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With Just Getting Started, Deputy Mayor and City Administrator Dr. Kanika Tomalin is “telling the St. Pete story” through one-on-one conversations with change-makers. With many exciting plans and projects on the horizon, St. Petersburg’s upward trajectory remains strong. “So much has been done, but here’s the secret: We’re just getting started.

12/23/2020 | Episode 12 | 25:51

Just Getting Started: The Factory St. Pete

Just Getting Started: The Factory St. Pete

Dr. Tomalin chats with Kara Behar of The Factory St. Pete, a 6.5 acre center for the arts and more, located in the Warehouse Arts District. Eight contiguous warehouse spaces are in the process of being reconfigured for studio, gallery, rehearsal and office space; several artists, and nonprofits, have already moved in, with more on the way. Behar discusses the recent "First Look" event, and her vision for The Factory St. Pete as we move into 2021.

Key Insights

  • You have to keep saying yes, and be willing to fail, Behar says. The recent 'Factory First Look' event, with Keep St. Petersburg Local, was a gamble - and a tremendous success.
  • Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise" is painted on the walls of the stairway of Building 2, the first to open, where Keep St. Pete Lit and the SHINE Mural Festival have offices. "They need spaces where they can connect to the artists."
  • Coming soon: The Institute of Strategic Policy Solutions and the Pinellas Community Foundation.
  • The Factory's new artist-in-residence, from Atlanta, is Saudade Toxosi, a multidisciplinary artist and image curator working in painting, charcoal drawings, photography, mixed media and assemblage.
  • The outdoor Literary Garden was created primarily for children's storytelling and reading sessions. "It gives people something to look at besides walls," Behar explains.
  • American Stage has recently partnered with the Factory for the use of an outdoor classroom in January.
  • Through the Pinellas Community Foundation, the Factory intends to seed a scholarship and studio space fund. "We're trying to be sure we get artists of all types of art (and) at all levels." The goal is "to recognize there's an artist that needs help to get started."
  • More warehouses are scheduled to open before summer, with larger artist studios, and Liz Dimmitt's immersive art installation Fairgrounds.
  • The entire Factory property borders the Pinellas Trail.

Dr. Tomalin chats with Kara Behar of The Factory St. Pete, a 6.5 acre center for the arts and more, located in the Warehouse Arts District. Eight contiguous warehouse spaces are in the process of being reconfigured for studio, gallery, rehearsal and office space; several artists, and nonprofits, have already moved in, with more on the way. Behar discusses the recent “First Look” event, and her vision for The Factory St. Pete as we move into 2021.

 

When we inadvertently bought the 90,000 square feet, the first thing we thought of was 'How do you fill the space?' We love the arts - and I had the great fortune of Liz Dimmitt being my business partner."

 

 

 

When you look at St. Pete being a space for makers and artists in all genres - graphics, technology, musicians, digital, film - it becomes more and more interesting in the art world. Those are all coming together ... art is coming out of the museums, literally onto our streets, onto our buildings."

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About the host

Dr. Kanika Tomalin is a thought leader, policy-maker, community ambassador, and health advocate.

As the first African-American, female Deputy Mayor and City Administrator of one of Florida’s largest cities, Dr. Kanika Tomalin is a role model for women from all walks of life and an advocate for innovative policies, equitable community revitalization, healthy families, at-risk youth and education.

Her signature initiative, Healthy St. Pete, which launched in 2014, has made community health a priority and impacts the lives of thousands of Sunshine City residents. By creating access to healthy food options, implementing free fitness zones in city parks and adding resources for individuals and families to make healthy living easier – Dr. Tomalin has made a tangible difference.

Dr. Tomalin’s understanding of the critical role health plays as a determinant of overall quality of life was shaped prior to her career in the public sector. She quickly climbed the ranks in the healthcare industry, most recently serving as the regional vice president of External Affairs for the Bayfront Health Network and director of Strategy for Health Management Associates’ 23-hospital Florida Group.


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