Jan 21, 2022 - Things to Do

Supermarket turned immersive art installation now open

Artist Lucy Sparrow poses with two of her art pieces during the opening of her new exhibit "Tampa Fresh Foods."
Artist Lucy Sparrow poses with two of her art pieces during the opening of her new exhibit "Tampa Fresh Foods." Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

What British artist Lucy Sparrow calls her most ambitious project to date — "Tampa Fresh Foods" — opened to the public Thursday, and it is something to behold.

  • Two years in the making, press materials call it an immersive art installation of a fully functioning supermarket at Water Street Tampa.

What it is: 50,000 hand-made, whimsical representations of items that you'd find in a local grocery store — stone crab, mullet, citrus, Cuban sandwiches, etc — all made of felt and all for sale.

  • Fifty. Thousand.
  • That makes it … a really adorable artsy supermarket.
Art pieces in "Tampa Fresh Foods" include felt fish food.
Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

Flashback: Sparrow earned attention in 2014 with her felt Cornershop installation, funded by a Kickstarter campaign, in London's East End.

A shopper bends down to grab art pieces in "Tampa Fresh Foods"
Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

What they're saying: Jeff and Penny Vinik, whose Vinik Family Foundation is presenting the installation, first encountered Sparrow's work at Miami Art Week in 2015.

  • "One of these things is not like the other," Jeff Vinik said softly at Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony, looking at the Day-Glo-dressed Sparrow, then at his own outfit: khakis, loafers and a suit coat.

If you go: The exhibition at 1050 Water Street in Tampa is free and open to the public from 11am to 8pm every day through February 20.

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