As people near the North Beaches Art Walk area, they are lured by the sounds of saxophone, guitar and singing. The starting point could be considered Archway Gallery & Framing, where volunteers provide punch, a quick snack and a map of the venues which support and participate in the Art Walk.
Artists and art lovers will celebrate the sixth anniversary of the Art Walk Oct. 17 with an “Old Masters” theme.
Linda Stewart, coordinator of North Beaches Art Walk and owner of Archway Gallery & Framing, said master artists such as Vincent van Gogh will be celebrated. Participating artists and students in the Fletcher High School humanities class will display works inspired by Old Masters.
The sixth anniversary of this Art Walk also features musician Steven Gallatin and Jacksonville-based dance ensemble 3 Hearts Dance. “Starry Days,” a painting donated by artist Ginifer Brinkley, and a bike painted in a beach theme by Art Walk volunteer Michele Hampton will be raffled.
The displays are pedestrian-friendly, Stewart said, with shops, restaurant and bars located close together. She said four generations visit the Art Walks — babies in strollers, parents, grandparents and sometimes even great-grandparents.
“The Art Walk brings people out,” Stewart said. “It brings them together in a pleasant setting.”
Many of the artists have been participants in the Art Walk for years, displaying and selling their photographs, paintings, jewelry, sculptures and other works.
Artist Terry Selden is a stay-at-home mom who held house parties with friends making jewelry as a hobby. She’s been involved in the Art Walk since its inception.
Mobarick Abdullah III comes to North Beaches Art Walk to get his name out to the arts-loving public. He took a break from art for nine years, but he has exhibited at three art walks lately. His paintings, a combination of spray paint and acrylics, depict everything from landscapes to people. Abdullah said his girlfriend pushed him to return to art by buying a blank canvas and placing it in the middle of the room.
Erika Sdoguren once worked at a store that participated in this Art Walk five years ago. She left, but when she returned, she decided to volunteer for the event. Sdoguren said she enjoys participating in the Northeast Florida arts community and believes that the North Beaches Art Walk improves each year.
Jeremy Hereford, an art student, has been going to Riverside Arts Market during the fall because of the cooler weather. He attended the September North Beaches Art Walk with a friend and said he enjoys the people-watching.
“There are always characters at these things, and the art really gives you a lot to talk about,” Hereford said.
Stewart considers the Art Walk her “brain child.” Six years ago, she hatched the idea with Alice Gartland, who wrote about the arts scene in The Beaches Leader. They tested the idea with people and businesses in the area.
“People got excited,” Stewart said.
Initially, everyone was welcome to display art during the monthly event. After some pieces were considered inappropriate for the general public, the organizers convened a jury of artists and business owners to evaluate candidates and invite them to display their works.
Neptune Beach vocalist Deedee Love, saxophonist Peter Kendrick and singer-guitarist Jimmi Mitchell all regularly perform during the monthly Art Walk.
“It feels good to give back to the community … [I] enjoy the people and the musicians around,” Mitchell said.
Claudia Careres started her career as an artist after losing her job about a year ago. She now views it as a blessing. She belongs to the Jacksonville Gem & Mineral Society, where she learned how to make jewelry. Careres said the art walks have been an amazing opportunity for her.
“I am doing what I love, get to meet amazing people and spend time with my parents,” Careres said.