Jamie Edwards says she has been an artist her entire life. She also worked as a hairdresser for 20 years. So when she and her wife moved from Brooklyn, New York, four years ago, she found herself with more space to create and started making art on reclaimed wood and painting furniture.
Fast forward to 2020. The year has been difficult for everyone, and many artists found themselves just trying to get by. Edwards looked for ways to help her newfound art community, and opened Beach House 5317 as a collective for local artists to show and sell their work.
“COVID really had me struggling as an artist and I knew several other artists were feeling the effects as well,” she says. Edwards wanted to create a space with a beachy, boho vibe where people could bring that aesthetic home and create their own peaceful beach house.
Beach House 5317 had a soft opening on August 15 and held a grand opening a month later, on September 13. Edwards says she carefully curates the art in the store, looking for work that is creative and original.
“I wanted one-of-a-kind items you won’t find in any other shops,” she said.
Because of the diversity of art in the space, Edwards says, there’s always something new on display. Currently, 25 Bay area artists show and sell their work at Beach House 5317. The shop has a beachy vibe and art ranges from paintings, furniture, crystals and home items and décor.
Muralist Kiersty Long painted the sign out front and also has some of her paintings for sale in the store. Artist L. Smith, whose displays tropical art, animal portraits and musically themed acrylics at Beach House 5317, has created art over the years for the Tampa Bay Blues Festival, Sea Hag’s restaurant and Dockside Studio Unleashed in Madeira Beach. She says she looks at the physical and emotional landscapes of a tropical life and sees the intangibles – lush, narrative, moody, whimsical – and weaves these into her designs, inviting the observer into her experience through their own imagination.
“I try to keep things fun and interesting and emotional,” says Smith.
Because of the pandemic, Edwards has had to get creative about events. She’s hosted Sip ‘n’ Shops and outdoor guest artist pop-ups, some with live music in the courtyard, making good on her mission to support the arts community.
“I wanted to create a sort of shared space that would help us thrive during these difficult times,” she said.
For more, find Beach House 5317 on Facebook.