Category Archives: Community

Artists Participate in Sand Sculpture Competition

By: Kelsey Al

Artists from around the world gather every November at Treasure Island Beach for the sand sculpture competition, Sanding Ovations. The competition also features multiple food and craft beer vendors.

Although there is no theme for the sculptures this year, most of the artworks are abstract or surreal, featuring human forms. The sculptors use conventional artist tools like palette knives and spatulas.  Instruments unique to the medium such as tubes for blowing away unwanted sand are also used. Artist Rusty Croft from California says that working with the fragile medium is all about seeing how far the sand will hold through experimentation.

The first place sculpture is two skeletons embracing each other on the ground, reminiscent of the mysterious skeletons discovered several years ago in Siberia. All of the sculptures will remain intact for viewing for the next three weeks.




Flea Market Vendor

By: Sarah Norcini


Local flea market vendors sometimes have more than one job, and at the Sixty Sixth Street Flea Market in St. Pete, Angelina Herrington is one of them. Having only been there four months, she has found it somewhat difficult to maintain her business. Despite this, she wants to open her own store one day, but says that it’s all up to the economy and how well things go at the market.

However, the market can sometimes be difficult to find. She says that she’s been there for six years, and has just never noticed it.

Herrington also says that she has found it difficult to advertise, because she is expected to do that on her own. She has made a Facebook page, though she says it doesn’t bring her many customers. So for now, she’s just trying to make the best out of what she has.

66th Street Market vendor struggles to make ends meet

By: Sarah Norcini


For many vendors at the 66th Street Flea Market, it is not their only job. Angelina Herrington is one of them. For the past four months, she has been a permanent vendor at the market. Her business, Angie’s Place, is located on the north side of the building. She’s had her share of hardships, and dreams of opening her own business.

Angelina Herrington at her store

Angelina Herrington at her store

Four months ago, Herrington discovered this market. She drove by it because she was curious about it and wanted to see what 66th Street was like. And after working there she noted that “it’s not bad, but it could be a bit busier. It’s not bad, not bad.”

Herrington’s other job is being a cashier-stocker, and views becoming a vendor full time as a “maybe”. It’s all down to the economy, and how well she does at the market. But as she has been finding out, is a lot more difficult than she expected.

Although she’s not new to this business, she says that she wasn’t prepared for the responsibility. Herrington thought that she would just open the store, and everything would essentially run itself. She just hopes that in the end, it’ll pay off.

Herrington’s husband and daughter occasionally help her out. They come in a few days a week to help her with inventory. The products she gets are from yard sales and from people bringing in what they have. She doesn’t travel more than an hour away to get any of her merchandise.

The money she makes goes entirely to the rent of her space at the market. Rent is $400 a month, and she says she is just trying to get by.

The 66th Street Market sign on the side of the building

The 66th Street Market sign on the side of the building

She’s also found it difficult to get the word out about her business. She has a Facebook page, but she doesn’t do much else online. The customers she does have are there mostly through word of mouth. Herrington always gives them her card and encourages them to spread the word.

Herrington has reasons for why business isn’t great at that market. She says that other flea markets in the area get a lot of foot traffic. But this market does not, she goes on to say.

Another reason she gives is that the market is just difficult to find. “I’ve been here for six years, and I just never noticed it. The sign for the market is too high for drivers to notice and the building kind of blends in.” She also pointed out that her son’s girlfriend, who had lived there all her life, passed the building twice before finding it.

Herrington’s experience at the market hasn’t always been the easiest. Despite not being new to this business, she’s come across difficulties. The lack of advertising and location has been her biggest problems.  All Herrington wants to do is to open her own business, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Sanding Ovations Master’s Cup at Treasure Island Beach

By: Kelsey Al


Artists from around the world gather at Treasure Island Beach every November for Sanding Ovations, which is in it’s sixth year. The event is held behind The Bilmar Beach Resort and the finished sculptures stay standing for three weeks after the weekend competition.

First Place sculpture “Love Never Dies” by Jobi Bouchard

First Place sculpture “Love Never Dies” by Jobi Bouchard

There is no theme for the sculptures this year. Most of the artworks are abstract or surreal, and feature human forms. Third place and Sculptors Choice winner is Sue McGrew’s piece titled “Vertigo”. It features a vortex of bodies on one side, being sucked into the eyes of a portrait that loosely resembles the artist on the reverse side.

The sculptors use conventional tools like palette knives and spatulas, as well as instruments unique to the medium such as tubes for blowing away unwanted sand.

