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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

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  • 21 Nov 2020 11:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Gabriela Valencia  was born to be an artist: She is a painter as well as a violin player. Born in Ecuador, she started her extensive artistic education in high school at the Colegio Municipal Bellas Artes Guayaquil and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising at the Universidad Laica Vicente Rocafuerte de Guayaquil. She obtained her Violin Teacher Certificate of Training at the Conservatory of Music, Antonio Neumanne, Guayaquil. Gabriela also studied semiotics in Havana, Cuba. She completed four semesters of Music Education at the Universidad de Manabi’ in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

    Since March 2020 she has been following the Master Studies in Cultural Management from the University Oberta de Catalunya.

    Gabriela is a full time artist. She paints on canvas, wood or other. She also enjoys painting furniture. We asked her some questions about her art and inspiration:

    How long have you been a full-time artist?

    I have been a full time artist since 2011. I also teach violin and art.

    What is your medium?

    I work with oils and acrylics. I do explore other mediums as well.

    How supportive do you feel St. Petersburg community is for the arts and artists?

    I am from Ecuador. I have been living in the St. Petersburg area for 11 years and I enjoy it. The community in different ways is very supportive. Artists have a lot of opportunities to grow and consequently to make St. Petersburg a better place to live.

    Why did you join the Warehouse Arts District Association?

    I like their proposals to engage the community. I think they are doing a great job at that. The building and the studios are very well designed. I would love to be part of activities there but, being a full time artist requires having other activities in order to pay the bills.

    Is there anything else you would like to say?

    I think the Art Market that WADA is promoting is a wonderful idea. I was thinking about it long time ago since there is a lot of space for it. I also have some ideas for the Art Exchange to offer:

    • More Art Exhibits for members
    • An annual outdoor Art Festival
    • More Art Demos for members
    • More opportunities for members to do a solo show

    *Support more art proposals that include the community…An Annual Calling for  Artists, so we can apply with our cultural project for the community. 

    www.gabrielavalenciafineart.com

    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.  - Andrew Wye



  • 16 Nov 2020 10:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Check out member artist Jabari Reed-Diop, known as iBOMS, painting a mural on the topic of algae blooms as part of the Shine Mural Festival. IBOMS uses original characters and thought-provoking symbols to bring viewers into his world. Through a variety of mediums, he challenges perceptions and creates a new narrative through the lens of his own life experience as a young African American male.  This mural is on the west side of the new Grand Central Brewhouse.

    24th and Central

  • 09 Nov 2020 3:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you are looking for great studio space at a reasonable price this might just be the place for you.  600 Sq. Feet of space for $650/month + tax.  Utilities not included. First month's rent + security deposit due at lease signing. Interested?  Email Audrie Cuddy-Ranon, WADA Director of Operations: audrie@whereartismade.com


  • 09 Nov 2020 1:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Amy Howell has been in love with photography since childhood, snapping pictures with a variety of  cameras, inspired by Life Magazine and National Geographic. Though she has a bachelor's degree in graphic design, she was drawn more to oil painting and photography. Over the last several years she began experimenting with other types of materials in her work, utilizing different papers, pieces of plastic, organic matter such as seagrass, torn photographs, pastels and oil crayons. Amy works primarily with acrylic paint, using modeling paste and ceramic tile adhesive to build an underlayer on her canvas or board, giving texture to the paint as it is applied. She feels acrylic paint is most forgiving and versatile as it can be thinned down like watercolor, applied thickly for texture and dries quickly to paint over. She applies color with palette knives, smudging, scraping, rubbing, and then layering with more paint.

    As an emerging artist, Amy creates art in her spare time as often as time permits. She works full-time at the Community Health Center of Pinellas as part of a team to help children with trauma and behavioral health issues as well as providing families with needed resources.  Prior to working in healthcare, Amy was a career chef and baker. 

    She is inspired by abstract expressionists and thrives on their freedom of color, composition and pushing limits of possibility. She is pulled by the energy of current events which often influences the piece she is working on. Amy also wants to bring the feeling of energy going forward from self reflection and the beauty that is happening within. Improvising, she lets things happen intuitively, letting the piece transform, like putting together a puzzle. 

    Amy moved to Gulfport in January 2019 from Provincetown, Massachusetts, drawn to its diverse community and its abundance of culture. Her goal for the near future is to become a full time working artist. The St. Petersburg community offers artists many opportunities to promote their art in a variety of venues such as  art walks, art festivals, home studio tours, art alliances, galleries and online shows. 

    Amy was recently awarded honorable mention in the Come Out St. Pete show at the Woodfield Fine Arts Gallery and has been accepted to the juried Gulfport Art Walk. She would like to promote future Gulfport Art Walks where she will be a regular exhibitor. Please visit Amy’s website at www.howellmarks.art. She is currently exploring other websites to promote her art.


