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St. Pete Art and Fashion Week: Fashion fueled by passion

The St. Pete Art & Fashion Week benefitting the Warehouse Arts District is in full swing.

Tonight designers present models in a wildflower theme for a photo shoot open to the public from 7 to 11 p.m., at Platformz, 179 1st Ave. N. It costs $10.

Friday is Art Night with local artists and live art demonstrations from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at BBD LIfe Studio at 465 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. This is an even $16.

The grand finale on Saturday s the runway fashion show featuring eight Florida designers, artists, cocktails and hors d' ouvres. That's 6 to 10 p.m. at One Progress Plaza, 200 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Tickets are $35 at the door but $28 if you buy them at stpeteartfashionweek.

I chatted with one of the designers, Melissa Dolce, earlier this week and realized I had just seen her completely creative work at the Wearable Art show in Dunedin a few weeks ago. There she created a sports related line including a basketball net overlaying and black and red skirt, a true leather dress made of baseball gloves and an adorable be it pointy shift created completely with golf tees.

Like many artists and designers, when Dolce says this is her passion she means it. She doesn't have a deal pending with Macy's or even a few items at a local boutique. She creates one of a kind pieces with materials she finds on eBay, at thrift shops and clearance tables at fabric and craft supply stores.

And she recycles. The yellow tulle of a sunflower dress this week, could be the bow on the back of a honeybee themed corset at her next show.

I call that true passion. The graphic artist by day spends her own time and money to create fashions just for the love of having another creative outlet.

The proceeds from St. Pete Fashion week will ultimately help similar artists, all with very different passions. The Warehouse Arts District is halfway to raising the funds needed to renovate an existing warehouse into studios for 20 to 30 artists. Rates will be reasonable since the popularity of nearby downtown St. Petersburg is driving up real estate prices.

A growing number of artists from potters and painters to those who work with glass and metal are already occupying other warehouses. It's part of the Second Saturday art walk and worth checking out. The district is right across from 3 Daughters Brewing at the corner of 5th Avenue S. and 22nd Street.