Make us your home page
Instagram
Art at the Plaza

Art lovers are still buying despite economy, claims Largo's Art at the Plaza owner

Art to delight every taste and pocketbook covers walls, fills display shelves and lines the floors of Art at the Plaza. Works range from vividly colored handblown glass animals from Russia for $35 to a large bronze work for $35,000. The latter is The Sea Creates by celebrated sculptor M.L. Snowden, whose work is in the permanent collection of the White House.

Other artworks of note at the gallery are former Foreigner drummer Dennis Elliott's wood sculptures and paintings by Michael Vollbracht, a former fashion designer and Bill Blass artistic director who now lives in Safety Harbor.

Despite the times, art lovers are still buying but with more thought, said art consultant Tracy Stanich, who owns and operates the business with her mother Tina Basel-Smith.

Italian-born Basel-Smith, who lived in Europe and the Far East before settling in Florida in 1962, co-owned a gallery for five years in the same Belleair Bluffs neighborhood before opening Art at the Plaza 14 years ago.

"I started with quite a bit of art," she said. "I wanted to be innovative and grow the business, deal directly with the artists rather than just buying. It's a very creative business. Even today, it has an ever-evolving focus."

Many of her international clientele are Europeans who have homes in Florida. However, she adds, this is not a tourist business. She works with both homeowners and businesses in adding to or starting art collections.

Basel-Smith's daughter joined her six years ago.

"I wanted to help her and do something involved in the art world," Stanich said. "I came to pay attention and learn the business."

"She has worked as an apprentice," said Basel-Smith. "You can't learn it any other way. To get educated in art is one step at a time. You can't get it from a book because it comes from so many directions."

In addition to selling artworks, the business has a large collection of frames, many of them handmade, and offers museum quality custom framing. Appraisals, restoration work and custom mirrors also are available, as well as free consultations at residences and businesses.

Can customers commission artworks through the gallery?

Tracy: Yes. We do a lot of commissions. Unless the client has an artist in mind, we help them find an artist for the commission. Tina: If they don't like the commission when it's finished or it doesn't work for them, I take it back and refund the money.

Has the economy had an impact on sales?

Tina: Business reflects the economy. Because art is a luxury item, many people are just holding on to things right now. But there are different parts to the art market and this is just one part. The economy has not had an impact on auction prices. That art, from $200,000 to several millions, has been doing well.

Chris Cosdon can be reached at [email protected]

Art at the Plaza, 100 Indian Rocks Road N, Belleair Bluffs.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.

For more information: Call (727) 559-7767 or visit www.artattheplaza.com.

Special event

Coming Dec. 11 from 6-9 p.m. The annual Christmas at the Plaza holiday concert featuring music by the Florida Orchestra. A reception at Art at the Plaza for renowned artist William Dexter whose glass works will be on exhibit through the end of December.



if you go

Art at the Plaza

Where: 100 Indian Rocks Road N, Belleair Bluffs.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.

For more information: Call (727) 559-7767 or visit www.artattheplaza.com.

Special event

Dec. 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. The annual Christmas at the Plaza holiday concert featuring music by the Florida Orchestra. A reception will be held at Art at the Plaza for renowned artist William Dexter, whose glass works will be on exhibit through the end of December.

Art lovers are still buying despite economy, claims Largo's Art at the Plaza owner 11/15/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 16, 2008 10:59am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Coming soon at two Tampa Bay area hospitals: a cancer treatment that could replace chemo

    Health

    A new cancer treatment that could eventually replace chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants — along with their debilitating side effects — soon will be offered at two of Tampa Bay's top-tier hospitals.

    Dr. Frederick Locke at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa is a principal investigator for an experimental therapy that retrains white blood cells in the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved these so-called "CAR-T" treatments for adults this month. In trials, 82 percent of cases responded well to the treatment, and 44 percent are still in remission at least eight months later, Locke said. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Regulator blasts Wells Fargo for deceptive auto insurance program

    Banking

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images, 2017]
  4. McDonald's soft serve in Florida is made with handshakes and happy cows

    Consumer

    Floridians licked nine million McDonald's vanilla cones last year.

    Calves play with a rubber toy at the Milking R Dairy in Okeechobee, FL. Owners Sutton Rucks, Jr., and his wife Kris Rucks sell their milk to SouthEast Dairies cooperative, Edward Coryn of Dairy Mix in St. Petersburg buys it, transforms it into soft-serve ice cream base, and sells it to all the McDonald's. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  5. Hurricane Irma thrashed Tampa Bay homes sales in September

    Real Estate

    Hurricane Irma not only downed thousands of trees throughout the Tampa Bay area: It also sent home sales plunging in September.

    This home on Tampa's Davis Islands home sold in September for $5.2 million, making it the priciest sale of the month in the Tampa Bay area.
[Courtesy of Judson Brady Photography]