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46th Annual Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival Is April 11-12, 2015

Recipe for a fun-filled family weekend: Select 220 of the country’s finest artists to exhibit their colorful creations against a background of elegant homes. Blend in lively local singers, dancers and musicians. Add delicious local food, from corn on the cob to strawberries. Stir in an active children’s art area. Dust with blooming dogwoods and azaleas and top with spicy jazz, both hot and cool, performed by musicians who have toured the world. The resulting dish is the 46th annual Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 11, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, April 12, on Northeast First Street and the grounds of the Thomas Center in downtown Gainesville’s historic district. Admission is free.

"Santa Fe College has been committed to excellence in every aspect of service to our students and community since the college opened its doors almost 50 years ago,” said President Jackson Sasser. “The recent honor of the Aspen Institute's recognition of Santa Fe as the nation's best college reflects these collective efforts, and the Spring Arts Festival is an integral part of our mission and our community. As we celebrate the artistic excellence of some of the nation's best artists and the beauty of Gainesville's historic downtown, we invite everyone to join us as we continue our passion for our community, the arts, and, as always, our students."

The festival image, “Spring Morning, Cross Creek” by Kate Barnes, will be available on limited edition silkscreened posters and t-shirts that Barnes describes as “handcrafted works of art.” The Cross Creek image dovetails with the play “Invasion of Privacy” about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings that will be directed by Master Artist Judith Chapman in June in the college’s Fine Arts Hall.

“This year, the main stage has been moved to the grounds of the Thomas Center,” explained Cultural Programs Coordinator Kathryn Lehman, “but what has not changed is the high quality of the art you will find at the festival. Spring Arts continually attracts applications from some of the very best artists in the country who face tough competition for acceptance into this juried show.”

Entertainment highlights include Saturday evening jazz performances by the David Jones Jazztet, all-stars of Orlando’s jazz scene (5-7 p.m.), and the Cuban jazz legend Chuchito Valdés (7-9 p.m.).

Led by Jones, a longtime Disney musician, the Jazztet will play a combination of swing, trad (Dixieland and ragtime), and jazz standards. Valdés—who is recognized as a master of Cuban music—continues the legacy of great piano players from Cuba, performing an energetic blend of music that ranges from sensitive to exciting.

Two of the artists who will display their works, Gainesville painter and printmaker Leslie Peebles and Orlando painter Ummarid (Tony) Eitharong, have high praise for the festival.

“I always like that show,” said Eitharong, who according to Lehman is “a fantastic artist” and multiple Best in Show winner. “It’s not just the festival itself but the combination of everything and a wonderful place,” Eitharong continued. “I look forward to it every year and the community is always wonderful. I don’t know what else you could ask for; it’s always been a good event for me.”

“I’ve been doing the Spring Arts Festival as a full-time artist for six years and before that I was involved in the community section,” said Peebles. “The show has a lot of great artists I’ve met who are from all over Florida, the East, and even some from the Midwest and California; that makes for a really high-quality show and a wonderful range of fine art and functional crafts.”

“The festival is fun for the whole family,” said Lehman. “Come for the art, enjoy the food and stay for the jazz!”

The Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival is presented by the Santa Fe College Development Office and the Santa Fe College Foundation. The Festival is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and, a Tourist Development Tax Grant from the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners in conjunction with the Alachua County Tourist Development Council.

For more information, call Kathryn Lehman at 352-395-5355.