The Arts Council’s recently constructed stage and pavilion structure is ready to give performances and events a new place to flourish in downtown Gainesville.
Located next to the Smithgall Arts Center on the corner of West Academy Street and Spring Street Southwest, the new addition has been in the works for a little more than a year. The outdoor facility is 6,300-square-feet with a 50-by-50-foot stage, which resides where the center’s parking lot once stood.
The covered pavilion seats nearly 300 guests and can accomodate 3,000 more people on its front lawn. Heating and cooling is also available in the pavilion area.
The new facility was built to house outdoor events like theater performances, small concerts and other live entertainment hosted by The Arts Council.
Gladys Wyant, director of The Arts Council, said she sees the structure as an asset to Gainesville by presenting shows the community loves, as well as being a rentable venue for organizations and businesses.
“The Arts Council will be planning many more outdoor opportunities than we have in the past because we won’t have to worry so much about performers getting wet if it rains,” Wyant said.
Several businesses have already provided parking for guests visiting the center, and Wyant said the city’s new trolley could soon help shuttle visitors to the venue.
“It’s very accessible to everyone downtown,” Wyant said.
The Arts Council has spent nearly $1 million in completing the venue with funds raised through private donations and plans to add onto it later this year.
“At some point, we hope to enclose it temporarily throughout the cold months,” Wyant said. “We haven’t figured that one out yet because it is a large area.”
Because of the pandemic, the pavilion and lawn will keep a limited capacity, holding around 800 to 1,000 guests in total.
Wyant said that The Arts Council has already taken precautions in its arts center with cleaning and social distancing practices.
For more information about The Arts Council’s rentals, visit theartscouncil.net.