Sam Alfstad is a Sarasotan who has high hopes for the Rosemary District’s future development, which is why he’s opening up an 8,900 square-foot contemporary gallery and exhibition space at 1314 10th St., called “The Ice House.”
Alfstad spent most of his career in advertising and marketing in New York where he founded e Marketer. In New York, he witnessed SoHo’s transition into a prominent art district; then in the mid 90s, when the art galleries moved from SoHo to Chelsea, he also witnessed Chelsea transition into a leading art district.
“(It was because) of the space, the cheap rent (meant) a lot of people moved in and created real hubs for art and cultural events,” Alfstad remembers. “Then the restaurants followed, and the people followed … It had a real energy.”
This is what Alfstad hopes will happen in Sarasota’s Rosemary District in the former The Old Ice House building, which has around 15-foot ceilings, perfect for the kind of space he envisions.
In January, he opened a studio space, Alfstad& Productions at 1421 5th St. where a staff of three Ringling College of Art and Design students, local artists, and freelancers produce the art that will mostly fill this new exhibition and event space. Alfstad hopes to emphasize graphic arts but will also feature film, dance and “all kinds of (art), not just the kind hanging on walls,” he says.
After some minor renovations, there will be a tentative opening celebration in November. A full season of events will be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to YourObserver.com for future updates.
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.