The newly formed Gainesville Arts & Parks (GAP) Foundation, Inc. is having its community launch Friday, Jan 8 from 6-8 p.m. at the Historic Thomas Center, which is located at 302 NE Sixth Ave. The event will showcase some of the best arts, parks and programs the city has to offer. The community is invited to an evening of live music by Expressions Learning Arts Academy students, a silent auction and a culinary arts demonstration by renowned local Chef Bert Gill. The event also feature tree giveaways, a book signing by Chef Gill of his new book, “Pickled, Fried and Fresh,” food and much more! The community kick-off celebration will highlight the many cultural, recreational and nature activities in Gainesville.
The GAP Foundation was established in June to support the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) as an ally in advocacy and fundraising. The foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization whose purpose is to support the projects and programs identified in the PRCA master plan, by helping fill funding gaps and helping bring the plan to life.
“Gainesville has so much to offer in the way of the arts, recreation and parks,” said Augi Lye, GAP Foundation president. “Our mission is to support PRCA and to make Gainesville a world class community of arts and parks.”
Steve Phillips, director of PRCA said, “Despite past budget cuts and lower tax appropriations, the department has been able to maintain service levels with decreased staffing. Now that there is an ally to help fill the gap, we believe the community will see major changes over time with facility enhancements, and more staff to implement new and expanded programs. The GAP Foundation will have the ability to apply directly to private foundations for funding where local governments are not eligible. In addition, as community leaders, the board of directors brings unmatched passion for advancing art, parks and recreation throughout Gainesville.”
The GAP Foundation Board of Directors are Susan Bottcher, Thomas Hawkins (secretary), Agapitus “Augi” Lye (president), Stephanie Mickle, Albert White (treasurer) and Dr. Steven L. Yucht (vice president).
For more information, or to get involved with the Gainesville Arts & Parks Foundation, please contact PRCA at 352-393-8364.