In just a few short years ARTpool has turned St. Pete into the thriving Artropolous it is today.
It cgan as a small space bringing just a hint of vintage fun to the Burg. From fashion and local artwork all the way to vinyls and craft beer, this place truly has it all. Marina Williams, shop owner/ artist/certified bad ass, opened ARTpool after moving back home to Florida from London, England at the age of 23. She was seeking a unique, fun, out-of-the-box space to showcase her art.
“I decided to create my own world of art, music, fashion, where I could allow artistic collaboration on a monthly basis. I always knew I wanted to have a shop, but opening it at 23 was quite the adventure, and it has been a wild and wonderful time.”
The space is prime: big, spacious and overflowing with all things awesome. Upon entering, one is instantly transported into a sea of color, fabric, quirky art, and absurdities that make this place truly special. It would take you months to sort through their entire stock, and believe me, you’ll want to. If Marina would let me, I’d move in, curl up under a pile of some of their fabulous fur coats and call it a day. If fashion is less your scene, or you just need a break from the fantastic, you can head out to the courtyard—teeming with plants and eccentric must-haves for your garden—and sit down with a local beer and an artisan sandwich (I recommend “The Marina”). Or, meander over to the other half of the store where Evan, Marina’s boyfriend and partner-in-and-out-of-crime houses his epic collection of records.
And let’s not forget the essential assistance of Marina’s tres fabulous mother, Becky, who eternally sports a smile and outrageous outfit. “She is so wonderful and I couldn’t do it without her.” You’ll probably also meet Franklin, the truest and furriest ruler of the roost. You can even find him on Instagram @franklintheschnauzer. Worthy of a follow.
One of the best, most unique qualities of ARTpool is the sense of community it fosters—bringing together people from all walks to share, love, and experience local art with an endless flow of art- and community-friendly events.“We have monthly art shows, artists’ wall space, monthly outdoor pop up markets, design challenges…it is so fun being part of the Renaissance of downtown St. Pete and its creative community.” (See events page for the full list!)
And ARTpool throws some pretty bad ass parties, generally centered around a funky sort of fashion show with a giant runway erected in the courtyard and volunteer models who really strut their stuff (be it costumes or skivvies!). You couldn’t ask for a groovier group of people to surround yourself with on a Saturday night. Might just be worth the admission fee (usually $10-$20).
St. Petersburg is a place of community, dreams, and above all: love. So it’s only natural that such a place, which embellishes all of these qualities, would make it all the way to the top. “Encouraging and supporting others by providing a meeting place for the DIY, indie art and emerging art community has been a vital part of my vision. I am a complete dreamer but also a do-er. That is the most important thing: the blending of envisioning and accomplishing. If we don’t try, we will never succeed.”