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.
Meredith Rodgers is the COO of Sapphire Audio Visual Experts. It is a local family business here in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sapphire AV Experts specializes in commercial and high end residential properties covering everything from surveillance systems, multi-zone audio systems, commercial satellite, custom home theaters to automation and WIFI issues. Two years ago they purchased land at 2950 5th Ave. S, inside the Warehouse Arts District, as of 2019 their new headquarters. She also owns an organic pesticide business - ATLAST! Organic Products.
Meredith is married to John Rodgers, the lead Engineer and co-owner for Sapphire. They are also the parents of two children, Jake who is 5, and Skyler is 4. John was Meredith’s first kiss in the 6th grade in Winter Haven Florida where they grew up. But, they ran in different crowds. She went on to attend Florida State and he to the University of Wisconsin. Fast forward twenty years and they found themselves living in St. Pete a few streets away from each other. They met for lunch and the rest is history.
They are so excited to be a part of WADA and all it entails. John grew up around the arts, as his father was a professor of theater at Rollins College. Meredith loves art in all forms and knew this was a great opportunity to get involved with a blossoming new district known as the Warehouse Arts District. She enjoys its culture, the sense of community and they were landowners. According to Meredith, “It just made good sense to become a [business] member of the Association!”
There are just 12 more hours to apply for $500 grants. Get your application in to be considered for these grants.
You do NOT have to be a member of WADA to apply - all artists who have been negatively affected by COVID-19 are encouraged to apply.
For more details and access to the Application Form go to:
As a nation, we find ourselves divided again by racism, fighting for human rights, all while in the midst of a global pandemic. The senseless murders of far too many African American men and women – most recently of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery – weigh heavy on our hearts. We share the hurt, fear, anger and frustration so many are experiencing.
The Warehouse Arts District Association is committed to a future where black people and people of color in this nation and everywhere live freely, comfortably and securely.
We stand against racism, by any means.
We are committed to providing a safe space, promoting equality and justice and serving our entire community.
We support the fundamental rights of black lives and insist that Black Lives Matter.
It is our duty to call out, denounce and to stand against acts of racial injustice and hate.
We have always been and remain committed to working with the black community to improve the Warehouse Arts District, to create an environment of safety, which uplifts every member of the community, promotes creativity and serves the needs of the entire community.
We are proud of the residents of our city who are peacefully protesting to demand racial justice. We are proud of every American and our supporters overseas who are standing up for what is right. We stand with you.
The Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA) Artist Relief Fund Deadline for applications is now Midnight, Friday June 26, 2020.
Francine Michel’s art combines the delicate Chinese approach to painting while using the encaustic wax technique. She says that encaustic painting enhances the Chinese approach with its luminous inherent quality. She has been working with those two art forms for over a quarter of a century now.
Born in New York, she moved to St. Petersburg for professional reasons. She said the thriving art community here was an amazing surprise. With a Ph.D. in rehabilitation counseling, Francine spent her career helping individuals with injuries return to work. She set up departments within the insurance industry, as an assistant vice president with Swiss Re and and as an occupational consultant with MetLife. She also taught college as an adjunct. Now, she splits her time between Florida and New Mexico, which offers her varied inspiration from the mountain and coastal scenes.
Her journey to find her artistic style began with a friend bringing her rice paper from China. Browsing and drinking tea for hours in a Brush Store while seeking just the right brushes followed. “Chinese painters describe floating in and around their landscapes and capturing what they see. This magic carpet technique spoke to me,” Michel said. She added that touches of a hot wax pen layered on top recalls the brush movement on rice paper. Rich colors and textures emphasize details in the work. Inspired by combining both techniques, Francine began to explore the trees of Florida and their various roots, bark and branches, which you can see in the paintings shown here.
Francine has long been a member of the Warehouse Arts District Association and a cherished member of the association’s Education Committee, which puts together free professional development programming for artist members and has been working on community art programs for local youth.
We asked her about her life and unique artistic style:
How did you develop your artist style?
Encaustic wax gives the work, texture and effects that I wanted. Encaustic wax is a responsive medium that welcomes touch when producing it and after it is finished. Chinese painters describe flying into and through a landscape. This approach suited my taking others along with me to see what I am seeing. This included using rice paper and outlining forms to suggest movement and make the brilliant encaustic colors more vivid.
How has your style evolved over time? I worked in both encaustics and Chinese painting about a quarter of a century ago. Afterwards, I explored everything from watercolor to ceramics. Now I am back to both encaustics and Chinese painting and have found that combining the two is perfect for the present time.
How long have you been an artist?
Art has always been part of my life. Just saying and writing here that I am a full time artist makes me happy. I am thankful that obtained a Ph.D. that allowed me to contribute and be rewarded for my career.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Residing in St. Petersburg and New Mexico, I am challenged to be able to create beach scenes as well as mountains that nature has made quite special.
What do you value about part of the WADA and the ArtsXchange community?
