SF unveils Spring Arts Festival poster March 22

Santa Fe College will officially unveil the 2016 Spring Arts Festival poster, created by Gainesville’s Annie Whittaker Pais, at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, in the President’s Lobby at the Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83 Street, Gainesville. Everyone is invited to attend this free ceremony, hear brief talks by festival administrators and the artist, and enjoy light refreshments.

Pais will attend the ceremony and sign posters for people who want to purchase them before the festival, which takes place the weekend of April 2-3, 2016. Additional artwork by Pais and some of her students will be on display in the President’s Lobby from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, March 21-April 11, 2016.

A painter and art teacher, Pais has lived in Gainesville since the 1980s. “I had the great good fortune to be raised by two artist parents who saw the entire world through a cultural lens, she says.

“My parents designed and built our home just outside New York City with an art studio that became my world and a lifeline during difficult times. They shared their passions and allowed me the freedom to wander our Connecticut woods and the vast museums, galleries and diverse neighborhoods of the great city.”

As a young teen, Pais loved to visit the United Nations where she listened to what she calls “the music of language” while imagining exotic places. When her father died and she moved with her mother to Washington, D.C., she explored the cultural amenities of our nation’s capital and helped with education conferences that her mother organized at the White House. Later, she attended boarding school “in the wilds of Maine” on a 3000-acre campus with a working farm.

Pais was a self-taught artist until 1982, when ”after moving to Florida and while having two young children and an infant at home”she enrolled in art classes at Santa Fe College.

“The mentoring, support and camaraderie I discovered changed my life, “Pais says about her time at SF. “I honor my professors Sue Jester, Norman Jensen, Anne Lisca, John Tilton, Cathy Turner, Lennie Kesl, Nan Ward and then-President Alan Robertson and his wife, Mary, for welcoming me, recognizing my abilities, allowing me the space to be curious and validating my creative discoveries. They fueled my passion for making art and I credit each of them for waking me up to my own personal and professional potential.”

Pais continues to paint and teach her own studio method in Gainesville and at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. At the urging of her students, she is writing a memoir about her artistic methods and the power of a life lived with passion and creativity.

To arrange an interview with Pais or for more information about the SF College Spring Arts Festival, call Raul Villarreal at 352-395-5355.