The SunshineCity of Artists

Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Every time I see a movie or read about some Parisian artist's life during the turn of the century, I find myself daydreaming. I imagine myself there, a struggling artist, sitting down at the local cafe having a cafe au lait reading the Le Monde and hearing about the local gossip. Or more likely, sipping a glass of vin rouge at the favorite artists' brasserie in Montmantre, trying to kill the damp chill in the wintry evening. I imagine we're talking about the work we're struggling with at the moment, art, politics, poetry, patrons, family, pets, wine, food, and of course, the weather. I think how amazing those times must have been and how these artists grew into 
our masters of the art world.

I have convinced myself that these casual gatherings were not only important for the artists' survival, but was equally true for the city of Paris itself. Of course, they didn't know it at the time. Many of the artists were living without heat, electricity or water. Daily cafe visits were their refuge from the cold. For a cup of coffee, they would sketched, write poetry, and catch up on the gossip.* The casual artistic camaraderie created some of the most important movements in the art world and of course, leaving their mark on the City of Lights forever. These artists and their city merged, and were celebrated as one.

 Less dreamy, romantic and rainy--continuous research shows that the arts & the artists are important to our communities. I recently read an article from Artsblog who posted Randy Cohen's Top 10 Reason to support the Arts**. 

I only show 4 out of the 10 reasons that are relative to my blog below:

10. True prosperity…The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. They help us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age. When times are tough, the arts are salve for the ache. 
 9. Stronger communities…University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates. A vibrant arts community ensures that young people are not left to be raised solely in a pop culture and tabloid marketplace. 
3. Arts are the cornerstone of tourism…arts travelers are ideal tourists—they stay longer and spend more. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that the percentage of international travelers including arts and culture events during their stay has increased annually the last six years. 
 2. Arts are good for local merchants…the typical arts attendee spends $27.79 per person, per event, not including the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, shopping, and babysitters. Non-local arts audiences (who live outside the county) spend nearly twice as much as local arts attendees ($40.19 compared to $19.53)—valuable revenue for local businesses and the community.

Maybe I'm your friend, but not the only one.
Naturally, I agree with these findings. Another figurative artist and myself got together for a local art event. We previously met at Art on the Bay, an event that we both participated in months ago. We kept in touch via Facebook. We decided to meet at the Morean Art Center, which was celebrating Chihuly, the international glass artist and the one year anniversary of the museum. This event continued into the evening with African drums and fire twirling Belly Dancers. Continuing this great vibe, we claimed our outdoor table at 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House and watched the city glow.
We gabbed for hours over a bottle red wine, as girls can only, family, pets, where we're from, galleries, internet sites, belly dancers, should we paint our patron's dog and about the patrons themselves or lacking there of. We agree, this is a rough economy and what brasserie would be without it's starving artists, n'est pas? At one point in the evening, I realized I'm not daydreaming and it's not even raining (like in Paris in the wintertime). On the contrary, it's a beautiful warm summer evening under the stars of St. Pete and we're enjoying our own city in lights. This was our present day brasserie moment with a local vibe. 
What's not to love!

Jindra Noewi and Sierra Dante at Chihuly event, St.Petersburg, FL. July 2011

Maybe I'm a romantic, but I'm not the only one.  
Can the Sunshine City of St. Petersburg, FL and their artists be celebrated as one? Without argument; art organizations, gallery owners and generous patrons work tirelessly in promoting the arts to our wonderful city and it shows. In recent years, we have been gaining recognition as an artistic destinations. According to American Style Magazine, June 2010, 2011 & 2012, St.Petersburg, FL  is rank the top mid-sized city.*** Our city offers many venues, promoting artists, musicians, dancers and entertainers from all over the world. The new Salvador Dali and Chihuly Museum anchors our bay city as an international destination.

...but what makes the Sunshine City of the Arts's artists!

Maybe I'm an artist, but I'm not the only one
Long gone are the days of no heat, electricity and water in artists' dwellings...and where cafes were for artists' survival.  But perhaps, casual rendezvous, regular meet ups and grassroots events could be that important "je ne sais quoi" that binds our city and it's artist together. Artists camaraderie could be the new artists' thrival and create our unique vibe. 

Call to my fellow artists: meet up, be active, be supportive, be in the flesh (figuratively speaking). Those of you that are, I thank you and look forward to seeing you in our fabulous city! 

hmmm...I bet you're thinking about some great ideas already...

I am continually inspired and motivated by artists from various walks of life. I enjoy sharing and connecting with "why we are all driven to create art". Of course I'm speaking from my own heart, when I say that artists are one of the most interesting people in the world and should be celebrated in their city, with their local vibe and splendor. Who knows maybe we can start our own movement...
the sunshine city of artists... But hey, maybe I'm just dreamer!

Stay connected:

Facebook: Tampa Bay Arts, OnCentralArt, Sarah Dees

NewsPaper online: Examiner, StPetePatch, St PeteTimes, Tampa Bay Tribute

Artists Website: Jindra Noewi and Sierra Dante

*Paris:The Lumious Years, DVD, 2009.
** Arts Watch, April - 20 - 2011.


  1. Your blog is so inspiring. I feel you are capturing a vital essence of our city's charm -- and calling out the important distinction between the city of arts (which we have) and the city of artists (the dream). I'm sure I'm not the only one. Thank you!


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