Photo and article via Emily Bowers USFConnect
Finding an affordable and legitimate studio space was next to impossible for art students in St. Petersburg, until now. The St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District has now initiated ArtsXchange, a program that gives students access to a studio to display and sell their art.
The ArtsXchange’s grand opening on Oct. 26 celebrated the completion of the program’s first phase, the opening of 28 new studios. The event was packed with locals, excited to show their support for the arts community.
Among them were U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, who spoke about their appreciation for the arts and helped cut the ceremonial ribbon.
ArtsXchange aims to expose students to what it means to be a professional in the art world, and involve them in the larger art community.
For $25 a year, students gain membership and have access to the studios, galleries, and various educational opportunities.
“We created a segment of our membership for students because we believe student artists are apart of our community,” said Renee Dabbs, executive director of ArtsXchange. “We also believe they can come in and get a lot … Our future is that we are going to do more education for students.”
Benefits of membership include the option to submit artwork to the ArtsXchange annex show, participate in their member-only art shows, and gain access to a personal studio.
“It’s a wonderful facility,” artist Ted VanCleave said. VanCleave works in the Warehouse Arts District. “It’s brand new. It’s the best studio any one of us have had. It’s so nice, so well designed, so well lit. They really thought it through,” VanCleave said.
With the warehouse’s location on the route of the Second Saturday ArtWalk, a local art touring event, student members have a unique opportunity to gain exposure for their work. The warehouse also serves as a space for mentoring programs.
All types of artists are welcome to participate, and there is also no time limit to memberships and access to the studios, so long as the yearly fee is paid. Students can paint the walls, hang any and all of their art, and immerse themselves in the local arts community, all for $25 a year.
To register for the student membership, go to