ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -
The 228-foot Grand Luxe mega-yacht is taking a rest; and getting a good cleaning. After spending a week at the Port of Tampa having its bottom scraped and repainted, the 40-million dollar ship is now docked at the Port of St. Petersburg. The Grand Luxe was designed and built six years ago as a high-end, floating mobile art gallery.
"The boat was designed with modular walls so when a vendor comes in, or an artist or a gallery, they can order any kind of set-up they would like," said Captain Sam Carroll,a St. Pete native, who's also the ship's Chief Engineer.
In addition to a full restaurant, the decks can accommodate 28 separate galleries whose space is paid for by artists and brokers. Wherever the port, most shows last 4-5 days.
"The nice thing about that is in four or five days, they can bring in enough people to see their art that they might get in a whole month in their shop," Carroll said.
Most events are open to the public with a fee of 15-20 dollars to come aboard. The yacht stays in port during a show.
"We found a lot of the people that show up, show up to see the boat first. And that draws a lot of people, and then that brings them into the art," said Carroll.
With artists from as far away as China and Russia renting space aboard the yacht, this isn't art you'll find just anywhere.
"It's a long way from flea market art. We have a lot of international galleries now. We always have local galleries in every venue we're in, but most of our dealers are from other countries. It's an international art show is what it is," Carroll explained.
The Grand Luxe is operated by SeaFair out of Bonita Springs and travels as far north as Boston and up Florida's southwest coast. Officials hope to one day have enough demand to bring a show to the bay area.
The Grand Luxe will remain at port in St. Petersburg for another week; before setting sail to Miami for another art show.
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