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Artistic eyes spy downtown Gainesville
Art in the Square brings philanthropy, fun to square next weekend
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A mosaic by local artist Mary Hull sits by the Quinlan Visual Arts Center booth during last year’s Art in the Square in downtown Gainesville. The 11th annual Art in the Square will be next weekend in downtown Gainesville.,

11th annual Art in the Square

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 20-21

Where: Downtown Gainesville square

Cost: Free

More info: www.gainesville.org/art-in-the-square

Almost 65 artists will adorn Gainesville’s historic downtown square with pottery and paintings while dancers and musicians will entertain visitors to the 11th annual Art in the Square.

Artists from all across the Southeast are set to participate in the Sept. 20-21 festival, which will feature food venders, face painting, a drumming and dance ceremony and a kids’ art zone.

“Probably half the folks you will see coming in this year are new, and we’ve got some old stuff going on as well,” said Fox Gradin, who is serving as the festival’s executive director for the first time this year.

Gradin, artist and owner of Celestial Studio photography, has previously served on the Art in the Square board for 10 years. She is taking over for Anne Brodie Hill, who stepped down earlier this year after 10 years of service.

Despite the change in leadership, old favorites remain including the chalk art competition and JV’s Rustic Birdhouses, a popular birdhouse builder. New additions include a Middle Eastern band and a contemporary dance company.

“We’ve got a group coming in with art dolls, which I don’t think we’ve ever had before,” Gradin said. “That’s a real popular thing in the art community right now.”

While all purchases will benefit the local art community, purchases from some venders will support other causes.

Glass mosaic artist Sue Sigmon-Nosach will return to exhibit for the fifth time. The Murrayville woman is one half of the mosaic collective 2 Broken Broads LLC. While Sigmon-Nosach’s work most often depicts subjects such as birds and other wildlife, the titles and inspiration always have a connection to Sigmon-Nosach’s status as an ovarian cancer survivor.

“We theme all of our pieces after songs from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70’s, because the average age of diagnosis (for ovarian cancer) is between 50 and 60,” she said.

This will be the first year Sigmon-Nosach’s friend and business partner, Deb Torbett, won’t be at Art in the Square. Torbett, the other broad in 2 Broken Broads, lost her nine-year battle with cancer in January.

“It will always be the 2 Broken Broads, even though there’s only one broad right now,” Sigmon-Nosach said.

Sigmon-Nosach donates a portion of her proceeds to several nonprofit foundations that support women undergoing treatment for gynecological cancers. Art in the Square is always a profitable weekend for the Murrayville-based artist and cancer survivor.

“It’s always a good show for me,” Sigmon-Nosach said. “If the weather holds up, we’ll have a good show.”

This year’s Art in the Square will also include the eighth annual Youth Artist Market hosted by Interactive Neighborhood for Kids. At 7 p.m. on Saturday patrons can also enjoy a free concert from local artists Blackboard and the Tyler Hammond Band, courtesy of the John Jarrard Foundation.

“Come down and just spend a few days on our beautiful downtown square, which is really a highlight of Gainesville,” Gradin said. “Come and see how our community is growing culturally and artistically.”

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