Making things happen, that’s Liz Dimmitt’s wheelhouse. The Dunedin native, who happens to have a Master’s in Visual Arts Administration from New York University, is what’s known as a “cultural strategist” – working with companies, cities, brands and individuals to create unique cultural programming, events and experiences.
St. Petersburg, Dimmitt said on Wednesday’s edition of The Catalyst Sessions, has an obvious cultural strategy.
“Being an arts city, with so many museums, and supporting artists, is a strategy that has really helped St. Petersburg define itself,” she explained. “St. Petersburg has a cultural strategy, and you can really see that paying off on a rich cultural scene.”
Dimmitt is the founder and CEO of Fairgrounds, which will – when it’s ready – take up 12,000 feet of The Factory, a 6-acre compound currently under renovation in the Warehouse Arts District.
“Fairgrounds,” she said, “is an art experience, or an immersive exhibition. It’s not a museum, it’s more of an art playground, choose your own adventure. You buy a ticket, you come in, and there’s an entire environment where everything is made by artists.
“There’s a loose narrative, and you can sort of follow a story, or you can just go around and enjoy the artwork. There’s different rooms, different scenarios, different kinds of exhibitions. Everything around you is created by artists – and I take a really broad definition of ‘artist’ there. It’s not just paintings, sculptures. It’s artists of all media, including technology … we will have performance artists involved, sound arts, hopefully fashion, every kind of the arts.”
In other words, more than just a stop-and-gawk experience. “There’ll be a lot of interactive components,” Dimmitt explained. “And things for you to explore, touch, play with.”
Fairgrounds recently issued a Call to Artists, in the form of an RFQ (request for qualifications). This will lead to, for those artists chosen by Dimmitt and her committee, an RFP (request for proposal).
The artists chosen for the RFP will receive a small stipend – a welcome gesture in these woeful times. If their work makes the final cut for Fairgrounds’ opening in early 2021, the artists will also receive a percentage of ticket sales.
“We really have an ethos at Fairgrounds of inclusivity, and of honoring the work that it takes to be an artist,” Dimmitt said. “And paying people appropriately and fairly for their work.”
RFQ information can be found here.
Tonight (Thursday, April 23) on The Catalyst Sessions: Musicians Rebekah Pulley and Rob Pastore.
Weeknight at 7 on the St. Pete Catalyst Facebook page.