Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Beaches Makes Bid as Arts Destination

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Beaches Makes Bid as Arts Destination

Article excerpt

Byline: Tamara McClaran

When it comes to edgy, vibrant art and creative music events, Jacksonville's Five Points or Springfield areas are often destinations of choice. However, a free event Saturday may help lay the groundwork for the Beaches to develop an underground arts scene.

The inaugural Jax Beach Art Celebration is Saturday at the Seawalk Hotel, 117 First Ave. N., Jacksonville Beach. The event will showcase works from about a dozen young independent Northeast Florida artists and include musical performances from singer/songwriter Christina Wagner and DJ Kevin M.

"I've never really been to an art show like this at the Beach," Wagner said. "I'm excited to be a part of it and would like to see this event emerge as a new trend for the Beaches."

Wagner, who performs at many of these events in town, plays classical guitar and has been performing mostly original music for about four years. Her deep vocals and Spanish-style guitar provide a haunting mix. Wagner, who was born and raised in a Costa Rican household, has a sound meshing Latin influences with an alternative country style. Her original compositions are emotional and based on human experience.

"It's a great thrill when you're performing and you find out other people are touched by your music," Wagner said.

The desire to promote the area's up-and-coming arts community inspired musician Joe Van Dyke and designer Patrick Carter to put together the event. Van Dyke and Carter, who are both in their mid-20s, have known each other since they were students at Fletcher High School. Both have experienced several artistic events in town and say the time is long overdue for a cutting-edge art show offering a unique social scene at the Beach.

"When people think of the Beach, they think of people drinking at Bukkets," Carter said. "There's more to this community than that. …

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