SHERIDAN – Having admittedly “given up” to an artistic career in college, Sheridan’s Polly Burge is now throwing herself into an artist and painter.
Burge, 30, and Verdello Olive Oils and Fine Foods hosted an open reception Thursday showcasing his work at the final 3rd Thursday Street Festival of the 2021 season.
“We have been talking about doing something like this for a while,” said Lindsey Vredenburg, general manager of Verdello. “I thought (a 3rd Thursday) would be a great time to do it.
“The 3rd Thursdays were generally good for us, but it’s a great participation,” she added.
Burge said she also appreciated the opportunity to show her work in downtown Verdello.
“I love events like these,” said Burge, a native of Lynchburg, Va. “It’s less formal. … And I support a community business that supports me.
For Burge, the reception was another opportunity to show off his work, with large and small oil paintings emphasizing the outdoors and landscapes. However, she admits that she wasn’t always sure she was going to continue her craft.
“It’s my whole life,” she said of her love of art. “I started (at North Carolina State University) as an art studio student. Then I chickened out. “
Concerned about whether she could make a living as an artist, Burge opted for international studies and eventually Spanish.
After college in 2012, Burge found herself working in the shadow of the Bighorn Mountains as a seasonal employee at the Eatons’ Ranch, riding and training horses.
Three years later, she decided to call Sheridan her full-time home.
To help make ends meet, Burge found herself doing pet portraits. In October 2016, she sold her first work of art and then had her first art exhibition in the summer of 2017.
The idea of being an artist had returned.
“I totally am,” said Burge, adding that she had just rented her first studio apartment in the Columbus Building on North Scott Street in Sheridan.
Burge, a board member for SAGE Community Arts, said she hopes to develop the space not only as a workplace, but also as a gallery.
“My five-year plan is to have my own gallery,” she added. “Then, finally, I want to build my own studio and gallery. It’s more like my 10-15 year plan.
While working toward her bigger goals, Burge said she will continue to focus on painting scenes of wild animals and the outdoors, including works featuring the Bighorn Mountains. She also currently creates and sells postcards and stationery designs.