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Annual arts festival, craft fair comes to downtown Gainesville this Saturday

POSTED: September 15, 2011 1:30 a.m.

One of Gainesville’s most popular art events returns this weekend as the city hosts the eighth annual Art in the Square Festival.

Some 120 artists have registered for the festival this year, with more putting their names on the waiting list in hopes of getting to show off their work, according to Quinlan Visual Arts Center executive director Amanda McClure.

Art in the Square will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on the downtown square in Gainesville.

McClure, who has been on the planning committee for the festival for the past six years, said that Quinlan and other art groups in the area are excited for the event’s return.

"It’s more than just a sleepy art festival. It’s a very exciting and much anticipated event for the community," McClure said.

"Not only will you get to see great art, you’ll be able to see great art being made," she said. "We’re really excited about it this year because it’s going to be a lot more interactive."

Some of the highlights include a chain saw artist who will be doing demonstrations, and Quinlan’s resident pottery artist who will be on hand to show spectators the process of raku firing to finalize her work.

McClure said that the sidewalk chalk art contest should be another crowd pleaser, with visitors getting the chance to compete.

In addition to Quinlan, there are several other art associations and independent local artists from the area who will take part in the festival.

Gallerie 110 will be holding a silent auction to benefit Challenged Child and Friends, a nonprofit organization that helps families deal with the challenges of raising children with disabilities.

Cheryl Hardin, owner of Gallerie 110, said that approximately 35 local artists have donated work for the auction, and they have all been very passionate about being able to help.

Hardin said that the silent auction has been part of Art in The Square for the last several years.

"Last year we were able to raise $4,000, and we hope to at least match that this year. One hundred percent of the money goes to Challenged Child and Friends," she said.

Interactive Neighbor-hood for Kids will host the youth artist market during the festival.

Sheri Hooper, executive director for the nonprofit organization, said that INK hopes to teach the kids valuable skills when they sell their work.

"Essentially, we’re helping young artists become entrepreneurs. They created something, and now they get to sell it and make some money for themselves. It helps them learn valuable marketing skills," Hooper said.

"It’s good for the community because it brings a lot of activity for those businesses around the square. Plus, it gets people out and doing things," McClure said.

"There’s nothing better than a fall festival, and this is the way to kick the festival season off right," she said.

For more information, including a detailed map listing vendors and activities, visit the event website at www.artinthesquarega.com.



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