Serving on the Education Committee has been a part of WADA that I cherish. It has taught me how much can be accomplished by a small group that works hard and well together.
How are restrictions related to COVID affecting you?
One artist said instead of "shelter in place," we should say "artist-in-residence." I put that sign on my door. Both the Education Committee and my Florida Wax group have been meeting by Zoom. Since artists love to share their work and ideas, I have found this form of communication to satisfy that need.
Learn more about Francine’s work:
Hours are not limited to weekdays 9-5
Reports to the Executive Director
Part of the WADA staff leadership team
Point of Contact and management of maintenance of the ArtsXchange property
Vendor Management (Landscaper, Cleaning Crew, Pest Control, Operational Staff)
Provide onsite access to the ArtsXchange during agreed upon business hours
Onsite property management leasing to include ArtsXchange Campus – Studios, Shoppes and Independent Studios:
Initiate problem resolution with tenants
Problem resolution with tenants
Initiate and track incoming rent payments/manage collection process
Oversee the ArtsXchange (AX) exhibits
Assist as project manager between selection committee, artists & art curator
Oversee and process financial transactions
Manage support staff needed to execute events
Manage/Oversee all internal WADA events to include set up, refreshments & cleanup/closure
General Membership Meetings
2nd Saturday Artwalk
Committee Events (Education, Membership, etc.)
Fundraising events to include Arts Festival/Large Donor
Marketing of WADA Events
Digital – website, e-blast, social media
Work with marketing firm on earned media
Responsible for the processing of all bills/invoices, banking transactions and reconciliation of bank statementsManagement of Account Receivables and Account Payables in coordination with the Quickbooks bookkeeper
Track incoming rent payments/ manage collection process. Assure that tenant are active members of WADA.
Management responsibility for the processing of all bill/invoices
General knowledge of financial databases to include:
Oversee the ArtsXchange exhibits
Assist as a project manager between selection committee, artists and art curator
Oversee and process the financial transactions
Manage/Oversee all internal WADA events to include set up, refreshments and cleanup/closure
Committee Events (Education, etc.)
Internal communications to all tenants on AX Campus on operational topics
External communications to WADA members
Manage all social media accounts to include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and SnapChat (Ideally, this would be 3-5 hours/week to expand our reach. 2-3 posts per week.)
External communication to MailChimp list for weekly WADA Community Digest. Content is provided by ED/Volunteers. (distributed on Tuesdays)
Work with the Executive Director on agreed to special projects
Work with the Board Chair and Executive Director on board meeting preparation
Collect and distribute committee reports
Work with Board Chair/ED on agenda, distribute pre-meeting
Arrange for refreshments
Volunteer Committee support to be determined
Attend weekly staff meetings
Attend board meetings
Attend 2nd Saturday Artwalk
Manage master calendar of events for WADA
Except with the permission of the Executive Director, work at the ArtsXchange office at agreed upon hours
Work effectively with others to include the ED and BODSoftware and Digital Tools Used
Software and Digital Tools to include:
Quickbooks (willing to train)
Bill.com (willing to train)
Wild Apricot (CRM database and website)
Please provide resume and cover letter attention to: Renee Dabbs: email@example.com 813.382.5378.
Total Compensation: $42,000 - $45,000.
Damien Bertucelli has been a WADA Business Member for quite a few years. Originally from Brooklyn, NY he moved to Carrollwood in 1994 and now resides in St. Petersburg with his son Daxton and daughter Haven. He joined Raymond James as a Financial Advisor in 2001 and has provided private wealth management for retirees, entrepreneurs, and professionals for the last 18 years. Damien is part of the group Vantage Point Advisors of Raymond James with locations in St. Petersburg and Tampa.
The interest in becoming a member of the Warehouse Arts District Association was his passion for the arts. Damien is a member of the Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts, better known as TBBCA. He is a board member as well as the previous Chair and President. The TBBCA endeavors to raise scholarship money for high school students who wish to pursue the arts in college and to further connect the business community with the art community. “It just made sense to join the Warehouse Arts District,” he said. “Both of these art communities’ interests overlap.”
Tapping into his passion for culture and the arts, Damien created the Art and Lobbies program at his downtown Tampa branch, giving local artists the opportunity to showcase their work on the branch’s lobby walls. A new artist is selected every few months to promote local artists.
In addition to his love of supporting artists and caring for his family he recently started taking piano lessons. Damien has a passion for travel especially visiting the National Parks. Most recently going hiking/mountain biking in Moab, Utah. And hiked the highest peak in Colorado.
Raymond James & Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC
211 Tampa Bay Cares, in partnership with Pinellas County, is providing financial assistance grants to families impacted by COVID 19.
If you know someone in the Pinellas area that can benefit, all they would need to do is dial 211 on their phone or text COVIDCARES to 898211. Residents can also apply here: https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/pinellascaresindividual/
Applicants will be asked to provide proof of Pinellas residence, job loss and other information to qualify. Payments are designed to help with rent, mortgage, or utility payments.
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)
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.
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.
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:
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:
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