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‘Inside the Corner Office’: Looking to the post-Covid arts future

Bill DeYoung

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On the second installment of the Leadership St. Pete Alumni Association’s Inside the Corner Office 2020, painter and gallery owner D. YaeL Kelley and Liz Dimmitt, CEO of the soon-to-debut Fairgrounds interactive arts experience, discussed the future of the arts in St. Pete.

Sponsored by LSPAA, the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and the St. Pete Catalyst, the discussion was livestreamed Tuesday afternoon.

They were chosen as panelists, said moderator John Collins, because they are “arts leaders and arts activists who have spoken on behalf of the arts, who are re-imagining the future, and who are helping St. Pete gently re-awaken from the pandemic.”

Fairgrounds, said Dimmitt, has been in production during Covid. “We’re in that final, fun but difficult sprint to our opening, which’ll be in early 2021,” she said. “During the pandemic, we were pleased to be able to offer over 50 artists paid commissions. Being a source of work and inspiration at this uncertain time is a real point of pride for us.”

“I’m happy to say that I’ve been fortunate enough to have as many sales with Covid, closed down, as I had before Covid,” Kelley reported. “And that is absolutely a reflection of St. Petersburg and the support of this community for the artists that are here.”

Among the questions from viewers: Where do you hope for the arts to be in a year?

Dimmitt said she hopes Fairgrounds will be “a catalyst for growth and change in the city,” and imagines an arts community even stronger than pre-Covid levels. “From strife and unrest and uncertainty comes great art,” she enthused.

Added Kelley: “I believe that is absolutely true … there will be an explosion of art, and artists will open our eyes to seeing this in ways that we never experienced ourselves.”

Episode 1 with Stephanie Gularte and Hank Hine.

 

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