Amid the streets of St. Petersburg, FL, the private and tourist sectors alike have recently seen an explosion of revenue due to utilizing one simple lifehack—the arts. These reciprocal relationships of business, tourism, and arts in St. Petersburg stand living testament to the many ways any business can use the arts and not just boost sales, but improve the entire community.
Steve Westphal, St. Petersburg local entrepreneur and restaurant owner says, “without a doubt, collaborating with the arts, whether individual artists, arts organizations or arts festivals, is a good decision for businesses.” Westphal features etched glass, metal sculpture, marine life prints, and iconic grouper paintings by the late Bill Woo in his restaurant —and business is booming as a result.
More specifically, small businesses like his have been part of an astounding economic impact of over $200 million generated by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, according to a 2015 Arts & Culture Economic Impact Report produced by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance.
Staybridge Suites is getting in on the action, as well. Partnering with ARTicles Art Gallery & Custom Framing, the hotel has converted its dining area and lobby into a gallery space where artists can display their work. In addition to having pieces on display at all times, Staybridge hosts Art Night every three months, each bringing up to 100 people in. As artists revel in the exposure and hotel guests are more satisfied with their stay, it is easy to see why the show’s curator, Nathan Beard, refers to the partnership as “a mutually beneficial relationship.” Beard explained how the partnership goes even further than this, “we are always referring people who stop by ARTicles to the hotel and the hotel is referring guests to our gallery.”
Additionally, the City of St. Petersburg itself has collaborated with the local Chamber of Commerce to establish the St. Pete Store & Visitors Center, which displays the work of many artists and crafters on a rotating showcase. With a cycle of 40 artists being represented, the Chamber has reported the collective artists’ return to be nearly $20,000.
With all of the opportunities created and partnerships listed above, it is easy to agree with director of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, John Collin’s statement, “Art is great for business.”