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.