SF Spring Arts Festival Saturday and Sunday

Come for the art, stay for the jazz!

For two days each year, the SF Spring Arts Festival transforms historic NE 1st Street and the Thomas Center lawn in downtown Gainesville into a cultural destination. Top artists from all over the United States provide sculpture, printmaking, painting, 2-D and 3-D mixed media, jewelry, photography, drawing, watercolor, wood, fiber, and glass works of art.

More than 100,000 visitors are expected to browse the booths at the 43rd annual event. It’s family friendly ¬†with free children’s activities, continuous entertainment on two stages, and international food. 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.

“Come for the art and stay for the jazz,” said Kathryn Lehman, festival coordinator, reflecting on last year’s jazz and blues concert which was well liked by festival goers.

As a result, jazz is a bigger feature of Spring Arts this year and it’s out in force. There’s free jazz and blues in two sessions – noon-2 p.m. and 4-8:30 p.m. – Saturday on the garden stage at the Thomas Center.

The early afternoon jazz session features SF faculty and students. The Jazz Big Band plays big band jazz, the Jazz Combo plays traditional jazz, the Rhythm & Blues Band plays Motown classics, and the Faculty Jazz Octet plays true jazz.

After an interval that features a different flavor of music, jazz fills the program for the rest of the day. At 4 p.m. the group named Caravan plays “jazz for the ages.” At 5:30 p.m. Gypsy Tears plays hot gypsy swing. And headlining the evening at 7:30 p.m. are Gosia & Ali playing Latin jazz.

Sharing the cultural destination spotlight with Spring Arts is the SF Teaching Zoo. Its weekend Party for the Planet will celebrate Earth Day with games and activities linked to conservation of the planet, plus animal-related education. It’s a fun-filled place for families to enjoy on the SF campus in northwest Gainesville.

This year’s festival poster, a delightful mixed media image of Paynes Prairie by local artist Kana Handel, will be on sale at the event for $15. It is also available by phone, call 352.395.5355, or email kathryn.lehman@sfcollege.edu. Handel’s art is exhibited free until April 13 in the President’s Lobby of the Robertson Administration Building, SF Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83rd St., Gainesville. Visit kanasarts.com.

For more information email kathryn.lehman@sfcollege.edu, call 352.395.5355 (office), 352.214.8178 (cell), or visit www.springartsfestival.com. Be a Facebook fan: Santa Fe Spring Arts and Jazz & Blues Festival. SF Spring Arts is part of Gainesville’s first Primavera Festival, a community effort to build new event audiences and put Gainesville on the cultural destination map.