What a time to be young person. While novelty is a conventional part of growing up, the world that today’s youth are tasked with navigating is truly without precedent. As humanity limps through an open-ended global pandemic and a dire economic fallout, all while reckoning with this country’s long history of racial injustice, young people have, largely, been forced to the frontlines, obliged to rectify the mistakes–the negligence, the failures–of previous generations.

Add climate change, unabated income inequality, and the potential collapse of Western Democracy to the laundry list of ailments that they’ll need to remedy. Meanwhile, to lead them through this formative period of their lives, the 2020 presidential election offers them a choice between two subtuagenarians.

What’s a young person to make of all this?

A group show featuring the works of five emerging local artists provides an aesthetically interesting window into that question. Curated by artist and arts educator Dustin Harewood, the “Fantastic Five”–made up of artists Victor Ali, Alison Fernandez, Katrina Fernandez, Connor Poovey, and Kenny Wilson–will exhibit a diverse and powerful commentary, each through their own unique lens. Broaching a range of issues, both interior (socio-emotional struggles, harmful racial stereotypes) and exterior (environmental degradation, our increasingly fraught relationship with technology), the works on display in the “Fantastic Five”– a collection of drawing, painting, printmaking, assemblage, and mixed media pieces–are a distinctive look at a world turned upside down; or perhaps, in the eyes of these artists, right side up.

Taken as a whole, the show highlights a talented and dedicated group of artists with limitless potential. Harewood–the show’s curator–calls the work “new, fresh, and fun.”

“These are five talented creatives who in my opinion are flying below the radar here in Jacksonville. They are serious young artists who deserve to be seen,” says Harewood, who, aside from being one of the area’s most well-known and well-loved artists, is one the Jax’s most influential.

“Is going to college necessary for becoming a successful artist? Absolutely not, but there is something to be said for those who dedicate and invest four plus years of money into studying and studio practice–“for those who take their talent seriously, invest and pay the price,” he says of the group–all of whom are recent graduates of art programs at Northeast Florida universities.

The “Fantastic Five” opens at the newly renovated Burrito Gallery at 21 W Adams St. (downtown Jax) on Tuesday, Sep. 8. The works, as well as the perspectives of these young creatives, are certainly worth your time.