Artist and philanthropist Beth Morean has expanded her arts empire in St. Petersburg with the new Morean Workshop Space.
Envisioned as a destination for artists looking to concentrate on and expand their craft, the space is housed in a 9,000-square-foot historical building on the Pinellas Trail and has been completely remodeled, offering room for 200 people.
Morean became involved with the St. Petersburg arts community decades ago. Her investment in the Arts Center led to it being named the Morean Arts Center and now includes the Morean Glass Studio. She brought the Chihuly Collection to St. Petersburg and purchased the Historic Seaboard Freight Depot to create the Morean Center for Clay.
“The new Morean Workshop Space is the last piece of the puzzle,” Morean said in a news release. “This all started after taking a clay class at The Arts Center and falling in love with the local arts community. This new space is the culmination of my dream, adding to the extensive offerings in the city, a space for large-scale immersive studies in all mediums.”
It fills a void locally for holding workshops, according to executive director Valerie Scott Knaust, who said that other arts organizations would have to cancel classes to make space for them. This space gives those organizations the opportunity to expand their offerings.
Morean’s private collection will be featured in the new space, offering a comprehensive look at the history of ceramic art.
Differing from other local art centers, there won’t be studios for rent or regular classes. It will only be open by appointment.
“We don’t want to compete with anyone in the community,” Knaust said. “We want to enhance.”
Workshops have already been planned. November’s first class on glazing has sold out. On Nov. 11-12, Jessica Brandl will lead a workshop on surface design on pottery. Local Legends, with ceramics instructors Don Williams, Charlie Parker and Doris Conner, happens Dec. 3-4. Florida Heat: Wood Fire Workshop will include lectures and demonstrations, and all participants will take part in loading, firing and unloading the Anagama kiln from Jan. 3-18.
While the primary focus is on ceramics, Knaust has been reaching out to artists in all disciplines to lead workshops. She said the idea for the space has been discussed for years.
“The dream was always to be able to have a space to do exactly this and bring all our heroes to our city,” she said.
The Morean Workshop Space is at 2025 Third Ave. S. For more information, visit moreanworkshopspace.org.