Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival: Art & Jazz, Green & Blues

Two days of fun, community and beauty

The Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival, North Central Florida’s longest running arts festival, is a juried show with more than $20,000 in awards and purchase awards. Top artists from all over the United States present sculpture, printmaking, painting, 2-D and 3-D mixed media, jewelry, photography, drawing, watercolor, wood, fiber, and glass. It’s family friendly too, with free children’s activities, continuous entertainment on two stages, and international food.

For two days each year, SF Spring Arts transforms historic NE 1st Street and the lawn of the Thomas Center in downtown Gainesville into a cultural destination. Hours are 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14 and noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday, April 15 rain or shine. Admission is free.

This year SF Spring Arts is going “green and blues.” Green represents the festival’s undertaking to reduce its use of paper and postage and to repurpose excess materials.

“We’ve cut down our use of paper and mailing by more than 95 percent because we no longer mail letters to artists or have artists send us slides,” said Kathryn Lehman, festival coordinator. “It’s all done in ‘the cloud’ and saves time, money and resources.”

Lehman continued: “We’re encouraging vendors to share leftover food with those who are less fortunate, we’ve increased the number of festival recycling bins, and all our name tags are biodegradable.”

Blues represents, of course, music. There’s free jazz and blues on the Thomas Center’s garden stage Saturday, beginning in the afternoon and continuing until 8:30 p.m. The jazz tradition began last year and is returning by popular demand.

This year the festival poster, always a collector’s item, features a mixed media image by local artist Kana Handel, whose fanciful artwork delights the imagination. The poster unveiling is 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 27 in the President’s Lobby of the Robertson Administration Building on Santa Fe’s Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83rd St., Gainesville. Handel’s art will be displayed there March 20-April 13. See her paintings at kanasarts.com.

The public is invited to the unveiling and Handel will be there to autograph posters, which will be available for $10. Thereafter they will cost $15. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

More “green” is present on festival weekend when the SF Teaching Zoo offers games and activities linked to conservation of the planet, plus animal-related education. It’s another fun-filled destination for families.

Lehman said she expects more than 100,000 visitors to SF Spring Arts. The award winning event is also part of Gainesville’s first Primavera Festival, a community effort to build new event audiences and put Gainesville on the cultural destination map.

For more information email kathryn.lehman@sfcollege.edu, call 352.395.5355 (office) or 352.214.8178 (cell). Visit www.springartsfestival.com. Be a Facebook fan: Santa Fe Spring Arts and Jazz & Blues Festival.