Something’s New and Hot – Jazz – at the 41st SF Spring Arts Festival

Jazz reigns in a free jazz and blues concert at the 41st Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival. “Jazz is king,” wrote Cole Porter in one of his songs, and the SF Big Band, SF Jazz Combo, SF Rhythm & Blues Band, and SF Faculty Jazz Septet are out to prove him right. Joined by local bands The Tazers, 6th Street Rhythm & Blues Review, and GrüvTherapy they will perform on the Thomas Center lawn 3-8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 10 — day one of the two-day arts festival.

The SF Big Band, Jazz Combo, R & B Band and Faculty Jazz Septet prove that there’s a lot of interest in jazz at Santa Fe. “Three years ago I was asked to direct the jazz combo, and within a week we had enough students to form a big band,” said music professor Steve Bingham. The performance also features several vocalists, some of whom double on band instruments.

While Spring Arts has a new feature this year it continues to be, at age 41, the longest running arts festival in North Central Florida, with more than 120,000 visitors expected. Two hundred and fifteen artists’ booths line 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.

This year’s festival poster features an image by Angela Hoppe, a local painter who also teaches art in Santa Fe’s Community Education program. There’s continuous entertainment on two stages, Saturday and Sunday. Young artists sell their work and families make art projects at the Kids’ Art Jungle on the Thomas Center lawn. The historic Thomas Center was an early campus of Santa Fe Junior College and site of the earliest Spring Arts Festivals.

The SF Teaching Zoo is open during the festival so families can plan a dual destination for a fun filled Gainesville weekend. Enjoy the arts at the festival and then catch the Party for the Planet at the zoo in honor of Earth Day. The SF Teaching Zoo is on the Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83rd Street, Gainesville.

Spring Arts was recently voted Florida’s best arts and crafts festival by readers of Florida Monthly magazine and has been named a top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society.

The festival takes place April 10-11 on NE 1st Street and on the lawn of the Thomas Center, 302 NE 6th Avenue, 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.

For more arts festival information call 352.395.5355 or e-mail kathryn.lehman@sfcollege.edu. For jazz fest information call 352.395.4177 or e-mail michael.hutley@sfcollege.edu. For a list of participating artists and the performance schedule visit www.sfcollege.edu/springarts.