On the outskirts of St Petersburg, Florida near the charming town of Gulfport, a new art gallery, Artists of Elements: the Gathering Place, is redefining the local art scene. This establishment, helmed by Kathy Cregan and Ellen Newbauer, is not just a gallery but a community hub that celebrates art in its many forms.
Ellen Newbauer’s journey in the art world is foundational to the ethos of Artists of Elements. Her previous experience running a similar yet smaller gallery under the same name, near Lake Gaston in Littleton, North Carolina, provided her with invaluable insights, particularly when the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges. This experience informed her approach to creating a space that is resilient, adaptable, and deeply connected to the artist community. When Ellen and Kathy decided to lease the 6000+ square foot space on 22nd Ave South, which previously housed Gulfport Furniture, they envisioned a gallery that would be more than just a display area for art. They imagined a place where artists and art lovers could gather, share, and celebrate diverse expressions of creativity.
The Gallery’s Mission
At its core, Artists of Elements is committed to inclusivity and diversity. This commitment is evident in every aspect of the gallery’s operation. The space is a testament to the belief that art is for everyone and should be accessible to people from all walks of life, irrespective of their background. This inclusive approach is particularly significant in the context of the LGBTQ+ community, with the gallery serving as a welcoming space for artists and patrons alike.
Showcasing Diverse Talents
Expanding Beyond Visual Arts
One of the gallery’s main draws is its representation of over 40 artists, each bringing their unique perspectives and styles. This diversity is not by chance but by design. The gallery operates on a commission basis, enabling artists, including those from far-flung regions like the northern United States, to present their work. This model fosters a dynamic, evolving art community where different stories and artistic voices are heard and appreciated.
Artists of Elements transcends traditional gallery boundaries by incorporating music into its repertoire. Upstairs, “Cregan’s Corner” is poised to become a sanctuary for music enthusiasts. With a recording studio and a space dedicated to podcasts, the gallery underscores its belief that art extends beyond the visual and into the realm of sound and expression. This musical venture not only diversifies the gallery’s offerings but also reinforces its role as a multidimensional art space.
Integrating Art with Daily Life
The gallery’s upstairs area is envisaged to evolve into an En Suite. This space could potentially serve multiple purposes including accommodations for visiting artists, or a creative retreat. This innovative use of space reflects the gallery’s philosophy that art is not just to be observed but to be lived and experienced.
Engaging the Community
Beyond its walls, Artists of Elements reaches out to the community through various initiatives. The gallery’s parking lot is envisioned as a venue for vendor pop-up markets, fostering a sense of community engagement and interaction. Moreover, the gallery’s pricing strategy ensures that art remains accessible, catering to a broad economic spectrum.
Educational and Cultural Programming
Artists of Elements is deeply invested in education and cultural enrichment. The gallery plans an array of workshops on diverse subjects like woodworking, painting, charcuterie, and even ukulele lessons. These workshops, alongside book signings and poetry readings, transform the gallery from a mere exhibition space into a center of learning and cultural exchange.
A Rotating Showcase
To maintain a fresh and dynamic atmosphere, the gallery has a policy of rotating its exhibits monthly. This rotation not only keeps the gallery’s offerings exciting and new but also provides a platform for both emerging and established artists. The “2nd Saturday at the Elements” event epitomizes this spirit, offering a special evening each month to showcase the work of a guest artist.
Future Impact on the St Pete Art Scene
Artists of Elements has quickly become more than just a gallery near Gulfport. The gallery’s diverse range of activities, coupled with its commitment to showcasing a wide array of artistic talents, will no doubt enrich St Pete’s cultural landscape. It serves as a gathering place where artists and art enthusiasts can connect, learn, and grow.
In a world where art is often seen as exclusive or esoteric, Artists of Elements stands as a refreshing counterpoint. It is a place where art is accessible, where community is valued, and where creativity in all its forms is celebrated. Ellen Newbauer and Kathy Cregan’s vision of a gathering place for artists and art lovers has come to fruition, making Artists of Elements a new cornerstone of St Petersburg’s artistic identity.
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