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  • 20 May 2016 12:19 PM | Deleted user

    repost from Creative Loafing Tampa, May 19, 2016

    St. Pete’s Warehouse Arts District is making creative connections.

    Linda Saul-Sena  May 19, 2016 1:47 p.m.

    St. Pete’s Warehouse Arts District is a treasure trove of creative connectivity. If you haven’t discovered this juicy mix of studios, galleries and murals, treat yourself to a trip — sort of a visual staycation.

    Just blocks south of Central Avenue’s buzz, on 22nd Street, the Morean Center for Clay is your first stop. The carefully preserved Historic Seaboard Train Station, a red brick classic from 1926, is now a mecca for ceramic artists, offering classes, artists-in-residence programs, kilns and gallery space. It’s a “haven for pottery enthusiasts.”

    In 2015, Beth Morean donated the station to the not-for-profit that runs the programs and oversees the building. The large exhibition space is full of tempting objects for sale, varying widely in style, scale and price. The adjacent work area hums with artists and students focused on their projects.

    And there’s a restaurant on the premises, too: the CA Cafe, which serves tasty homemade soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. During a recent lunch, the clientele was a wonderful cross-section of ceramic artists, government employees, neighborhood residents and businesspeople.

    A scant two blocks away, at 24th Street and Emerson Avenue, is Duncan McClellan’s arts oasis. This abandoned industrial area was mostly below the radar of redevelopment when the talented and hardworking glass artist opened his live/work space there in 2010. He had tried for years to secure a historic building in north Ybor City to no avail, thanks to the intransigence of Tampa’s government bureaucracy.

    Savvy St. Pete bureaucrats, on the other hand, welcomed him warmly. McClellan purchased an abandoned Tasti-Lee tomato-packing plant and transformed the empty space into an elegant, well-appointed gallery representing over 50 international glass artists — a visual feast of glass sculpture, objects and jewelry.

    Ever inventive, he built patios and gardens and a hot shop, too. McClellan realized that educating students about glass-making would be a boon to the area and initiated a program, the DMG School Project, through which thousands of students visit the hot shop and learn the process of glass-blowing.  Additionally, he developed a mobile hot shop to visit schools where transportation was unavailable. He also offers artists’ residencies, classes for the public in glass-blowing and etching, lectures and demonstrations.

    A very social person, McClellan immediately began hosting openings and jazz concerts at his space. By inviting arts lovers to an area almost completely unknown to them, he opened new horizons to artists on the lookout for studio space. 

    His initiative in locating an art facility in this unlikely place sparked a group of artists to organize the nonprofit Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA) in 2011, and three years later the group had raised enough funds to purchase an old 2.7-acre industrial site, just around the corner from McClellan’s complex. Tired of the sad tradition of artists discovering and popularizing an area only to be priced out by developers, their goal is to transform 50,000 square feet of six abandoned buildings along the Pinellas Trail into affordable working spaces, classrooms, galleries and performance spaces.

    So far the group has raised over $500,000, with a goal of $3.2 million by 2017. The proposed ArtsXchange (AX) buildings will house these studios, which will be between 100-400 square feet each. Already there are several studios, exhibition and class spaces operating on the campus.

    The Soft Water Laundry site houses working space for seven, including painters, sculptors, clay and graphic artists. They’ve also offered weekly live model classes for several years, priced at $7 every Tuesday from 6:30-9 p.m. and attracting artists from Dunedin to Sarasota.

    Mark Aeling’s MGA Sculpture Studio enjoys site-specific commissions from throughout the country in a broad range of materials and styles. Works from this studio grace the Sundial retail complex, the Florida Aquarium and a host of homes. Aeling, a district pioneer in his own right, is president of the Warehouse Arts District Association board of directors.

    During the Shine Mural Program last year, Carrie Jadus painted two joyful murals that tip folks off to the idea that this is a special area: “Tesla” and “Little Miss Sisyphus” grace the Genius Central building, which is adjacent to the Pinellas Trail. Jadus, whose studio is at Soft Water, is enthusiastic about the collaborative spirit at WADA.

    “Four years ago when we started opening our studios no one wanted to drive here, so we artists each paid $50/month to pay for rubber-wheeled trolleys to bring people here. After one year, sponsors started picking up the tab because they recognized the value that this monthly arts event, Second Saturday Art Walks, brings to the community.”