Artist Rusty Croft from California describes working with the fragile medium, “You have to find the limit of the sand, how far it will hold”. Croft has been in the sand business for 17 years, and says Florida’s sand has a lot of clay-like chunks that creates an obstacle for sculpting.

The first place sculpture, “Love Never Dies”, is two skeletons embracing each other on the ground, reminiscent of the mysterious skeletons discovered several years ago in Siberia. The artist Jonathan (Jobi) Bouchard is the youngest of the sculptors, and traveled here from Montreal. This is his third year competing and has won first place all three years.

“Go With The Flow” by Rusty Croft

“Go With The Flow” by Rusty Croft

In addition to live art, the beach was packed with food and art vendors. Multiple bands took turns performing. Visitor and artist Aaliyah Martinez says that she thinks this is one of the most unique events in St. Petersburg, and enjoys seeing contestants from all over the world. Two sculptors came from Amsterdam, one from Mexico, and several from the west coast of America.

Solar Panels at USFSP

By: Jason Saab



Duke Energy awarded a one million dollar grant to  USFSP to fund the building of solar panels and the research that will follow. The panels are built on the roof of the USFSP parking garage and will provide some shade to the seventh floor.

The panels will also be storing energy in a newly developed battery system that will provide data to the researchers about how this energy will work.They hope this will help promote the use of solar power as an energy source.

The team hopes that the data and research that they gain from the battery storage project will assist them in promoting and using the sun to help offset the growing need for energy in Florida, according to Joe Pietrzak, Dukes Senior Planning Analyst.

Supporters also hope it will bring plenty of publicity due to its size and visibility. Although the panels will only provide a fraction of the nineteen point one million kilowatt-hours of energy that USFSP uses per year, it will still be the largest solar array in St. Petersburg.

Duke’s solar panels are worth it in the long run, but are our parking problems over?

By: Jason Saab


The reopening of the parking garage’s seventh floor at USFSP has brought a sigh of relief from many students regarding the parking situation. The solar panels that were donated by Duke Energy are nearly complete, and the seventh floor is available again.

Duke Energy Florida awarded USFSP a one million dollar SunSense grant towards the construction of the solar panels on top of the parking garage. This is for research into the integration of storing solar energy in newly developed batteries that will be installed with the panels.

The State President of Duke Energy Florida, Alex Glenn, said that “this effort is a true collaboration with USF St. Petersburg and the USF College of Engineering”. The panels will also help manage energy costs and promote sustainability, according to USFSP Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska.

The solar panels will measure about 7,100 square feet, with 328 individual panels that will provide an average of 164,250 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per year of the 19.1 million kWh USFSP uses, as well as providing some shade on the seventh floor.

However the biggest effect this project will have is reinforcing the idea of the need for sustainability. Duke Energy Senior Planning Analyst Joe Pietrzak said that “this new 100 kW solar array represents one of the largest and most efficient solar arrays in St. Petersburg.”

Pietrzak concluded that “The data and technical research we will gain from the battery storage aspect of this project will assist us in to promoting and using the sun to help offset the growing need for some electricity in Florida.”

The battle for the seventh floor may be over, and though we got some shiny new solar panels out of it, the war for reliable parking is never finished.

Oddities in Downtown St. Petersburg

By: Kelsey Al


The 600 Block of Downtown St.Pete is known for being the hub of creative spirit. Tucked off the main street of Central Avenue is a gem that goes by the name Dysfunctional Grace.

The taxidermy and oddity shop has been locally owned and operated for two and a half years. Co-owner Elizabeth Ann sells her work and work from various artists from the area that fit the theme of the shop, which centers on the beauty of death and nature.

Preserved dove with roses and faux pearl eyes.

Preserved dove with roses and faux pearl eyes.

The prices of pieces range from as low as 20 dollars for small items such as air plants mounted in an antique frame to upwards of 3000 in the case of a real giraffe with metal gears attached to the head.

Ann says her business began when she got fired from her previous job, and she no longer wanted to be part of the corporate world. She began making morbid artwork for about four years ago, when her father died. According to Elizabeth Ann, the best part of owning Dysfunctional Grace is “being her own boss”.

All of the materials used in the pieces on display in the unconventional shop are ethically obtained. No animals were harmed for the intent of the artwork. The skulls and skins were either found from road kill or obtained from collectors.

Though the company does not have a high influx of customers due to its unusual nature, Dysfunctional Grace does have a lot of regulars. Ann says that a lot of her customers that visit frequently become more like friends.