Where the Artists Are

For those who truly want to understand the artistic process, staring at a canvas on a gallery wall just won't do. Outdoor art festivals? Well, one can actually meet some artists, but their works always look so out of context in those little white tents. If you'd rather hang out with creative folks in their natural habitat, you need something like the Third Avenue Art District's Art Walk in Fort Lauderdale, in which seven artists and architectural designer Margi Glavovic Nothard invite the public into their studios to see their work, their workspaces, and the tools of their various trades.

The art district includes a friendly group of artists who work in individual studios and occasionally chat over coffee or lunch. "All we do is talk of art," says printmaker Rosanna Saccoccio. "We're not competitive. We all do very different work."

Saccoccio bought a two-story building for her studio 27 years ago. Since 1995, the seven others have bought, built, or rented space in the area.

Among them are Francie Bishop Good, who uses her airy studio to create computer-manipulated photography printed on aluminum. Expressionist acrylic paintings hang in Mary Lou Siefker's studio, while Madeline Denaro displays suspended beeswax sculptures, mixed-media paintings, and drawings in charcoal and ink. Others in the district are portrait painter Wilma Bulkin Siegel, neon sculptor Tobey Archer, and sculptor and painter Tin Ly.

Nothard says she likes an urban environment and being around other creative people. "They're constantly exploring and constantly engaging in the world," she says.

In addition to resident artists, several other creative talents are invited to participate in the event. "It's sort of like a festival evening where people can see really good art," Saccoccio says. "They really get to see the underlying structure -- how the artists think and a lot of things that motivate them."

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Patti Roth