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The Hustle

Name: Diane Morton (Warehouse Arts District Association)

Posted By Gina Marks

Since the start of her professional career, Diane Morton has done many notable things for the Tampa Bay community. She began as an Assistant State Attorney, then opened her own practice. She eventually shifted to working with St. Petersburg's art community, first serving on the Board of Trustees for the American Stage theater, and now leads the Warehouse Arts District Association as Executive Director. In this position, she oversees projects such as the ArtsXchange, dedicated to developing St. Pete's art scene and helping artists have access to the tools they need to create. With a passion for local arts and a history of leadership, Diane continually puts her talents to good use in developing the St. Pete community.

Years in Tampa Bay


Hustle (job)

We are a non-profit Arts Association.

What do you do?  

“Our vision is to create a community that will attract artists from all over the country to live and work here.”

Why do you do it?

In October 2011, an informal group of artists residing in the area came together to discuss ways to combine resources and increase connectivity with the community. These initial meetings resulted in the Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA) incorporating as a 501-3C, establishing by-laws and writing a mission statement. Throughout 2012, a series of meetings was held to further explore the needs of the art community. One of the concerns dealt with increasing property values making it difficult for artists to obtain reasonably priced studio and gallery space. To address this issue, WADA began a capital fund raising effort with the goal of purchasing warehouse space, now called the ArtsXchange.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

The Warehouse Arts District is a cultural destination for the arts that spans from 1st Avenue North to 10th Avenue South and 16th Street to 31st Street, including the Deuces Live Main Street, in downtown St. Petersburg. Comprised of a thriving community of over 300 artists, businesses and organizations, we feature creative, highly curated art within the district and employ a broad spectrum of tools to support the success of the artists and the community.

Home to the ArtsXchange, an artistic enclave with over 50,000 square feet of warehouse space that is being renovated into affordable working studios, galleries, classrooms, and performance space, the Warehouse Arts District is open to the public on the Second Saturday of every month with most spaces doubling as galleries open to the public.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

Not much. We work to help organize and give name to St. Pete’s art district.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

Letting the world know that St. Pete is an arts destination (not just a beaches and sports destination).

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

“St. Pete has magic dirt!” – Bob Devin Jones

More Hustle

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