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Revamped Soft Water Gallery celebrates opening in St. Petersburg

The gallery in the Warehouse Arts District will open with two exhibitions in September.
Carrie Jadus' "Blue Nudes III" exhibition is opening at Soft Water Gallery in St. Petersburg on Sept. 8.
Carrie Jadus' "Blue Nudes III" exhibition is opening at Soft Water Gallery in St. Petersburg on Sept. 8. [ Courtesy of Carrie Jadus ]
Published Sep. 1

The former Soft Water Studios, a staple of St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District, closed for the summer and is opening as the reimagined Soft Water Gallery, with two exhibitions in September.

Founders Carrie Jadus and Mark Aeling have hired Lisa Lippincott as the gallery director. Lippincott has a background in curation and had a contemporary art gallery in St. Petersburg 20 years ago.

Lippincott said that because of all the growth in the area, the aim was to create a more formal gallery space with regular hours and regularly curated exhibitions throughout the year. Jadus will maintain her studio there.

The reopening kicks off Sept. 8 with “Blue Nudes III,” a new collection of figurative paintings by Jadus. The opening reception is from 6-9 p.m., and the exhibition remains on view through Oct. 1. Guests are encouraged to dress in blue, and blue-tinted champagne will be served.

Jadus is a painter whose work is collected locally and around the world. The “Blue Nudes” series began as a way to use up leftover paint on a palette from a larger project and now has become extremely popular.

On Sept. 10, “In the Abstract” opens with a reception from 6-9 p.m. This show pairs Sarasota artist Steph Gimson’s nonrepresentational paintings with Orlando- and North Carolina-based artist Kenneth Charles Lichtenberger’s sculptures. It remains on display through Nov. 5.

Gimson had a career as a celebrity makeup artist whose clients included David Bowie and the British royal family. But she found a passion for painting, left the makeup career largely behind and creates layered pieces that are built up, sanded down and have collage elements.

Steph Gimson's "Blue Loop" will be on display in "In the Abstract" at Soft Water Gallery in St. Petersburg, opening Sept. 10.
Steph Gimson's "Blue Loop" will be on display in "In the Abstract" at Soft Water Gallery in St. Petersburg, opening Sept. 10. [ Courtesy of Steph Gimson ]

Known professionally as Kenneth Charles, Lichtenberger makes abstract sculptures in metal, clay and cast stone. He’d studied commercial art as a young man but an aversion to computers led him away from the field. He began making sculptures in 2009. This is his first exhibition.

Kenneth Charles' "All Ears" is included in "In the Abstract" at Soft Water Gallery in St. Petersburg, opening Sept. 10.
Kenneth Charles' "All Ears" is included in "In the Abstract" at Soft Water Gallery in St. Petersburg, opening Sept. 10. [ JADE APISUK ROANE TURNER PHOTOGRAPHY | Courtesy of Kenneth Charles Lichtenberger ]

In the mindset of keeping exhibitions up a bit longer, Lippincott plans to always have two shows in the gallery, staggering them so that while one is continuing, a new show will open each month. The exception is Jadus’ “Blue Nudes III,” which is only open for a few weeks because the works are highly collected, Lippincott said.

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In November, Lippincott plans to open a group exhibition geared toward children titled “Imaginary Friends,” in celebration of World Children’s Day. She plans to show child-friendly, high-level work from professional artists. The hope is to not only expose children to art in the hopes of fostering a lifelong appreciation, but also to parents who might not have art on their radar.

Lippincott is still building an artist roster and has high hopes for the gallery.

“I’m super excited,” she said. “And you know, I couldn’t be working with two nicer people. I am super excited that Mark and Carrie have entrusted me with this baby of theirs.”

If you go

Soft Water Gallery, 515 22nd St. S, Suite F, on the ArtsXChange campus. Free. Noon-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. softwatergallery.com.

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