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Annual SF College Spring Arts Festival salutes one of its own
Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:23 p.m.
More than 130,000 people are expected to gather downtown Gainesville this weekend to experience one of the city's largest events of art and culture.
44th Annual Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival
What: Two-day downtown event features 200 artists, entertainment, food and more
When: 9 a.m.-5 :30 p.m. Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday; latin music concert at the thomas Center runs 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Northeast First Street, downtown; and the thomas Center, 302 Ne Sixth St.
The 44th Annual Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival on Saturday and Sunday will feature more than 200 artists specializing in ceramics, jewelry, photography and other mediums who will travel from around the country to sell and display artworks.
Ummarid Eitharong, a mixed-media artist from Orlando, plans to travel to Gainesville for the festival. Eitharong says he thinks the organization of the event helps make it successful.
“I've been doing shows for about 40 years,” he says. “[The] Spring Arts Festival has a nice group of people running it.”
The festival, set along Northeast First Street from Northeast Second Avenue to Northeast Eighth Avenue, runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. The event is free and open to the public, and a variety of entertainment is planned throughout on two stages including a Garden Stage at the Thomas Center.
Kathryn Lehman, festival director and coordinator of cultural programs at Santa Fe College, says one focus of the festival will be to honor Gainesville artist Lenny Kesl, who died in November at age 86.
A musical tribute to Kesl — and the unveiling of the 2013 SF Spring Arts Festival poster, featuring Kesl's art — is planned tonight at the Santa Fe Fine Arts Hall. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the unveiling planned at 6:30 p.m. and the concert, called “Hello World” after a favorite phrase of Kesl's, starting at 7 p.m. (see page 6).
The 2013 poster and reprints of festival posters designed by Kesl in 1984 and 1987 will be available for $20 each with proceeds benefiting a scholarship at
Santa Fe. (Posters can be purchased at “Hello World,” online at Spring- arts.com and at the SF Spring Arts Festival.)
“One of Lenny's wonderful qualities was that he was very supportive of his students and of all emerging artists,” Lehman says about Kesl, who taught students at both Santa Fe and at the University of Florida
during a teaching career of more than 20 years,
Along with a variety of musical and dance groups performing throughout the festival on the stages on Northeast First Street and at the Thomas Center, the 2013 festival also features a variety of jazz artists on Saturday at the Thomas Center with a closing Latin fusion concert featuring the bands Tropix and Ramos Pinta from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Lehman says event organizers wanted to highlight local jazz music with this year's lineup. “We wanted to go international,” she says. “Gainesville is really a very international community.”
Tim Ludwig, a clay artist from DeLand, says he's been involved with the Spring Arts Festival since 1985 and enjoys the quality of the work.
“The public can be very confident that if they're coming down to see art, they're going to see good art,” he says.
Ludwig says he thinks
the size of the event benefits both artists and visitors. “It's not an overwhelmingly large show,” he says. “That makes it really nice for the participants who are in the show and the people coming to see the show.”
Lehman says she expects thousands of the event's attendees to come from out of town. “They come with the express purpose of visiting the Santa Fe Spring Arts Festival,” she says. “Springtime here is a beautiful time of the year.”
She says the festival sees a lot of visitors who love art and creativity, and buy work from local artists.
“It's just a wonderful event. It's a win-win for our community,” she says. “It's just the perfect time to see Gainesville.”
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