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Artists to descend on downtown Gainesville
Art in the Square on Friday and Saturday
Murrayville artist Sue Sigmon-Nosach shows off one of her pieces during the Art in the Square event last year.

Art in the Square

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Gainesville’s downtown square

Cost: Free

What started as a small idea between colleagues has turned into a decade-long tradition on the square in downtown Gainesville.

This year is the 10th anniversary of Gainesville’s Art in the Square, featuring various art exhibits by more than 120 artists and artisans from the Southeast, specialty vendors and activities.

Anne Brodie Hill, artist and director of Art in the Square, started the event when the Main Street manager suggested luring people in the area to downtown Gainesville.

“He talked to me about starting an art festival in downtown Gainesville, and I told him I had a lot of friends (who) were artists and maybe I could talk them into coming,” Hill said.

She said the success of the first festival has continued every year.

“It was wonderful,” she said. “Every year, it’s just gotten bigger and better.”

Hill added the response from businesses on the square has been positive, because it brings in a surplus of customers. She said the event is made possible through the support of the community and sponsors.

“I’m just really excited about this year,” she said. “It’s a very good collaboration between the City of Gainesville, Main Street Gainesville, (and) the merchants on the square downtown are very supportive.”

The event will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in the square.

Participants are welcomed to observe and work hands-on with artists. Live demonstrations will be featured as well as photography and the Youth Artist Market, hosted by Interactive Neighborhood for Kids.

A prize drawing for a mosaic will be Sunday. The mosaic is by Mary Hull, artist and volunteer for the Quinlan Visual Arts Center.

Proceeds from the drawing will benefit the Gainesville Housing Authority’s art class at the Innovation Station, where Hull is a volunteer teacher. The art class was developed as a collaborated effort between the Quinlan Visual Arts Center and the authority as a free class for low-income children living in the authority’s housing area.

“Sometimes you just do things that are necessary to help a program get a foothold,” Hull said.

She said the mosaic, titled “Mountain Faeries,” is a special donation because it was one she had kept personally for a long time.

“It’s dear to me,” she said. “I just never tried to put it out there and sell it because I did like it so much.”

Although her first intention was to donate the proceeds to the classes at the Quinlan, she said Amanda McClure suggested sending the benefits to the authority’s class instead. Hull said it was comforting for her to know her most treasured work would be sold for a good cause.

“It makes me feel like my piece of art stands for something better than just something that I did for my enjoyment,” she said.

Hull also said she donated it because she believes in the small group of eight students she works with at the Innovation Station.

“They’re just such good kids,” she said. “They’re very genuine kids. It makes it comfortable to be around them.”

Tickets for the drawing are $5 each, three for $10 or 10 for $20.

Admission and parking for Art in the Square are free.

Regional events