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Figure 8 Art Supplies Hopes to Unite Artistic Community

The business is at 6502 N. Florida Avenue in Seminole Heights.

Sketch books, aerosol paint and ergonomic palettes line the walls inside a small building on Florida Avenue.

At Figure 8 Art Supplies in Seminole Heights, owner Julie Dilbert hopes to provide Tampa Bay's artistic community with an outlet to express themselves and purchase the tools they need to hone their crafts.

“I want to introduce products no one has ever heard of," Dilbert said. “I want to get high quality products in the hands of artists.”

Dilbert, a west Tampa resident who works as a nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital, chose Seminole Heights as a location for her store because it's "accessible for Tampa residents." Dilbert said she gets her supplies from national distributors.

We recently talked to Dilbert, who practices oil painting, printmaking and black and white photography, about her new business.

On how she got interested in art: "It started when I needed to complete an elective. I chose photography at Hillsborough Community College. After that, I was hooked. Most kids, you draw and paint. I always had an interest in art ... I remember getting in trouble a lot in Kindergarten and first grade because I didn't color things they way they were supposed to be. (For example) the bee is yellow. I wanted to color it red."

Why she opened the store in Seminole Heights: "I learned that Pearl Art Supply closed a few years ago in Tampa. We didn’t have an art supply store in Tampa, within the heart of the city, Ybor, downtown, where the art hubs are. I said, 'That’s what I’ll do, I will open an art supply store.' I took a business class with Hillsborough County's small business information center in 2011. They offer free classes. In the middle of nursing school, I took those free business classes."

On what she wants her store to bring to the Seminole Heights community: "We definitely have an arts community here in Seminole Heights. I don’t only want to service Seminole Heights, though. Tampa definitely has a pulse when it comes to the arts. We have the local universities and public schools with their art programs. We have a huge arts community here thanks to West Tampa Arts Center, Tempus. I hope to encourage that."

Figure 8 Art Supplies is open Thursdays-Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Julie Melinda Dilbert February 26, 2013 at 01:14 PM
Thank you Camille for writing our first article!
Fresh Press Studios February 26, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Congratulations Julie. We are happy to have you here :). As a long time artist myself, I look forward to coming to your store. If you are in need of a website, please check out my local graphic & web design company Fresh Press Studios, we are close by you.
Julie Melinda Dilbert February 26, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Thank you Fresh Press Studios! I'm proud to be here. I look forward to meeting you.
Juana Herman February 26, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Huzzah!! Now we don't have to go to the heck holes that are Michaels or Joanns to get supplies!! I wish you the best success in this new endeavor! Spread the word people! ;)
Julie Melinda Dilbert February 26, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Thank you Juana!
cori toler February 27, 2013 at 04:24 AM
So glad to hear about your store ! It was a sad day when Pearl closed.. I agree Joann s and michaels are not the next best thing, just all we had. Now we have you :)
Julie Melinda Dilbert February 28, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Thank you Cori! Figure 8 is ready to serve the local arts community. I look forward to meeting you soon!

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