  • 05 Nov 2020 1:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Since WADA purchased property in Midtown St. Petersburg, its plan has always been to create an Education Center. We are so excited to announce it’s coming to fruition! The Education Center will be available to visual and performing artists to practice and teach their skills.  The idea is also to provide a gathering place in the community for scout troops, exercise classes, where lectures can be heard and for adults and children to learn the magic of making art. The facility will be named after Frances and J. Crayton Pruitt, the parents of Helen Pruitt Wallace, Natalie Pruitt Judge and J. Crayton Pruitt Jr., the benefactors of the Pruitt Family Foundation. From the early stages of WADA, the Pruitt family has been very generous donors to the WADA ArtsXchange project. Read a Q&A with WADA President, Mark Aeling here:  WADA Education Center  

  • 05 Nov 2020 12:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WADA announces "Ignite - Open Studio" time on Sunday and Tuesday evenings from 6-9pm. You can join either on a monthly or quarterly basis. Led by ArtXchange artist, Nancie Norman; this is an opportunity to carve out time for you to express yourself creatively and take timeout from the day-to-day.  Whether this is your first time picking up a paintbrush or you have been painting for years, come join us as we stretch those creative muscles. Check out the details under the Education tab, or directly here: Ignite - Open Studio 

  • 03 Nov 2020 1:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Member artist Shelby Dillon wants her art to inspire joy in viewers. Shelby believes a painting starts with her but the real story begins once it finds its home resting place. New to St Petersburg, Shelby came to St. Petersburg to exhibit in the yearly Mainsail Art Show, and fell in love with the city. Her current preferred subjects are the sky and water, while her medium is acrylic paints.  Shelby's studio is located on the ArtsXchange campus in the converted strip center across the parking lot from the AX and Softwater Studios. Stop by and you will recognize her by her colorful landscape paintings.  We asked Shelby about her art and inspiration. 

    How long have you been an artist?

    I have been painting for 12 years. I am predominantly self-taught and before that, I was a finance major.

    What is your medium and how did you arrive at it?

    I use acrylic on wood panels. Having lived on 4 different continents has had a huge influence on me. Formerly, I was an oil painter but during our move from Singapore to Brazil, I found it difficult to find the art supplies that I preferred. For instance, they only have straight turpentine or kerosene to clean brushes in Brazil, and the fumes were just awful! Also, acrylic paints are much more travel friendly. Every trip back to the states during those days I would stock up on paint supplies because they are so much cheaper in the US. My husband got used to lugging a 70-pound tub of supplies through airports.  

    What inspires your art?

    Right now, I am most influenced by water and skies. When we lived in North Carolina, it felt like we lived in a forest because of all of the tall pine trees and now I notice the sky so much more.

    Are you a St. Petersburg native? How supportive do you feel the St. Petersburg community is for the arts and artists?

    I grew up on Hilton Head Island around the marshes and low country. As a newcomer to St. Petersburg, the arts community is a huge part of the reason we decided to move here. I was accepted to show at the Mainsail Art Show and fell in love with the city.  I look forward to showing in the 2021 Mainsail show.

    Why did you join the Warehouse Arts District Association? 

    An artist all alone in their studio all day every day becomes a crazy person! We work better together if we lift each other up and view other artists as our community rather than our competitors. The more people the better for the community and more art brings in more people to buy art. I am looking forward to future networking events and getting involved since I am new to the area.  

    Anything else that you would like for us to know about you and your art?

    I hope my art brings people joy. The journey of a piece of art simply starts with me. But the real story begins once it is in its new home and enjoyed every day.

    Also, I am very passionate about artists knowing what's possible in the arts industry and realizing that art can be a full-time pursuit. There are living artists making a very comfortable living and it's not happening only in New York and San Francisco. I love seeing other artists realize their full potential. The best advice that I have to give is to invest in the right teachers and mentors. I think the first person that made me realize that I could paint as a career was Karin Jurick and Carol Marine of the Daily Painters Movement. I have also learned a great deal about self-promoting. On the other hand, art doesn't have to be a business. You can enjoy it as a hobby. Not everything has to be monetized, meaning if you just want to paint for yourself or friends and you are bringing more joy into the world and that's a good thing!

    Is there anything in particular that you would like to promote?

