Florida CraftArt is a statewide nonprofit organization headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida. Admission is free.
Our mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work.
Florida CraftArt (FCA) is a member-supported, statewide nonprofit organization headquartered in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg’s art and culture district. Fine craft art by more than 220 Florida artists is presented in the 2,500-square-foot Florida Artists Gallery and in the adjacent Exhibition Gallery, which features curated exhibitions and programming. Fine craft techniques are ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, sculpture, and wood. Admission to the galleries is free.
On the second floor of Florida CraftArt’s 100-year-old building is ArtLofts, 20 artists’ studios, and a meeting room called the Creative Loft, where workshops, lectures, and meetings are held. ArtLofts are open by appointment or by chance and on ArtWalk, every second Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. Admission is free.
Listen to Executive Director Katie Deits on
the Arts In. . . The Creative Pinellas Podcast
Katie shares her favorite experiences at Florida CraftArt – from exhibits inspired by the use of light and poets writing about work inspired by animals, to visiting Tibetan Monks creating, and erasing, a mandala.
FCA is an important asset to this vibrant community with a reputation for quality artwork and exhibitions, drawing more than 56,000 visitors annually to the gallery and its CraftArt Festival. Florida CraftArt is open and free to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It is open until 9 p.m. for the Second Saturday ArtWalk. FCA is a destination for locals and tourists alike.
FCA’s goal is to elevate fine craft as a recognized economic generator for Florida, nurture emerging artists, exhibit and promote fine craft artists, provide high-quality exhibitions and broaden educational programming for the community.
Florida CraftArt’s life-changing influence is evidenced in the tremendous impact it has made in the lives of Florida artists, helping to make it possible for them to make a living in the profession. It is the only statewide organization offering Florida’s fine craft artists the opportunity to show and sell their work in an attractive gallery set in a popular area for tourists, locals, and art lovers. Art careers have been made possible because of financial support from sales, business guidance, and mentoring from FCA staff. Artists are encouraged and challenged to create new work for the retail gallery and calls to artists for various themed exhibitions.
Every November, 100 of the best fine craft artists from across the county sell their work at the two-day outdoor Florida CraftArt Festival (CAF), which attracts more than 12,000 visitors. Artists who have never had a major show or participated in an outdoor festival are invited to apply to the FCAF Emerging Artists Program, in which each artist receives a tent, table and chairs, a photography session, postcards, and business mentoring by renowned glass artist Duncan McClellan. From this opportunity to professionally present their work, many fine-craft artists have seen their careers blossom.
Children and their families learn about fine craft methods in FCA’s Creative Discovery Workshops, written by a professional schoolteacher with a curriculum aligned with Florida’s core standards. All materials are provided to the workshop’s participants.
Adults, families, and school children participate in the Walking Mural Tours held every Saturday morning, and on the first Saturdays, a bike tour is offered.
The Collectors’ Circle lecture series (free and open to the public) informs the audience about materials, processes, artists, and historical background. It attracts people who will buy the work of the artists in FCA’s galleries and exhibitions, as well as creating a sense of community among the collectors and the artists. These presentations are also offered to condominiums, community, and service organizations.
Programming, such as lectures, panel discussions, artists’ talks, and fine craft workshops, engages the public and strengthens people’s knowledge and affinity for handmade art objects.
Hours and Accessibility
Florida CraftArt offers free admission to its galleries and ArtLofts.
Florida CraftArt is open and free to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
It is open until 9 p.m. for the Second Saturday ArtWalk.
We have ensured all our spaces are highly accessible, with extra space in exhibits and the gallery. There is an elevator to ArtLofts and the Creative Loft on the second floor.
Florida CraftArt (formerly known as Florida Craftsmen) was originally organized by Louis and Elsa Freund, professors at Stetson University in Deland, Florida, in 1951. Elsa was a jeweler, and the couple felt that an organization dedicated to fine craft would elevate the art form to the status it so rightly deserved. Exhibitions were organized and held annually at galleries, art centers, and colleges throughout the state of Florida, beginning with an exhibition at Florida State University in 1951.
The organization was incorporated in 1977 but had no official headquarters. Instead, it continued the tradition of an annual exhibition and conference with workshops featuring local and national craftsmen. Florida CraftArt settled into its first physical home when Florida Power offered space in their building in downtown St. Petersburg in 1986. Several years later, Florida Power needed the space, and Florida CraftArt moved to the McNulty building in 1992.
Neither site was conducive to walk-by traffic or had the look of a true gallery. It was not until 1995, when George Rahdert offered a reasonable rental agreement for the old Rutland Department store, that Florida CraftArt had a dedicated space that looked and felt like a gallery. The space had high ceilings and big windows, and sales in the new space took off. In 2002, Florida CraftArt made a bold move and bought the building, which now houses a 2,500-square-foot Florida Artists Gallery, an Exhibition Gallery, and a second floor home to 20 artists’ studios known collectively as ArtLofts.
Downtown St. Petersburg was still a relatively quiet area at that time, but it has been energized as an arts destination in recent years, with Florida Craftsmen’s gallery as an anchor leading the charge. In 2014, the organization changed its name to Florida CraftArt and now finds itself in the heart of the Central Arts District, surrounded by galleries, boutiques, and great restaurants.
Florida CraftArt is committed to a diverse and inclusive environment in all aspects of its board of directors, staff, members, artists, as well as exhibitions and programming for the community at large. As a nonprofit art organization, it considers all qualified applicants for employment and participation in the organization without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.
Perry and Lisa Everett
Board of Directors
- Chairman: Tyler Jones
- Vice Chairman: Mark Anderson
- Treasurer: Helen Igar
- Clerk: Lara Shelton
- Immediate Past Chair:
Kathryn Boeckman Howd
Directors at Large
- Kimberli Burns Cummings
- Michael Graham
- Duncan McClellan
- John Mascoll
- Starlett Massey
- Alvina Miller
- David Ramsey
- Elizabeth Reilinger
- Taylor Robenalt
- Stacia Schrader
- Don Strobel
- Julia Collver, Gallery Manager
- Doris Conner, Accountant
- Liz Cooper, Director of Advancement
- Katie Deits, Executive Director
- Janie Lorenz, Business and Festival Manager
- Charlotte Mack, Business and Festival Manager
- Celeste Newcomb, Gallery Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator
- Hilary Thomson, Gallery Assistant
Florida CraftArt Chief Executive Officers
Katie Deits 2016-Present
Diane Shelly 2010-2016
Maria Emilia 2006-2009
John Roll (Interim) 2004-2006
Michele Tuegel 1988-2004