Latest News from the City of Gainesville

The 39th Annual Downtown Festival & Art Show is proud to present this year’s poster image, featuring the work of Sandra Matasick. Matasick’s career began by taking one simple class in jewelry making where she was immediately hooked. Her passion for jewelry making is further exemplified by the time she crawled into the window of her school’s locked studio to work on her craft all through the night. Matasick went on to earn her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing from the University of Kansas and her Master of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing from the State University of New York, New Paltz. After obtaining her degrees, she worked in jewelry stores creating custom pieces for clients before starting her own business.

Gainesville150!, the year-long commemoration of the City of Gainesville’s 1869 incorporation, is proud to partner with ARTSPEAKS Courageous Young Voices to present the award-winning, young Baltimore poet Grim Jackson, at the Historic Thomas Center Sunday, March 8 from 4-7 p.m. as part of the talented lineup of young poets who will present at this annual event. The event is free and open to the public.

Come out and celebrate this New Year’s Eve in downtown Gainesville. The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department is expanding your downtown New Year’s Eve experience with a grand celebration. All festivities are free and open to the public, so there is something for everyone this year! 

On Saturday, Dec. 7, the City of Gainesville is hosting its annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration at the Historic Thomas Center (302 NE Sixth Ave.). At 6 p.m., attendees will gather in the Spanish Court to view the giant tree and call for it to be lit. After the tree lighting the free program runs until 8 p.m., and light refreshments will be served.

The soulful sound of blues will usher in the Downtown Festival & Art Show weekend Friday, Nov. 15 with a free Downtown Blues Concert on the Bo Diddley Plaza from 7-11 p.m. The North Central Florida Blues Society is pleased to announce an evening under the stars featuring three incredible blues performances. 

Gainesville will transform into a masterful blend of art, music and entertainment during the 38th Annual Downtown Festival & Art Show, one of the nation’s premier outdoor fine arts festivals. Presented by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA), the festival draws a crowd of more than 80,000 visitors each year. On Saturday, Nov. 16 and Sunday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., visitors can meet the exhibiting artists, enjoy live music and sample international cuisine.

The Downtown Festival & Art Show, a nationally-recognized event, helps Gainesville get in touch with its creative side. Since 1996, it has ranked among the top festivals in the nation. Visitors embrace the culture of more than 240 of the nation’s most talented artists, who showcase their original oils and acrylics, vibrant watercolors, unique sculptures, dazzling jewelry, decorative ceramics and vivid photography. Artisans compete for more than $20,000 in cash prizes.

The University of Florida’s World Music Ensembles present a “Free Fridays” concert at the Bo Diddley Plaza Friday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m.  The event features student and faculty musicians and dancers from UF’s College of the Arts.

The Savants of Soul play at “Free Fridays” on Friday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Plaza in downtown Gainesville.

The “Free Fridays” Concert Series presents Michael Derry and Friends, who play a tribute to the music of Jimi Hendrix at Bo Diddley Plaza Friday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m.

The 38th Annual Downtown Festival & Art Show is quickly approaching and the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department is looking for individuals and organizations that would like to support this community event by volunteering at one of the top fine art shows in the country.  This is your opportunity to mingle with nationally-acclaimed artists, enjoy performing arts and sample international cuisine. This award-winning art festival features 240 of the nation’s finest artists, as well as four stages of continuous entertainment. Four-hour shifts are available on Saturday, Nov. 16 or Sunday, Nov. 17 for volunteers of all ages. Volunteers can assist at the Junior Fire Fighting Challenge, booth sit for artists, greet guests as they arrive or help with the Children’s Imagination Station, a free, hands-on art activity area. As a token of our appreciation, volunteers will receive a commemorative T-shirt.

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