Fairgrounds St. Pete started with an ambitious idea, a little bit of kismet and a lot of hard work to bring our likeminded team together to develop something truly unique. Growing from an idea Liz Dimmitt had to create a space to host art events and exhibitions, Fairgrounds St. Pete has set out with the ambitious mission of creating a community of creativity celebrating all that is wonderful and weird about Florida.
Everything began to come together when Liz was introduced to Mikhail Mansion whose background in art and technology helped Fairgrounds’ vision take shape. It was natural then for Olivia Mansion to join the founding team, bringing her deep entrepreneurship education to the project and the final piece came together when Liz reached out to Tyson Johnson to bring his financial and logistical expertise to this new endeavor.
From day one Fairgrounds St. Pete has focused on narrative and storytelling. “Our narrative was first explored during a concept development workshop led by Mikhail and Olivia with the goal of building a framework for a storyful immersive art and technology experience” said Liz. She went on to explain, “With that framework in mind, we [the founding team] wanted to create an environment where artists were given the opportunity to showcase their work while also being compensated fairly.” With that, the name Fairgrounds St. Pete emerged. With a name that references traditional fairgrounds as a place for exhibiting new ideas and recognizing talent, the founding team is committed to being fair in creating a sustainable arts and tech community.
Just as the project was getting underway, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic caused the team to pivot. Looking at it as an opportunity, they knew they wanted to create paid opportunities for artists to help keep their practices going during difficult times as well as shift to include more innovative touchless technology. It also provided the chance to assemble a team of world-class entertainment industry professionals to help evolve how stories are told. The founders’ entrepreneurial drive and commitment to the idea that compensating artists fairly and equitably is an integral part of Fairgrounds St. Pete. As Fairgrounds gets closer to opening, our excitement to share the work of the over 60 artists and collaborators grows and we can not wait to invite the public to join the Fairgrounds St. Pete community.
Learn more about Liz, Mikhail, Tyson & Olivia here: