It’s difficult to write about any one event that’s “the best” during the year in Gainesville, but the Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival certainly rates in the top two or three! Community support has always been strong for the event, and over the past years, local, regional and nationally-known artists have learned that this is one of the best shows in the country. Plan to spend at least one day, maybe both, at the event!
From The Santa Fe College Spring Arts website:
Set amid picturesque turn-of-the-century homes in the Northeast Gainesville Historic District, the 46th annual Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival on Sat.-Sun., April 11-12, offers fun and inspiration for the whole family, including the work of fine artists from throughout the country; the Art Jungle where children can create art; an area where young people can sell their artwork; dancers and musicians performing on two stages; a variety of food concessions; and a Saturday evening concert.
“Santa Fe College has been the primary sponsor of the Spring Arts Festival since the festival began,” explained Cultural Affairs Coordinator Kathryn Lehman, who organizes the event. “Back in 1969, faculty and staff realized there was no fine arts festival in Florida north of Winter Park, so they created Spring Arts. That first year, anyone with a table and anything that could possibly be called art could sell their work.”
Over the years, the festival evolved into what is now an iconic community event—Lehman calls it “Gainesville’s Easter parade”—with artists from all over the country competing for entry and the chance to win a share of over $20,000 in prizes.
“Each year brings new artists, new discoveries and new inspirations,” Lehman explained. “Santa Fe Spring Arts is a chance for people to experience and be inspired by high-quality fine art pieces and by the artists who create them. Because the festival has a significant positive economic impact on the community, it demonstrates how the arts are an economic asset and an indicator of community vibrancy.”
The Spring Arts Festival is organized and supported by Santa Fe College 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 Visit Gainesville, a Tourist Development Tax Grant from the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners in conjunction with the Alachua County Tourist Development Council; the Village Retirement Community; Pomodoro Café; the festival’s Purchase Award sponsors; and the Santa Fe Fine Arts Patrons.