Walk the walk, stroll the GAWK

Still Life in G, a gallery in Union Street Station, is at the heart of downtown's Gainesville Art Walk next weekend.

|GERARD BENCEN/Special to The Sun
Published: Friday, January 23, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 11:00 p.m.
The much-anticipated Gainesville Art Walk, or GAWK, begins next Friday, Jan. 30.
From 7 to 9 p.m., the public is invited to traverse a circuit of galleries and alternative art spaces in downtown Gainesville. Imagine - you get to combine art and exercise!
And, for once, parking will not be a problem, as the parking garage at 220 SE 2nd Ave. is offering free parking during the event, courtesy of McGurn Investment Company. Parking slips can be validated at the Still Life in G gallery in Union Street Station.
But aside from free parking, why stroll the art walk?
Well, the incredible variety of art, for starters.
Nine art venues are participating: Still Life in G, Harold's Frame Shop and Gallery, the Hippodrome Gallery, the Sweetwater Print Cooperative Gallery, Tench Artist Studios, Eleanor Blair Studio and Gallery, Terra Nova Catering and Gallery, Artworks and Wild Iris Books.
Another reason might be the entertainment and refreshments several galleries plan to offer. And if the first GAWK is a success, organizers plan to make it a monthly event with lots to offer, including contests and prizes.
Still Life in G owner Gerard Bencen, who spearheaded GAWK, is really just giving new life to an old idea; after all, Gainesville used to have an art walk, and today they are popular throughout the country.
"Gainesville's population doesn't use its downtown nearly enough," says Bencen. "This seems like a perfect opportunity to bring people out for an evening of art and culture."
GAWK's future may hinge on the success of this first night. Other art walks have come and gone in Gainesville, limited only by a lack of public enthusiasm and, perhaps, publicity. So show your support on Jan. 30. The reward may be bigger and better GAWK events in coming months.
In conjunction with GAWK, Still Life in G is premiering a new exhibition of David Crown's work. Crown, a retired physician, consummate artist and director of the International Mezzotint Society, is a regular participant in the Gainesville art scene. This exhibition will include his prints, paintings and even sculpture through February.
Bencen speculates that other galleries also will coordinate openings with the monthly GAWKs, keeping the art fresh.
The Gainesville Art Walk is free, and walkers can begin the walk at any venue. Fliers with maps will be available at all locations.
  • Congratulations to Ron Haase, whose mixed-media piece "In My Mind's Eye" won Best in Show in the Annual Members' Show of the Gainesville Fine Arts Association now at Santa Fe Community College's President's Gallery. The exhibition was juried by Kenneth Kerslake, professor emeritus of art at the University of Florida.
    Kerslake, by the way, will exhibit his own work at the Melrose Bay Gallery in February.
  • The Thomas Center galleries are hosting the Alachua County Elementary Schools exhibition through Feb. 8 in the Mezzanine Gallery. More than 60 works of art created by local art students in a variety of media are exhibited.
  • "Muddauber Musings" is February's featured exhibit at the Gainesville Artisans Guild Gallery, showcasing the animated clay sculpture of Penny Cutler and Mary Cutler Carris. An opening reception is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 1.
  • "Art to Warm Your Heart" is a new exhibit by the Gainesville Fine Arts Association at Trinity United Methodist Church. Located on the second floor of the Education Building at 4000 NW 53rd Ave., this exhibition will be on view through March. The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Sunday.
    Write to Michelle Benatti at mbenatti@bellsouth.net.
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