    Besides my website and Instagram listed below, every Tuesday at noon I hold a virtual paint-along on Facebook. If you email me at  shelby@shelbydillonstudio.com, I will send you the link to join the session. During the paint-along, I go over the fundamentals of acrylics, painting design and composition. www.shelbydillonstudio.com , @shelbydillonstudio 



  • 02 Nov 2020 2:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The WADA website allows members to add information to your profile.  Do it now some simple steps:

    1. Log on to the WADA website.  

    2. Click on your name in the upper right corner and click “View Profile”

    3. You will now see all available fields in your profile. Consider adding or changing:

      1. Profile Picture

      2. Medium (if artist or gallery)

      3. Art1 and Art2 are fields to add your artwork or business logo. 

      4. Website, Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram 

      5. Attached Documents could include an artist statement, biography or description of your business!

    4. Click “Save”


    Here is a great example of what your profile could look like:


    There is another great capability that allows you to add “Albums”! Try this:

    1. Log on to the WADA website.  

    2. Click on your name in the upper right corner and click “View Profile”

    3. Below the “Edit Profile” button is a list of options.  Click on “Member Photo Albums”

    4. Click on “Add Album” Enter a Title and Description, Click “Submit”

    5. On the next screen you can start to upload your photos - each album can have up to 50 images.

    6. Click “Save”

  • 28 Oct 2020 2:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Art Quote of the Week

    “The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.” 

    Auguste Rodin


    Three Years Ago the ArtsXchange Opened!

    It’s hard to believe that it has already been three years since the Grand Opening of the ArtsXchange Artist Studios.  We were honored to have St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Steinocher, Congressman Charlie Christ, WADA Board President Mark Aeling, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman as well as donor and art supporter Katee Tully to cut the ribbon.  Since then, we have held dozens of exhibitions, conducted numerous education classes and hosted many many events.   The ArtsXchange - where art is made!

    Calling All Artists: New Outdoor Marketplace on Second Saturday Art Walk November 14!


    WADA is proud to announce a new Outdoor Marketplace on the ArtsXchange Campus. Member artisans who make products by hand may apply to set up a tent. Products sold may include woodwork, jewelry, ceramics, textiles, mosaics, drawings, glass, jewelry, photography, printmaking or painting. Spaces are limited. Applicants will be selected on a rolling basis and selected in order to provide a variety of products.Deadline Sunday, Nov 1 and those selected will be notified by November 4. See details, fees and application here. Not a member? Join now

    Call to Artists: WADA Artist Member Show "Imagine"

    Call for Entries:  WADA proudly announces its Winter 2020-21 Member Artist show with the theme “Imagine.” Selected artworks fitting this theme - submitted by WADA members - will remain on exhibit for two (2) months in the Burka Member Lounge of the ArtsXchange.  Entry Deadline: November 20, 2020       See submission guidelines and important dates here.


    Featured Member Artist: Doug D’souza


    Doug D'souza is a prolific creator of unique jewelry designs, spanning from elegant to dramatic statement pieces. Doug strives to create jewelry that is eye catching and distinctive with a rustic and organic flair. While naturally drawn to metal, Doug enjoys working in silver, gold, copper, brass and bronze, as well as alternative metals like aluminum, stainless steel and titanium. Vitreous enamel introduced him to a new world of color and endless experimentation. In his work, Doug enamels his designs on copper, silver-leaf or fine silver and uses them as focal pieces and accents. His artworks range from elegant to dramatic and showcase a variety of colors, patterns and textures. Read more about Doug here


    For Members: How to update your Member Profile on the WADA Website


    The WADA website allows members to add information to your profile.  Do it now some simple steps:

    1. Log on to the WADA website.  

    2. Click on your name in the upper right corner and click “View Profile”

    3. You will now see all available fields in your profile. Consider adding or changing:

      1. Profile Picture

      2. Medium (if artist or gallery)

      3. Art1 and Art2 are fields to add your artwork or business logo. 

      4. Website, Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram 

      5. Attached Documents could include an artist statement, biography or description of your business!

    4. Click “Save”


    Here is a great example of what your profile could look like:


    There is another great capability that allows you to add “Albums”! Try this:

    1. Log on to the WADA website.  

    2. Click on your name in the upper right corner and click “View Profile”

    3. Below the “Edit Profile” button is a list of options.  Click on “Member Photo Albums”

    4. Click on “Add Album” Enter a Title and Description, Click “Submit”

    5. On the next screen you can start to upload your photos - each album can have up to 50 images.

    6. Click “Save”

    Learn How to Become a Creative Business 101

    Artists, musicians, writers and freelancers - find out what you need to know to get started or to grow your own business.  On October 29th from 1:00 - 2:00 PM, the St. Pete Arts Alliance will bring entrepreneur Eve Epstein, to present the tools you need enabling you to establish your business to qualify for business assistance from the city and county. Learn more and register here.


