The SF Spring Arts Festival, April 10-11, is garnishing its 41st birthday celebration with a twist of jazz. The Santa Fe Jazz Big Band, Santa Fe Jazz Combo, Santa Fe Rhythm & Blues Band, The Tazers, 6th Street Rhythm & Blues Review, and GrüvTherapy will perform in a free jazz and blues festival on the Thomas Center lawn 3-8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 10.
“It’s a great setting,” said Mike Hutley, SF associate registrar who pitched the idea. “We’ll showcase bands from Santa Fe’s Fine Arts Music Department, which has some great jazz programs, as well as several local bands with ties to SF faculty and staff.”
Hutley said this is great timing because Gainesville currently has no venue for smooth jazz bands like his (GrüvTherapy). “There used to be a jazz festival in November at the Downtown Plaza, but it stopped.”
There’s lots of festival activity at the Thomas Center, where young artists sell their work and families make art projects at the Kids’ Art Jungle.
Another Spring Arts “first” this year is a direct tie-in to the SF Teaching Zoo. The zoo will be open festival weekend so folks can visit two family-oriented events in Gainesville – an art festival for excitement and a kid friendly zoo for enchantment.
This year’s festival poster features a painting by Angela Hoppe. It will be unveiled 2:30 p.m. Monday, March 29 in the President’s Lobby of the Robertson Administration Building on Santa Fe’s Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83rd St., Gainesville. Hoppe will be at the unveiling ceremony to autograph posters.
More than 120,000 visitors are expected to view 215 artists’ booths lining historic NE 1st Street in downtown Gainesville. The juried art show includes jewelry, sculpture, fiber arts, digital and traditional photography, mixed media, oil and watercolor paintings, printmaking, graphics and digital art. There’s continuous entertainment on two stages, both Saturday and Sunday.
“Santa Fe Spring Arts is a celebration of Gainesville’s cultural richness and shows who we are as a community,” said Kathryn Lehman, festival coordinator.
The festival takes place April 10-11 on historic NE 1st Street and the lawn of the Thomas Center in downtown Gainesville. Hours are 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday, rain or shine. Admission is free.
Spring Arts was voted Florida’s best arts and crafts festival by readers of Florida Monthly magazine in 2008 and has been recognized as one of the top 20 events by the Southeast Tourism Society.