he realized that Grand Central was home to his favorite restaurants, bars, breweries, coffee shops and activities.  Realizing the mind-boggling activity going on in the Warehouse Arts District, just a few steps away, McGinniss concluded that living on Central Ave was the best place to live in St. Pete. 

     “I think the area will become even cooler over time with what is being planned – more culture, more fun places to go, all in a tight neighborhood setting,” he said. “It is exploding.” Thus, his latest project, the AD Lofts was conceived to create modern residences in the heart of the Grand Central District.

    McGinniss is interested in supporting the artistic community in St. Petersburg because the creative vibrancy is what makes the city such a great place to live.  “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.” McGinniss said. “We thought it would be only right to include some of our local artists work to our buyers.” McGinniss has partnered with the Warehouse Arts District Association to give each AD Lofts buyer a commissioned artwork of their choice.  The Call to Artists is available here

    He added, “We are, in our small humble way, paying homage to our wonderful art community by giving exposure to this important asset of St Pete - our Artists.”   

  • 06 Mar 2020 12:48 AM | Anonymous
    • Feminist, activist, and artist Suzanne Benton is a sculptor, mask performance artist, printmaker, painter, and workshop leader who has worked in 31 countries over the past 40 years.  The native New Yorker has been coming to St. Petersburg since 2004, and has been a visiting artist in printmaking at Eckerd College since 2006 where she recently had an exhibit of her prints at Eckerd’s Cobb Gallery.

      At 84-years-old, Benton might be tempted to slow down, but instead she is evermore the activist.  In 2017, she was honored by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Pinellas Chapter as activist of the year due to her leadership role in catalyzing the Women’s March in downtown St. Petersburg, which brought together 30,000 peaceful marchers together on January 21, 2017.  

      Benton says that her activism fuels her art, and her art fuels her activism.  She is now head of the Women’s Caucus for the Arts, St. Petersburg Branch (WCAFL-SPB), whose mission is to create community through art, education, and social activism. WCA members are currently working on a series of portraits of Women Who Work.

      Benton's artwork has been represented in 175+ solo shows and two retrospectives, and she has traveled and worked all over the world, including in villages in Africa, India, and Nepal.  Her work is represented in museums, and private collections worldwide. Author of the Art of Welded Sculpture and numerous articles, she is listed also in Who's Who in America and Who's Who of American Artists, is a founding member of Veteran Feminists of America, and was featured in a book titled, “Feminists Who Change America.” 

      Benton is also in the process of writing a memoir entitled Spirit of Hope.  When asked about her WADA membership, Suzanne said she hoped for community, exposure and promotion, like most artists. And buyers! 

      In 2018, she gave an amazing and inspiring talk at a Creative Morning St. Pete event, where she talked about her life, her sources of courage and how her art feeds her activism and her activism feeds her art.

    • For more on Suzanne check out:

    Screen Grab from the North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century, By Heller and Heller (2013)

  • 01 Mar 2020 5:07 PM | Anonymous

    We are having a Membership Committee Meeting tomorrow. This is for people who want to help with programming for membership. I invite anyone who wants to contribute to our artist community to join us. So sorry for the short notice, but we will be holding these monthly and I will give more notice in the future. 

    Membership Meeting

    When: March 2 @ 5:30 pm

    Where: ArtsXchange Burka Lounge, 515 22nd St NW


    1. Getting the ArtsXchange Marketplace started
    2. Getting a sub-committee started for a calendar of member shows.
    3. Update on 2020 Goal (focus groups done, database letters cleaned up done, WADA member group cleaned up, membership newsletter sent, general membership meeting help, and Member blog created)
    4. Modern Tampa Bay Homes artist commission project.
    5. Artist and Business member profiles to post on the blog
    6. Project to get artist pictures and profiles for the Membership Directory

  • 22 Feb 2020 11:32 PM | Anonymous

    A long time resident of the ArtsXchange compound, Dazzio Art Experience Gallery & School of Art closed its doors in late 2019.  While the departure has been felt by the WADA and larger art community, we are thrilled to announce a new tenant in Dazzio’s former location.  We welcome David and Joel Hosler who will be moving Seven C Music from its Haines Road location to the ArtsXchange compound in the former Dazzio school and gallery. David Hosler has more than 40 years of experience designing, building and repairing stringed instruments. Learn more at: https://www.sevencmusic.com

  • 12 Feb 2020 11:33 PM | Anonymous

    WADA’s  education committee has been providing regular artist professional development workshops, free for members, for three years (small fee for non-members).  The Chairs are Board Member Julie Angerosa, ArtsXchange artist Susan Antoinette and artist member Anna Broshears, along with a team of dedicated volunteers, who unveiled a three pronged plan for 2020, which includes: 

    1. Artist professional development, continuing education classes,

    2. Youth art outreach programming for school-aged midtown population, and

    3. Community arts enrichment – bringing art accessibility and awareness to the broader community.

    The latest class was the Artist Statement Workshop on February 19 in the ArtsXchange Classroom and April’s Class and classes will be held every other following month, including a panel discussion, planned for November in the ArtsXchange Gallery. Regular monthly meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday at 4 PM at the Craftsman House on Central Ave. 

