Spring Arts Festival April 2-3, 2016

47th annual Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival is 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, April 3, 2016, on Northeast First Street, the grounds of the Thomas Center and the Bo Diddley Community Plaza in downtown Gainesville. The free festival features over 200 fine artists and craftspeople who will be selling their wares, a special area for youth artists, the Art Jungle children’s activity area, live music and entertainment including a Saturday evening concert, and food vendors who donate some of their proceeds to local nonprofit organizations.

Gainesville painter and art teacher Annie Whittaker Pais created “Egret,” this year’s festival image that depicts a white bird in flight above a watery Florida landscape. The image is featured on shirts, bags and keepsake posters that will be sold at the festival’s main information booth.

A longstanding Gainesville tradition that heralds the arrival of spring, the festival attracts artists from around the country. “Santa Fe Spring Arts has grown and prospered because of the synergy of artists and visitors,” said Kathryn Lehman, who has organized the festival for a number of years. “These incredible relationships bring everyone—artists and visitors—back year after year. Our artists tell us we have one of the most sophisticated audiences in the country and our visitors—who travel from as far away as Indiana, New York, and Virginia—tell us that they love our artists, our beautiful venue, and our city.”

Fine arts and crafts booths will line Northeast First Street amid stately homes in downtown Gainesville’s historic district. Special inspiration for budding young artists can be found in the youth area on the grounds of the Thomas Center, where young people from throughout the community offer their art for sale.

“I’ve been in the Spring Arts Festival for seven years,” said youth artist Carina Dybevick. “Every year, I get excited to participate and see the up-and-coming youth artists. These booths have some of the most incredible, expressive, and affordable art in the entire festival.”

Saturday night’s free concert on the lawn of the Thomas Center will start at 5 p.m. Elio Piedra’s group, EP Jazz Project, will open the concert with selections of smooth jazz and Latin jazz. The headliners, GrüvTherapy, will perform a mix of jazz, 1970s fusion, soul, and funk.

To commemorate SF College’s 50th anniversary in 2016, a special Fifty Years to First community celebration is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. Speakers will include SF College President Jackson Sasser, the mayor of Gainesville, the president of the SF College Student Body, and the president of the SF Alumni & Friends Association. The Alumni & Friends will be giving t-shirts to the first 100 people who sign up to join them. The Fifty Years to First campaign highlights 50 special SF alumni and friends during the yearlong anniversary observance.

The Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival is presented by the Santa Fe College Development Office and the Santa Fe College Foundation. The Festival is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and visitgainesville.com, a Tourist Development Tax Grant from the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners in conjunction with the Alachua County Tourist Development Council.

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