A new arts destination is coming to the South St. Pete Warehouse District, with a goal evidenced by the tagline “Art for all. Play for all. Joy for all.”
And who couldn’t use a little more art, play and joy? Luckily, visitors to Fairgrounds arts complex won’t have to wait much longer.
“We’ve been working on it for over a year and are deep in the installation phase,” says Fairgrounds Director of Communications Olivia Mansion. “We aim to open in early 2021.”
Art lovers are invited to explore a mix of art and technology – all based on original Florida stories. The 12,000 square foot exhibition will feature a diverse range of artworks by local and international artists, performers, writers, musicians and storytellers.
Through immersive art installations, events, publications and storytelling, Fairgrounds will playfully expand on the weird, wacky, wonderful history of Tampa Bay and Florida, says Mansion.
“Our aim is to educate and inspire local, national and international visitors,” says Mansion
Fairgrounds founders Liz Dimmitt and Mikhail Mansion were introduced by John Collins of the St. Pete Arts Alliance, and the concept took off from there. Fairgrounds will be a tenant in the 90,000-square-foot, multi-use contemporary arts and cultural venue and is an anchor tenant at The Factory St. Pete. Founders chose the location because of its existing vibrant, diverse and creative community, says Mansion.
“We have a city leadership that values and supports the arts,” says Mansion, “and we are committed to supporting the arts in the area as a whole.”
In addition to the installations, there are offerings in new media, murals, photography and sound. Long term, Fairgrounds plans to share part of the profits from ticket sales with featured artists, so every sale will benefit the larger creative community.
The first call to artists in April resulted in 146 applications. The inaugural installation will feature works by over 30 local artists. They plan more calls to artists once Fairgrounds is open, and the founders invite those interested to join the mailing list at fairgrounds.art.
“Fairgrounds is committed to creating a platform for local artists to show their work, so the majority are from Tampa Bay,” says Mansion. “In the beginning we plan to focus our programming around the practices of our artists and collaborators as well as creating STEAM and entrepreneurship-focused classes for local students.”
Fairgrounds will offer reduced ticket prices for Florida residents, says Mansion, and passes on the Fairgrounds website early next year.
“As an organization we value play, creativity, innovation, kindness, collaboration and equality,” says Mansion. “If we can inspire people to engage in any of those things, we have done our job.”