Artists' Work Stars in Art after Dark

Article excerpt

Liz Burns isn't sure she considers herself an emerging artist -- "evolving," she quipped, might be a better term.

But Burns won't object to the designation "emerging" this week, because it means she's one of 12 artists selected to participate in Art After Dark.

The event, which takes place Friday at the Florida Theatre, is part party, part art show. And the show, sponsored by the Friends of the Florida Theatre, is designed to show off the work of "our community's undiscovered visual artists," said Jeanne Goshen, Art After Dark's chairwoman.

Burns, 35, who moved to Jacksonville in 1998 because South Florida was getting too crowded, has been fairly active since she's been here.

She worked on several projects for the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville's annual CANVAS program -- an arts-oriented summer employment program for youth -- including helping create a mural at Five Points and supervising the painting of city trash barrels at Hemming Plaza. She's taught at the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art's City Kids Art Factory in Durkeeville. And she designed and painted the logo for Fuel, a new Five Points coffee house, which has been exhibiting some of her work.

But if Burns doesn't exactly fit the definition of emerging artist, 24-year-old Madeline Peck said "that's a very fair way to describe me."

Peck, who moved here from Massachusetts a year ago, has been working at Reddi-Arts to pay the bills. But her art is what matters most to her, said Peck, who works in oil on canvas and is fascinated by "sexually ambiguous" images. "I adore drag queens," she said.

Peck said she hopes to "generate some buzz" about her work through Art After Dark. But equally important, she said, will be the chance to connect with other artists. "I'm psyched to see what the other artists are doing," she said.

And from what she has heard, she said, Art After Dark "sounds like a really cool" event.

That's a perception shared by Burns. "It seems to be a pretty casual and friendly event and the Florida Theatre is great," she said.

Another artist who has heard good things about Art After Dark is Ellen Ehrhardt, a 42-year-old mother of two who began painting seriously about five years ago. "I'm looking for a really interesting evening," said Ehrhardt. …