    SUPPORT WADA’s EDUCATION CENTER WHILE YOU SHOP! 

    amazonsmile

    When shopping on Amazon, choose Amazon Smile. Select “Warehouse Arts District Association” and WADA will receive a percentage of your online purchase. Remember, only purchases made at smile.amazon.com, (not www.amazon.com) generate AmazonSmile donations. Don’t forget to update your settings in your Amazon phone app to reflect the Warehouse Arts District Association.  We Thank You!!


    Volunteer for WADA Committees! 

    We can’t do the things we want to do without dedicated volunteers. Please connect with the chairs of the following committees:



    Like What You See?  Please Donate.



    Like so many arts organizations, WADA is struggling during this pandemic.  We have great plans to bolster our education programs -- both for artists and the community at large.  Please consider a donation to help make our vision a  reality in 2021.  Anything you can give is gratefully appreciated.


    Donate to WADA 

    Become a Member!

    Join WADA Today!


  • 28 Oct 2020 4:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Doug D'souza is a prolific creator of unique jewelry designs that span from elegant to dramatic statement pieces. He says he strives to create jewelry that is eye catching and distinctive with a rustic and organic flair. While naturally drawn to metal, Doug also enjoys working in silver, gold, copper, brass and bronze, as well as alternative metals like aluminum, stainless steel and titanium. Vitreous enamel introduced him to a new world of color, and endless experimentation. In his work, Doug enamels his designs on copper, silver-leaf or fine silver, and uses them as focal pieces and accents. His art works range from elegant to dramatic, and showcase a variety of colors, patterns and textures.

    We asked Doug about his art and inspiration, and he told quite a story of resilience and dedication to his craft:

    How long have you been an artist?

    My journey as a maker started with first being a breaker. As a child, I was fascinated with technology and had a deep desire to understand how things worked. I would meticulously take my toys apart to satisfy my curiosity, then try to reassemble them. I was mostly successful and learned early on that my hands could make things. I guess looking back I've always been a creative person and became a full time Jewelry Artist 21 years ago.

    What is your medium and how did you arrive at it?

    I was born in Mumbai, India where I experienced cultural and religious diversity, and rich colors and textures that would later influence my work. I moved to the U.S. in 1980 to pursue my education and career in engineering mechanics.

    After graduation, I started working for BMW, a job I enjoyed for almost a decade. Then one seemingly ordinary day, a high-speed rear collision changed the course of my life, and at the same time turned on a creative light that has shone bright ever since.

    After the accident, I could no longer physically do my work, so I set out to nurture my creative side with a course in Graphic Design. This led to an internship in a local studio where I learned how to etch and carve glass. I created edge-lit sculptures, lamps and room dividers using hand-fabricated copper to frame the glass. Unfortunately once again, another accident would change my direction. A back injury during an installation forced me to shrink my canvas to a more manageable size.

    I was always drawn to metal. Already familiar with copper, I learned jewelry metalsmithing through books and video tutorials. It all seemed to come quite naturally to me. The process of designing, sawing, shaping and soldering metal is very meditative by nature. I spent hours sitting at my bench totally in the zone, practicing various techniques to achieve my desired results.

    What inspires your art?

    My designs are inspired by nature, architecture, culture, spirituality, and the natural beauty of the rustic and organic.

    How supportive do you feel the St. Petersburg community is for the arts and artists?

    I have lived in the area since 1997.  St. Petersburg is a wonderful city for artists to be discovered. There are so many opportunities and venues that appreciate and support local artists. I have always felt supported by the local community through the galleries and specialty shops that carry my work.

    Why did you join the Warehouse Arts District Association?

    I was excited when I first heard about WADA and wanted to be a part of a collective of creative people.

    Anything else that you would like for us to know about you and your art?

    Ironically, after working for years with sterling silver, I developed an allergy to it. This led me to search for hypoallergenic alternative metals to incorporate in my work. I now use surgical stainless steel, aerospace aluminum and anodized titanium. I find these lightweight metals compliment my designs well and I'm able to offer larger and heavier looking pieces that are light and comfortable to wear. I still accept commissions in sterling silver.

    We are living through some crazy times for sure. The devastating loss of lives due to the Pandemic has inspired me to create enameled Candy Skulls and hand cut skulls from US coins. It's my way of trying to cope and offer a symbol that celebrates life.

    Is there anything in particular that you would like to promote in the article such as your website, etc.?

    I am constantly creating new pieces and usually post them on Instagram @dougdsouzajewelry. Some of them are sent out to galleries and shops. Others are shared on my Facebook page and are listed on my website and Etsy shop.

    Website: www.dougdsouzajewelry.com

    Etsy Store: www.dougdesigns.etsy.com

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DougDsouzaJewelryDesign/

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dougdsouzajewelry/




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