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St. Petersburg artists, nonprofits take over old warehouse space

Posted at 1:04 PM, Dec 05, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The St. Pete art scene has been busy, behind the scenes, getting ready to unveil a brand-new communitive art space called The Factory.

Located in South St. Pete, there are eight warehouses, spread out over 6.5 acres, that no one paid much attention to, until now.

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“St. Pete is vibrant, its growing, its art focused and now we are kind of giving it a dedicated mecca for where the arts can grow,” said Kara Behar, one of the founders of The Factory.

The Factory is set to open in the fall of 2020.

“At the end of the day The Factory is a series of buildings, it’s only what we fill it with that matters,” said Behar.

What she is in the process of filling the empty space with is a series of artists, nonprofits and small businesses intertwined together.

“The nonprofits pay either extremely reduced rent or no rent what so ever and in exchange for that they are bringing in people that are supporting the other businesses,” said Behar.

Two of the first tenants on board include Daddy Kool Records and the nonprofit literary group Keep St. Pete Lit.

“I really think it’s wonderful when the private supports the public because grants can be fickle, but having people who have private businesses coming supporting nonprofits is like a win-win for everybody,” said Maureen McDole, executive director of Keep St. Pete Lit.

Keep St. Pete Lit teaches writing classes everywhere from elementary schools to senior centers. However, McDole said they’ve never had an actual place of their own.

The Factory could be a game changer.

“It’s kind of like a family affair where we can have this creative incubator and help activate the rest of the community and bring the community in,” said McDole.

The Factory is actively looking for new tenants.

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