Tampa Fresh Foods: hold the fresh, add the felt


Ava Satterfield

Located at 1050 Water Street, Tampa Fresh Foods is British artist Lucy Sparrow’s latest exhibition. The grocery store is made entirely of handmade felt art pieces, all which are for sale. The installation is temporary and will stay open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Feb. 20.

Water Street has a new grocery store: Tampa Fresh Foods. Except the food isn’t fresh. It’s inedible. The store is British artist Lucy Sparrow’s exhibition made entirely of felt. Customers can add to their art collection rather than fill their pantry with handmade, autographed felt art for sale- from Oreos to ketchup.

The monthlong installation will remain open through Feb. 20, and all the felt pieces are for sale. The exhibit is sponsored by the Vinik Family Foundation and the Art Production Fund. Sparrow created 50,000 felt pieces for Tampa Fresh Foods, which took her two years to make. She explained why she uses felt for her art.

“It [felt] is a very easy fabric to work with; it comes in all bright colors,” Sparrow said. 

The exhibit is set up like a supermarket with aisles designated to certain products. The snack section has incredibly realistic felt versions of name brand items: Nutter Butter, Teddy Grahams, Ritz, Lays and Pringles. All the items are unbelievably detailed; the felt Cheerios box looks like an exact replica of a real Cheerios box.

Sparrow has created other felt exhibitions around the world; her art has been displayed in London, New York, Beijing, Vancouver and Los Angeles. She said she has enjoyed her time in Tampa so far.   

“Everyone is very friendly; the food is really good and I’m waiting for the sun to come out!” Sparrow said.

Plant students were excited to visit the exhibit. Emma Jordan, a junior, said she had a good time and was impressed with Sparrow’s work.

“I thought it was super cool,” Jordan said. “I bought a pair of chopsticks and a piece of sushi to go with it. I also got a cute tote bag! The artist was there and was talking to a bunch of people around the exhibit. It was super cool that she made all of it herself.” 

Tampa Fresh Foods is located at 1050 Water Street and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Feb 20. Sparrow’s art is also for sale on her website: