MAKE YOUR PLANS NOW
Art Lovers and Artists Connect In the heart of Gainesville
Art, music, food and the opportunity to enjoy a fall day outdoors is coming to the streets of historic downtown Gainesville this November. Art lovers and artists will mingle once again as the heart of Gainesville sets the stage for the 34th Annual Downtown Festival & Art Show on Nov. 14 & 15. More than 100,000 people are expected to join in the festivities, a juried fine arts festival, produced by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department. Exquisite art work by 240 of the finest artists and craftspeople in the country will decorate the streets from City Hall to the Hippodrome State Theatre as the event runs daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can meet the exhibiting artists, enjoy live music and dancing on three stages and sample international cuisine.
Since 1996, the Downtown Festival & Art Show has ranked among the top festivals in the nation and has steadily climbed in rankings in recent years. The Downtown Festival & Art Show was ranked No. 12 on Sunshine Artist magazine’s “200 Best” list of top fine arts festivals in the nation.
“We are proud of our national ranking, the festival keeps getting bigger and better each year,” Linda Piper, events coordinator said.
Piper has worked with the City of Gainesville’s Cultural Affairs for the past 29 years. She has produced this fine arts festival for 22 years. She took a show that was a small event and made it into what it is today, a nationally recognized event.
“When I took over the event 165 artists applied for 160 booth spots and now 22 years later more than 500 artists apply for 240 booth spaces,” Piper said. The arts festival has grown tremendously over the years. The artists love to exhibit in Gainesville because our community supports the arts by purchasing art work.
Visitors can expect to see original oils and acrylics, vibrant watercolors, unique sculptures, dazzling jewelry, decorative ceramics and vivid photography. “This is a great opportunity to begin your holiday shopping now”, Piper said. “That’s what makes it so successful. It’s the perfect time of year in Gainesville; the perfect time of the year to purchase one-of-a-kind artwork for that someone special.”
A popular family favorite, the Imagination Station, is a free hands-on art activity area that allows children to create their own art work. Here they can create chalk murals, design masks, sculpt clay, create puppets and enjoy performances including puppet shows, magic acts and music. Art Education students from the University of Florida work throughout the fall semester to produce this hub of family-friendly fun.
Down the road from the Imagination Station and near the steps of the Hippodrome State Theatre, more than 50 nonprofit organizations educate the crowd about the services they provide to the community. Food booths line the streets and give visitors the chance to indulge in blooming onions, sweet barbecue ribs, hearty Mediterranean pitas, Cajun jambalaya and authentic Thai cuisine. The festival features international dishes from more than 20 food vendors, so no guest leaves hungry.
The festival weekend kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. with a Downtown Blues Concert presented by the North Central Florida Blues Society. Music from local bands and solo musicians on four stages throughout the festival weekend features a blend of folk, jazz, country, pop and soul genres. Dance companies also catch the eye of the crowd with ballet, jazz, modern and international dance performances.
The City of Gainesville looks forward to celebrating another successful show and welcomes the community to join in this annual event. Gainesville’s premier fall festival is a celebration of art and culture that you won’t want to miss. For more information visit www.gainesvilledowntownartfest.org or call 352-334-ARTS.