    Six months ago, WADA hired Mary Jane Park, a 30-year Tampa Bay Times veteran writer and editor, to promote the area. Her goal is to raise money for WADA projects and to introduce collectors, artists and visitors to the abundant creativity residing in this unlikely location. 

    “Once people find this place,” she vows, “they’re hooked!”

  • 30 Dec 2015 1:50 PM | Deleted user

    Tampa has a historic link with Cuba that dates back over a century, but it’s St. Petersburg that is forging the first major cultural exchange with the island nation’s government since relations between it and the U.S. began normalizing a year ago.

    With it, St. Petersburg perhaps gains an advantage in the competition to host the first Cuban consulate in the U.S. in more than five decades.

    “St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has said that art and culture serve to build relationships and diplomacy,” said Bill Carlson, president of Tucker- Hall, a public relations agency in Tampa that has supported business and humanitarian missions in Cuba since 1999. “We are hopeful this leads to a mutually beneficial relationship between Cuba and the Tampa Bay area.” (continue reading)

  • 21 Dec 2015 12:29 PM | Deleted user

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Mark Aeling is in his element, standing in the middle of artwork, talking about the virtues of St. Petersburg and the local art community. Aeling is the president of the Warehouse District Association.

    Friday he spent time talking with eight members of a delegation from Cuba, telling them about the plans for the Warehouse District and the local arts scene. “It’s an incredible opportunity, and I just feel very, very fortunate,” Aeling said. (continue reading)

  • 23 Nov 2015 4:30 PM | Deleted user

    November 23, 2015
    For Immediate Release
    Please Contact:  Mary Jane Park, 727.826.7211, maryjane@whereartismade.com

     The Warehouse Arts District Association Hosts No-Agenda Artists Party

    St. Petersburg, FL. – Warehouse Arts District It’s a free party!

    The Warehouse Arts District Association will host a no-agenda, no-cost, no-strings-attached party from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3, at the ArtsXchange, 515 22nd St. S.

    Join the association and the St. Pete Arts Alliance in celebrating creators from all mediums: visual, literary and performing. It’s a networking event for artists and others; dress is casual, as the site is an industrial property.

    Highlights will include samples from the Maggie on the Move food truck; beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages; and a DJ. In-kind sponsors are Mastry’s Brewing, the Amsterdam and Cheers! Events.

    RSVP online

    About the Warehouse Arts District

    The Warehouse Arts District Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit membership organization devoted to: (i) furnishing affordable studio space to artists of every medium; (ii) providing opportunities for interaction between the public and the St. Petersburg community of artists; (iii) promoting cultural growth and diversity of all art forms in St. Pete; and (iv) providing art educational opportunities to the public.  Founded in 2012, the Warehouse Arts District Association membership includes artists, galleries, art suppliers and supporters who believe that the Warehouse Arts District of St. Petersburg can become a special destination for the arts.


  • 08 Oct 2015 3:13 PM | Deleted user
  • 08 Jun 2015 3:05 PM | Deleted user

    That Business Show with Jaime Meloni [Video] - Learn about the Arts scene & renaissance going on in Tampa Bay with Mark Aeling, Warehouse Arts District Board President.

  • 19 May 2015 4:16 PM | Deleted user

    From 83 Degrees Media by Kendra Langlie - Big picture problem: Artists and the arts they create often serve as a catalyst for economic and urban development. Yet a cyclical phenomenon occurs in cities nationwide whereby rents soar and artists can no longer afford the very neighborhoods they helped develop. (continue reading)

  • 12 Apr 2015 6:23 PM | Deleted user

    From Creative Loafing by Melanie Wiesen - Within the concrete walls of warehouse spaces near downtown St. Petersburg, visual artists, photographers, sculptors, glass blowers and woodworkers exist in a constant state of creation. It is a creativity which (refreshingly enough) is being supported by the community in a huge way. (continue reading)

  • 06 Mar 2015 3:50 PM | Deleted user

    News Channel 10 - From Sundial to the high-rise condos on Beach Drive, St. Petersburg is already a hub of development. Now, the city is investing big money into the arts: $200,000 to be exact. (continue reading)

  • 02 Mar 2015 3:53 PM | Deleted user

    Tampa Bay Business Journal - During a gala fundraiser at Rococo Steak on Friday night, St. Petersburg' Warehouse Arts District Association unveiled the new name and logo for its $1.1 million arts hub project. The event also generated nearly $184,000 in contributions from local supporters of the arts. (continue reading)

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