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Melvin and Burks Galleries


2018-2019 Gallery Schedule

Iceland and Ireland Through Students’ Eyes: Photography From The 2018 Study Abroad Trip

August 31 to September 7
During the month of May, Florida Southern students embarked on a study abroad trip to Iceland and Ireland. The photographs in this show, taken by students enrolled in advanced and beginning digital photography courses taught by trip leaders Eric Blackmore and Sam Romero, document their travels and unique cultural encounters. The selected images, including submissions by the faculty themselves, were then edited, refined, and printed by the students for this fascinating exhibition.

Opening Reception:
Friday, August 31 at 7:00 PM

Sad Tropics

September 21 to November 2
A site-specific multimedia installation and our first collaborative exhibition with the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College, Sad Tropics will be produced at and exclusively for the Melvin and Burks Galleries on campus by New Orleans artists and Florida natives Cristina Molina and Jonathan Traviesa. Inspired by Claude Levi-Strauss’ book title Tristes Tropiques, this exhibition focuses on the psychological landscape of paradise, the tropics, and the mythology of Florida. Through photographic murals, videos, and a themed installation at the Polk Museum gift shop, the artists will celebrate and critique the eccentricities of their Floridian inspiration.

Opening Reception:
Friday, September 21 at 7:00 PM

The Annual All-Student Exhibition

November 16 to December 7
Join us for a celebration of current work created by Florida Southern College art majors. This exhibition showcases the exceptional skills of our talented freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in all media. The breadth of the Department of Art and Art History’s instruction is emphasized as we feature works in ceramics, painting, digital illustration, printmaking, and sculpture. The prestigious Florida Art Award is presented to a junior studio art major at the opening reception.

Opening Reception:
Friday, November 16 at 7:00 PM

John Briggs: Casting For The Unkown

January 18 to February 22, 2019
This spring, we invite you to delve into the mysterious coastal landscapes of John Briggs. Simultaneously realistic and uncanny, familiar and eerie, and inhabited by inexplicably nude fishermen casting nets in open water, the artist’s latest series invites viewers to question the simplicity of the paintings before their eyes. What exactly is going on here? How are the paintings connected? Is there a symbolic story underlying these works? Finding the deeper meaning – if there is one – is just the start of the intrigue.

Opening Reception:
Friday, January 18 at 7:00 PM

Senior Graphic Design Thesis Exhibition

March 15 to 29, 2019
Each year, Florida Southern’s senior graphic design students are challenged to create a fictitious company; they are then responsible for creating its print and digital materials, products, and storefront displays in the Melvin Gallery as part of their theses. At times humorous, clever, and surprising, the ideas presented by our students still maintain the professionalism needed to enter graphic design field. Awards are presented at the opening reception to our top three talented students.

Opening Reception:
Friday, March 15 at 7:00 PM

Studio Art Senior Thesis Exhibition

April 5 to 26, 2019
Our final student exhibition showcases artwork created by Florida Southern’s own senior studio art students. Each senior explores a unique central idea over the course of a year and creates a thematic body of work that conveys the technical and experiential nature of artistic expression and creation. The results of their refreshingly individual approaches to studio art production are celebrated at the opening reception, culminating with the presentation of the John R. Reuter Award.

Opening Reception:
Friday, April 5 at 7:00 PM

Annual Lakeland Art Guild Exhibition

May 10 to June 7, 2019
For over thirty years, the Melvin and Burks Galleries have partnered with the Lakeland Art Guild to host their annual spring exhibition. Founded in 1952, the Lakeland Art Guild is the oldest local community arts organization in Polk County. We are pleased to exhibit works created by local artists, both established and emerging, and to bring together the members of our community to recognize our homegrown talent. Join us at the opening for the announcement of awards given by select judges.

Opening Reception:
Friday, May 10 at 6:00 PM


The Melvin and Burks Galleries are the College’s academic art galleries, dedicated to supporting learning at Florida Southern College by providing opportunities for students and the public to think critically about work by internationally-recognized artists of both the past and the present.

It is the mission of the Galleries to foster stimulating experiences and dialogues about art that will inspire students not only to study art and its history but also to find creative inspiration for their own studio and graphic design work.

Operated by Florida Southern College’s Department of Art and Art History, the Melvin and Burks Galleries bring a wide array of  outstanding shows to Lakeland, exhibiting the work of established and visiting artists throughout the year as well as showcases of student work.

The Galleries are free and open to the general public. All are encouraged to attend gallery openings, artist talks, and related events.

Gallery Hours

Monday - Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
(when the College is in session.)


There is no admission charge for Melvin & Burks Galleries events. For more information, call 863.680.4743.


Contact Information

Dr. H. Alexander Rich
Director of Galleries and Exhibitions

Diane Baires
Gallery Curator

association of academic museums and galleries