When we first reported the news that a new community art gallery was opening on West Bay Drive, owner Tanya Pistillo was still in the planning phase of the project.
Three weeks later the Wandering Star Gallery’s grand opening is set for this Saturday, and Pistillo is also busy working on plans to host community events at nearby Ulmer Park.
To say it’s been a whirlwind few weeks for Pistillo would be an understatement. But the energetic artist is eager to begin her journey to enliven the community she grew up in.
“It’s been crazy. I’ve been working around the clock like a madwoman for the past few weeks,” Pistillo said from the gallery, located at 220 West Bay Drive.
“But the support I have received has been great. The flooring was donated, I’ve had people bringing me art, I’ve met so many people. This is the essence of community.”
The grand opening will represent the culmination of Pistillo’s lifelong dream.
Born and raised in Largo, the self-taught artist once envisioned herself opening a business in the very spot she now inhabits.
“When I was in high school I had a vision that I would be in this building,” she said. “So I decided to have a community art gallery here where…people could come and enjoy themselves even if they’re not artists.”
One person who is glad Pistillo followed her heart is her landlord, Bob Keller.
“As a landlord I’m excited,” he said. “I’ve wanted to have a gallery of some sort in here for a long time. We did everything we could to get her in here.”
Indeed Pistillo is extremely grateful to everyone who has helped contribute to her cause, from Keller to the city officials who okay-ed her plans for Ulmer Park to the citizens who donated money and supplies to help her with the opening.
And she wants to repay them with a gallery that truly benefits the entire community.
“I sat here in tears the other night thinking about everything that’s happened,” she said. “People have helped me financially, by giving me things. It’s been really unexpected.”
“I get the feeling this place is breathing fresh air into the community.”
If You Go:
- What: Wandering Star Gallery Grand Opening
- When: Saturday, Mar. 23, noon - ???
- Where: 220 West Bay Dr., Largo
- Info: The event will feature art from various contributors, door prizes, live acoustic music, and food provided by Sonny's Bar-B-Q and Sardo's Pizza.
- Contact: For more information, visit the Wandering Star Gallery Facebook page or website, www.wanderingstargallery.com.
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