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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

  • 07 Dec 2020 1:06 PM | Anonymous

    Lesley Tinnaro creates unique and beautiful hand-forged sterling silver jewelry with precious and semi-precious stones. She has been a full time artist since 1994 with a few breaks between 2002 and 2007 to raise her children. 

    While she was lucky to go to a high school that had a very strong art program, when she went to college her father advised her that art was not a good major, so she chose history.  She continued to take art classes including ceramics, gesture drawing, theater makeup, pretty much anything that she could fit into her schedule around her major. After college "history jobs" were hard to find and she found herself in restaurant management where she was miserable! With her sister-in-law she started messing around with jewelry components  and she really enjoyed it. It wasn't long before they discovered a local jewelry supplier that carried sterling silver and they would buy 1 oz at a time and experiment. They learned in a very hands-on fashion, while making lots of mistakes along the way (there was ONE book at the library and no youtube to learn from). That first year Lesley destroyed about 2 lbs of silver! Her silversmithing education was furthered when she met Eve White who had a graduate degree in Fine Art jewelry from New York. Eve White  took Lesley under her wing and taught her more techniques as well as introducing her to art shows and small markets.

    Lesley  finds inspiration from a number of different places. She really enjoys looking at ancient jewelry and metalwork. East Asian metal work has some beautifully clean lines that she admires.

    Lesley grew up in South Florida and moved to the St Petersburg area in 1994 to be with her now-husband. 

    This area has been wonderful for her as an artist.  Because of the various outlets for arts from small markets to large shows, she was able to learn the business side almost at the same time she was learning her craft.

    She joined the Warehouse Arts District Association because it fosters multiple levels of art creation.  She believes it is extremely important to have that community to inspire and guide the next generation creators. She hopes to meet other folks that enjoy metalworking as much as she does. Belonging to a group of artists can create an atmosphere where you inspire and push each other to the next level. 

    Visit Lesley's website: http://lesleytinnaro.com


    Written by Mirella Cimato

  • 02 Dec 2020 2:29 PM | Anonymous

    Michael Mincberg is originally from Washington, DC.  He came to Tampa in 2002 to attend the University of South Florida.  As a student at USF, he obtained his real estate sales license and he just started holding open houses.  He then became interested in development.  He was 19 years old when he started in sales and marketing for residential new construction and quickly moved on to bigger projects.  In 2012, he founded Sight Real Estate and Development.  

    “Real estate development is half art and half science,” Mincberg says.  “People want to live and work in an area that has culture and a good vibe.”   “If you get the art part right then the math, or the science, adds up very quickly because you have created a unique product.”

    Michael looks for  a neighborhood that inspires himself and others.  An area of positive energy filled with art, businesses, theaters, cafes, and coffee shops.  A positive energy in the area is what brought him to the Warehouse Arts District.  Michael joined the Warehouse Arts District Association after purchasing the old Puckett Store Fixtures building at 2430 5th Ave. South, in the Warehouse Arts District, turning the four industrial buildings with 50,000 sq feet into Seaboard Crossing, a flexible use workspace.  Mincberg says that he is cognizant of the developers important role of preserving the character and vibe of an area such as the Warehouse Arts District and that is why he is taking his time on “getting it just right” for the aesthetic of the property.  “There’s a balance to be had in how to keep that neighborhood cool while also protecting it,” he says.  “There is still a lot of work to do, but I am proud to own and be a part of WADA.”

    Read more about Michael and his company Sight Real Estate: https://www.businessobserverfl.com/article/sight-real-estate-tampa-property-development-adaptive-reuse

  • 21 Nov 2020 11:18 AM | Anonymous

    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.

    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. 


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

    Profile written by Mirella Cimato.

  • 16 Nov 2020 10:10 AM | Anonymous

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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 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

    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”

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