Special Friday Artwalk kicks off holiday season

Friday’s Holiday Artwalk will feature many artworks including Dan Roundtree’s “O’Leno State Park” at Elan, 115 N. Main St. (Courtesy of Dan Roundtree)

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:05 p.m.

Eleanor Blair calls it a downtown renaissance. There are more store-front businesses, restaurants and live music. And the presence of the artists, she says, has contributed to this revival.


Holiday Artwalk

What: Special edition of downtown walking tour with more than 20 galleries and venues hosting art receptions and events.
When: 7-10 p.m. Friday
Where: Downtown Gainesville, maps and information at Artwalk headquarters, 104 SE First Ave. For details on participating venues, see Calendar listings for Art and Alternative Art on pages 12-14.
Cost: Free
Info: www.artwalkgainesville.com

Blair, owner of Eleanor Blair Studio, has been involved with Artwalk since the very beginning — as early as the mid ’80s — and she’ll be participating in the special Holiday Artwalk on Friday.

Artwalk Gainesville, which usually is held on the last Friday of every month, offers a special combined edition for the months of November and December, set for 7 to 10 p.m. Friday.

Coordinator Nancy Hyer says this year’s holiday event marks an increase in live artists and live demonstrations. “We focus on galleries and venues but we also bring a lot of activity downtown, such as live painters, an aikido (Japanese martial art) presentation, a hula hooping performance and a sword demonstration,” Hyer says.

An informational booth will be set up at the Lunchbox Cafe, which on the southwestern corner of the Bo Diddley Community Plaza, serves as Artwalk Headquarters.

“It’s really grown from a sidewalk stroll to what it is now,” Blair says. Her studio will offer coffee and tea during Friday’s Artwalk.

Sweetwater Print Cooperative is presenting its annual “Off the Wall” sale, where prints, paintings, photographs and other artworks will be sold directly off the gallery wall.

“This time of year people do start thinking about setting up their homes for the holidays,” Blair says. “Art makes a wonderful gift.”

All of the galleries, restaurants and venues remain open until 10 p.m., Hyer says. Galleries and restaurants participating in Friday’s event also include the Artisans’ Guild Gallery, Starbucks, The Sequential Artists Workshop, Volta Coffee, Tea & Chocolate, Blue Oven Kitchens and Havana’s Downtown Art Collective. Performing live music will be Lisa and John Johnson, Middleground and the Sad Scouts.

“I’ve seen a real push in the idea of shopping local this year,” Blair says. “There’s more of a personal connection and it keeps the money in town. Artwalk is part of that direction.”

For more information on the event, see www.artwalkgainesville.com.

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