It’s a fresh day at Dunedin Fine Art Center. As we prepare to welcome fall, we also welcome a new addition to our dedicated staff.
Today Diane Shelly joins the team to serve as our new Adult Education Director, after more than six years as Executive Director of Florida CraftArt, a St. Petersburg gallery known for advancing Florida’s fine craft artists.
During her time there, Shelly tackled a full-on rebranding project (it was formerly known as Florida Craftsmen), kickstarted a popular mural walking tour, and much more. But her passion for education, kindled while pursuing a master’s degree in textiles from Florida State University, never faded—so the opportunity to serve as DFAC’s new Adult Education Director was too exciting to pass up.
“They have a great reputation, and I’m very proud to join them,” Shelly said.
DFAC’s former Adult Education Director, Christine Renc-Carter, has been appointed curator of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.
Shelly will bring a new perspective to DFAC’s adult education program, evaluating existing classes and helping talented people to become better teachers. She plans to spend her first week observing and meeting people in the DFAC classrooms.
“I want to experience what they’re doing so we can maximize the experience for teacher and student,” she said.
Shelly will develop strategies for connecting with more young adult audiences—independent makers who vend at outdoor markets and sell on websites such as Etsy.com—and provide seminars to help them strengthen business and marketing skills.
Courses aimed at seasonal residents, experiential tours for vacationing visitors, and even some culinary arts options may all become part of the mix.
“I have loved it [at Florida CraftArt] and met a lot of wonderful people,” Shelly said. “We’ve accomplished a lot. But I really miss education, and when this opportunity came up it was the right time for me.”
After college, Shelly taught pattern drafting, surface embellishments, and other fashion and interior design courses at the International Academy of Design and Technology, rising to become academic dean before moving on to ArtCenter Manatee, a center for arts education in Bradenton.
There, Shelly spearheaded the jewelry design department and helped painter Charles Miano on his path toward opening the Southern Atelier.
Now a resident of St. Petersburg’s Kenwood neighborhood, Shelly hopes to foster deeper connections between her home and Dunedin, celebrating and promoting the value of both places. She will continue to volunteer with projects like the SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival, and support the arts in these two vibrant communities.
“The ability to tie those two things together is exciting,” Shelly said. “I feel very fortunate; I’ve always done things I’m passionate about. I think that’s how you live life to the fullest.”