Art, Please

You're Invited: A Free Art Walk, Exhibit and Live Music

Discover the emerging artist community taking shape in Park East, Sarasota.

By Kim Doleatto January 6, 2022

People enjoying art exhibit in warehouse district  in Park East neighborhood in Sarasota.

An art walk at SPAACES, a growing collection of art workspaces with a gallery for lectures and exhibits in Sarasota.

It's what you would want to find in a town lauded for its vibrant arts scene–an art gallery surrounded by warehouse artwork spaces housed in a funky neighborhood off the beaten path.

And you’re invited to a free art walk there tonight where two artists’ work will be on display, along with live music by Kim Logan.

It’s called SPAACES, and it’s made up of 10 affordable art workspaces anchored by an exhibition gallery at its center. Founded by Marianne Chapel, SPAACES, an acronym for “Sarasota Project Aligning Artists Communities, Exhibits and Studios,” is housed in a mixed industrial and residential neighborhood just north of Fruitville Road and east of Washington Boulevard in the Park East neighborhood, moments away from Sarasota's downtown core.

When Chapel, an artist and instructor of fine art at the Ringling College of Art and Design, didn’t quite find the visual arts community she craved, she decided to nurture one. SPAACES celebrates everyday working artists carving out a fine arts career in Sarasota by offering them an affordable space where they can create. While it initially opened as a commercial art gallery in 2017 under the name M. Chapel Projects, the gallery became a nonprofit in 2020.

“I wanted to provide the visual artist a community and space where they feel accepted and supported. I also selfishly wanted to be around that," Chapel says.

The overarching style of the work is contemporary in that it’s thoughtful about current issues versus being solely decorative. “It will showcase a mental concept or philosophy,” Chapel says.

Tonight’s exhibit, called The Language of Ephemera, showcases the work of photographer and Ringling College of Art and Design emeritus Sally Pettibon and printmaker and Ringling College of Art and Design professor Eszter Sziksz.

With roughly 18 pieces on display, the work imparts a sense of nostalgia. For example, Pettibon layers different photography of her Midwest hometown in a "then and now" comparison. Sziksz prints a picture on a block of ice and photographs it melting away, highlighting the passing of time.

Four more artists outside the SPAACES umbrella have since been drawn into the warehouse art community in the Park East neighborhood, and the 14 artists call themselves the Princeton Street Arts group

The art walk is Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m. at 2087 Princeton St., Sarasota, (941) 374-3492. Can't make it? Call or email to make an appointment. 

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