  • 12 Feb 2020 11:31 PM | Anonymous

    In September, WADA inaugurated the Burka Member Lounge. Thanks to donor Karen Burka, WADA renovated a walk-through unairconditioned space into an airconditioned member lounge and member artists' gallery that has a kitchenette, gallery lighting and an administrative office.  Burka offered the gift in loving memory of her husband Eddie Burka who passed away in 2017. Member art shows will rotate every three months and members can use the space as a place to gather during Art Walk. Members may also reserve the lounge for use by appointment. Reserve by sending an email to warehouseartsdistrict@gmail.com.

  • 12 Feb 2020 11:30 PM | Anonymous

    In October, WADA, in conjunction with the City of St. Petersburg and The Deuces Live, released a call to artists to commission six artists or artist teams to refinish the surface of each Dome Industrial area marker in the locations around the Warehouse Arts District. The 122-acre Dome Industrial Park was a redevelopment project begun by the City of St. Petersburg in 1999. It began as a collection of nearly seventy small residential, commercial, and industrial parcels, acquired over a three-year period. Initially erected as homage to an industrial development, this art project seeks to return these structures to the neighborhood and the people who continue to reside within its boundaries. The Call to Artists was open to all artists who live or work within St. Petersburg and gave $11,500 for the larger marker and $4,500 for three smaller markers. 

    Congrats to the selected artists, announced in December 2019!


    Sign Location

    Elaine Chambliss

    28th Street S. | 5th Avenue 

    Susanne Sangricco 

    28th Street S. | Fairfield Avenue

    Zulu Painter

    5th Avenue S. | 22nd Street (trail)

    Catherine Weaver

    1st Avenue S. | West of 22nd Street 

    Justin Sears

    1st Avenue S. | East of 20th Street 

    Brian McCallister

    5th Avenue S. | East of 19th Street

  • 12 Feb 2020 11:28 PM | Anonymous

    In January, WADA reconstituted a membership committee to focus on building our community of artists.  WADA has nearly 300 members and is committed to serving the needs of our membership. In January, Board Members Caryn Nesmith and Teresa Sullivan conducted focus groups with artist and art supporter members, ArtsXchange artists and business members in order to hear what these groups valued as part of their memberships and what they wanted to see in the future. 

    Artists and Arts Supporters seek:

    • Exposure, via member shows and online (social media, website, etc)

    • Educational opportunities – both artistic and professional development 

    • Information Sharing – sharing of goings on, as well as resources for artists

    • Affordable studios 

    • Community  - community of artists and community outreach

    ArtsXchange artists seek:

    • Exposure/ Gallery Promotion

    • Utilization of events space

    • Some self-governance

    • Self and collective promotion

    • Community

    Business members seek: 

    • Networking

    • Betterment of the District

    • Drive business through discounts and exposure

    • Supporting the arts

    These discussions informed WADA membership goals for 2020.

    1. Update Member Benefits and Automated Application and Renewal Processes

    2. Quarterly General Membership Meetings or Social Mixers (To be confirmed: May 13, Sep 9, Dec 9)

    3. Focus on Social Media Engagement and Website Improvements

    4. Publish bimonthly newsletter

    5. Establish Yearly Calendar of consistent Member Shows for all levels of artist members

    6. Organize outdoor Member Marketplace for Art Walk

    7. WADA Ambassadors @ Art Walk and Other Events

  • 12 Feb 2020 11:28 PM | Anonymous

    In January, the membership committee conducted member focus groups. We were surprised to hear confusion, especially from more recent members, about what is the ArtsXchange vs the Warehouse Arts District Association.  We want to clear this up, so here are some frequently asked questions to serve as a primer.  

    What is the Warehouse Arts District Association?

    The Warehouse Arts District Association is a non-profit 501c3, with a mission to build and sustain 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 within the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District.

    What is the ArtsXchange? 

    The ArtsXchange is a compound housing several warehouses within the Warehouse Arts District. It includes the home office of the Warehouse Arts District Association; the Studios at the ArtsXchange, The Burka Member Lounge, MGA Studios, Soft Water Studios, The Shops, Dazzio’s Art Studios (soon to have a new tenant!), a private studio known as the Poetry Bar and another space that until recently housed a lawnmower building but is seeking new tenants. 

    Do WADA Members reside in the Warehouse Arts District boundaries?

    Yes, but not exclusively.  The Warehouse Arts District borders are from 16th St. to 31st St and from 1st Ave South to 10th Ave South, but you do not have to be an artist working within the district in order to join WADA as a member.  We advocate for arts in the District by inviting artists regardless of location to be a member.   

  • 12 Feb 2020 11:26 PM | Anonymous

     Twenty years ago, Nancy Cohen tossed the shoulder pads, pantyhose, and high heels that had been her corporate uniform into the trash and began classes at the Art Students League of New York.  She spent four of the happiest years of her life there, painting and drawing six hours a day in a community of wildly diverse people who had in common a love for making art. All these years later, she found the same joy and community from art school every time at her studio in the ArtsXchange.  She calls it her happy place. “I am grateful every day to be a part of such a wonderful artist community, doing what I love in such an amazing city,” Cohen said. 

    Cohen has been at the ArtsXchange since it opened in 2017, knows the hard work it’s taken to get it going and keep it going.  She wanted to lend her business acumen from her time as a Director of Marketing and Communications for one of the largest banks in the country, combined with her understanding of the concerns of fellow artists to make a contribution toward the future of the place she loves so much.  Cohen believes the Warehouse Arts District can help make St Petersburg a mecca for artists and a top destination for art in the country and says she’s honored to have been chosen to be a member of the board to help in that effort.

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