Seminole Heights artists rally around fire victims

04/04/14 Janelle Irwin
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Tags: Seminole Heights, Robert Wegmann, Terry Klaaren, Art, artists

Residents in Seminole Heights have been rallying behind people affected by a fire that wrecked two local businesses. Now they hope to raise some money for artists too. Tammy Harmon Siebel has been organizing the Heights Unites Artist Benefit Bonanza this Sunday from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.

"It's a group of community artists coming together to put on an exhibition and sale of local artwork and the benefit is for the fire relief fund. Back in February a Modern Line furniture store and Domani's restaurant burned down. In Domani's restaurant there were several works of two local artists. Robert Wegman and Karen () and so their artwork went up in flames as well. Those were all actually hung for sale there so they did actually need that central income. So this benefit is to help them and the fire relief fund try to regain some of that lost income. There's about 15 local artists involved and they have done one of 2 things. They've either donated a piece outright for a silent auction and they've also donated pieces that they're going to exhibit there. Kind of like a 50/50 split, they're going to let the gallery split the other 50 percent with the fire and relief fund and the local artist would keep the other 50 percent."

Talk to me about the fire relief fund. Who is that particular fund going to be helping and how is the progress coming so far with various other events that have been held to raise funds?

"Yeah, the two main organizations that are dealing with the fire relief fund as a whole are the Seminole Heights Foundation and The Heights Collective. The Heights Collective covers a lot of neighborhoods in the urban corridor. It helps them out. So they've come together with the Seminole Heights Foundation to process the fire relief fund. They had a benefit a couple of weeks back and that included local musicians and a big sale and food vendors at Florida Avenue Ale. That raised a lot of money, I don't have the numbers. I know that the bake sale made over $400, I'm assuming other things did as well, there was a raffle and some things like that. From my understanding and Seminole Heights Foundation can answer other questions that you probably have. My understanding is that most of the fire relief fund is designated to the employees of these two businesses that no longer receive a paycheck. That's where, my understanding, where the money goes and what the money is being raised for."

$400 on a bake sale, those must have been some yummy baked goods.

"They were, there was a variety of things and they sold really well. They were delicious."

Do you know of any events coming up after this artist benefit?

"I believe that this might be the last one organized by the Heights Collective and the Seminole Heights Foundation."

If people want to get more information where can they go for that?

"They can go to the Facebook site or the Heights Collective Facebook site or their website, that is The only other thing, if I could tell you, the other local artists names that are involved. They came out of the woodwork and all but one actually live in Seminole Heights, the other person is a St. Pete resident. She is a member of the Florida community () and that's how she got involved. Lori Ballard, Valerie Martinez, Alex (), Alison Cruz, Brian Go, Jane White, Brent Felton, Elizabeth Mitchell, Trisha Bohanen, Tom Palmer, Susan Goth, Chris Kelly, Jane Sheilds, Rich Brown, and David (). Of course Robert Wegman and Terry Claren will be showing their works as well. Let me not forget Julie Filbert from Figure 8 art supplies who donated a gift certificate so that was awesome. The whole community has come together for this, it's been really encouraging."

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