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Arts Council show includes new garden plan
By Stephan Lampl

Spring Arts Fling
5-7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring Street., Gainesville
How much: Free
More info: 770-534-2787

If you've driven past The Arts Council's headquarters on Spring Street in Gainesville, you might have noticed some funky figures in the backyard.

The blocky sculptures, some standing more than 10 feet tall, are the work of local artist Ferdinand Rosa and a gift to The Arts Council. For the past year or so, they have been in the green space, waiting for a master plan.

Well, finally, that plan is here.

Tonight at The Arts Council's Spring Arts Fling, a plan for the garden area of the Smithgall Arts Center will be revealed, complete with a bubbling water feature and plans for pathways and flowers lining the sculptures.

"We'll have a walking path. The waterscape is going to be our main feature, at the patio," said Gladys Wyant, executive director of The Arts Council, of the area flanked by a Frederic Remington bronze sculpture. "And there will be a lot more floral and some trees incorporated, and some boulders into the walking area."

But the plan is only part of the evening's festivities. Inside the gallery space - known by many who attend the Evenings of Intimate Jazz concert series - will be 29 pieces of art given to The Arts Council that has been framed by Malia Bolt, one of only a few dozen certified master framers in the country.

Bolt, owner of Purple House Gallery in Gainesville, said she is donating the labor to frame the pieces in thick, gold frames. Framing supplies were donated by Larson-Juhl.

Pieces on display include works by Robert Marchant, Howard Finster, and Bruce Johnson. Some, like the whimsical drawings by Johnson, will be offered for sale; others, such as the Finster, are part of The Arts Council's permanent collection.

"There will be things for sale from a couple hundred to $5,000," Wyant said.

Rosa will also have a larger exhibition set up under a tent behind the Arts Center.

And adding to the artist theme is a collection of local authors signing books, including Gloria Stargel, Brad Strickland, Phil Hudgens and Times columnist Harris Blackwood.

Entertainment will be provided by pianist Julie Ann Hamilton, singer/guitarist Gabe Russo and pianist Larry Barker.

"It's going to be a very nice show; very cultural and a number of different artists' work," Wyant said.