[PHOTOS] Inside Lucy Sparrow’s massive felt art installation, Tampa Fresh Foods

Lucy Sparrow stands inside Tampa Fresh Foods, her massive felt art installation at Water Street.

This article is part of a paid partnership with the Vinik Family Foundation and Tampa Fresh Foods

Lucy Sparrow is one of the most celebrated artists in the world. Her felt works have transfixed audiences in the UK and New York, and now her will captivate visitors in the city fo Tampa courtesy of the Vinik Family Foundation and the Art Production Fund.

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The artist that goes under the moniker “sew your soul” will debut her “Tampa Fresh Foods” installation on January 20.

This store is stocked with more than 50,000 felt artworks and represents multiple years of planning and crafting.

The end cap of a grocery isle at Tampa Fresh Foods featuring felt are boxes of cookies | Photo by Ysanne Taylor for That's So Tampa
A view from the inside of Tampa Fresh Foods | Photo by Ysanne Taylor for That’s So Tampa

50,000 felt art pieces by Lucy Sparrow coming soon to Tampa

Don’t fret, you won’t have to pay to view this installation, though everything on display will be for sale. The exhibit will open on January 20 and run through February 20, 2022. It will remain open from 11am-8pm daily, and the artist will be onsite for the duration of its time in Water Street Tampa.

This installation features several grocery items inspired by the city of Tampa. This includes Cuban bread and a Cuban sandwich bar, fresh citrus, Florida beer, and guava. The artist also crafted a felt cigar lounge for visitors to browse.

Tampa Fresh Foods is located at 1050 Water Street.

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Tiny prawns, seabass fillets, clams, and more seafood items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow
The seafood department at Tampa Fresh Foods | Photo by Ysanne Taylor for That’s So Tampa

Felt artist Lucy Sparrow is one of the most exciting and original artists working in the UK today. Her practice is quirky yet subversive, luring the audience in with her soft, tactile, colorful felt creations before hitting them hard with her comment on subjects from the demise of the traditional high street to censorship in pornography.

She took the art world by storm in Summer 2014 with the opening of her fully stocked felt Cornershop installation in London’s East End. With queues around the block and wall-to-wall media coverage, the installation was both a commercial and critical success.

Installations sell out across the globe

Warmongery, a controversial sell-out installation exploring the issues around gun control and mental health followed in May 2015 and in October 2015, Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium opened its doors in the back streets of London’s Soho, showcasing the artist’s complete commitment to her artistic vision, recreating an entire sex shop in glorious technicolour felt, including a fully working, animated felt peep show. In 2016, the BBC commissioned Lucy to recreates the Crown Jewels in felt, to celebrate HRH The Queen’s official 90th birthday.

The frozen food and drink aisle at Tampa Fresh Foods is complete with fish sticks, rainbow pops, and soda pop | Photo by Ysanne Taylor for That’s So Tampa

In May 2017, Lucy undertook her first solo show in the US, opening The Convenience Store, a New York bodega stocked with 9,000 felted artworks. Scheduled to run for a month, the store was an instant hit, selling out in just over two weeks to a constant stream of art lovers, most of whom had queued for an hour to visit the store. The bodega dominated the NYC art scene, appearing in coverage everywhere from the New York Times to the massive TV screens on Times Square. December 2017 saw Lucy bringing the felt back to London as part of Selfridges ‘Gift for London’ Christmas campaign, and after a four year hiatus from the capital Lucy returns in 2021 with her latest exhibition – ‘Bourdon Street Chemist‘.

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