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Quinlan makes room for more art
Historic house demolished for new sculpture garden
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Harrison Haines prepares to continue demolition of an old house Wednesday afternoon next to the The Quinlan Visual Arts Center. Executive Director Amanda McClure of the Quinlan said there were three different groups that were interested in the home but it ultimately didn’t meet the various needs of the groups and it didn’t meet the needs of the Quinlan either because of its low ceilings.

A historic house is gone, but a local arts community is excited about what will come in its place.

Workers over the weekend began demolishing the 1920s-era Moon-Apperson house, after the Quinlan Visual Arts Center got approval in November to tear the historic structure down.

“It’s not ideal to tear something down in this historic district; that’s not anyone’s preference or even first plan,” Quinlan Executive Director Amanda McClure said. “This is sort of not plan B either; it’s sort of like plan D.”

But the center plans to put a sculpture garden in its place, and that’s something McClure is excited about and said will get the Quinlan more in line with other arts organizations’ efforts toward public art.

Planning for the garden is still in the early stages, but McClure said it would likely include at least some local artists.

The space also will be useful for the center’s summer camps, providing the children a place outside to eat lunch and play.

“That’s the immediate excitement right now because that’s going to be achievable by summer,” McClure said.

The house, a two-story craftsman style side-gabled bungalow, was built on Candler Street in 1920. McClure said the Quinlan tried to give the house away but it wasn’t financially feasible for those interested in the building, because of its age and the fact that it needed to be moved from its location on the Quinlan property. And the Quinlan had no use for the house because its ceilings were too low to accommodate standard-size easels.

The Gainesville Historic Preservation Commission’s approval for demolition required the structure be fully documented and that an interpretive plaque be located on the site.

The house was once owned by Ross Apperson, who regularly taught art classes on his enclosed front porch.

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