Get ready for arts fest

Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 2:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 2:08 p.m.

Springtime weather must be on the way because time is near for the much-anticipated 44th annual Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival, which, this year, will be sporting an international flavor.



What: The 44th annual Santa Fe College Springs Arts Festival.
When: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. April 6 and noon-5:30 p.m. April 7; Latin music concert, 5:30-8:30 p.m. April 6.
Where: Along NE 1st Street in historic downtown Gainesville and the Thomas Center, 302 NE 6th Ave.
Information: Call 352-395-5355.

The festival, which draws more than 110,000 visitors each year, will take place from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. April 6 and noon-5:30 p.m. April 7 — rain or shine — along NE 1st Street in historic downtown Gainesville. There also will be entertainment throughout the weekend, beginning at 9:30 a.m. on April 6 and noon on April 7 on the lawn of the Thomas Center at 302 NE 6th Ave. Pets are not allowed at the festival, except for service animals.

There will be activities for the children and lots of food to purchase, such as, funnel cakes, ice cream, smoothies, sodas, pizza and hamburgers.

Kathryn Lehman, festival director and coordinator of cultural programs at SF College, said the festival will feature 220 artists and craftsmen selected from a pool of more than 500 that applied.

Artwork on display will include jewelry, sculptures, ceramics, fiber arts, glass, wood, digital and traditional photography, mixed media, oil and watercolor paintings, print making, graphics and digital art. Lehman said $20,000 in prizes will be awarded to the artists.

“The artists are very enthusiastic,” Lehman said.

To kick off the festival will be a tribute to the late Lennie Kesl, a Gainesville artist and SF College professor, during an evening of jazz to be held at 7 p.m. April 4 at the Fine Arts Hall at the SF College northwest campus at 3000 NW 83rd St.

“It will be a lot of fun,” said Lehman, adding that the tribute will include the unveiling of this year’s festival poster, which pays homage to Kesl.

This year’s evening concert will feature Tropix, a Latin fusion band featuring Puerto Rican musicians whose repertoire includes the Latin sounds of merengue, salsa, cumbia, bachata, bolero and cha-cha. The free concert will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. April 6, also at the Thomas Center. Gilberto de Paz, leader of the band, also is the host of “Viernes Social,” a weekly radio show that airs from 8-10 p.m. Fridays on WUFT FM 89.1. Opening for Tropix will be Ramos Pinta, a Latin band that plays a mixture of traditional Latin with some rock influence.

Lehman said the festival is all about inspiring creativity.

“Inspiration to create whether they (festival-goers) buy art or see it,” Lehman said. “Living with original artwork inspires us to be creative and to try something new. That’s what the festival is all about.”

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