Gainesville Prides Itself in All Arts, from Public to Performing

Hippodrome State Theater
Hippodrome State Theater

Tell people you are from Gainesville, and the University of Florida and the almighty Gators are the first things that come to mind. And, sure, you can catch the championship-winning football and basketball teams depending on the season, but the city provides so many other ways to spend your weekend.

Art lovers congregate to the area thanks to the Gainesville Artisans’ Guild. The guild directs interested buyers to local artists who sell handcrafted items in a variety of galleries around town, including its own Artisans’ Guild Gallery in Millhopper Square Shopping Center. From pottery to paintings, handbags to baby blankets, you can even have items shipped to your home.

In fact, you only need to walk around town to take in some of the art the area has to offer. A series of murals along the 34th Street wall near campus represents the only place in town where public graffiti is permitted. The artwork runs the gamut for professional tags from street artists to memorials, congratulation messages and any other statement the artist wishes to make.

Music lovers will enjoy taking in a show from the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra. Since 1983, a group of local musicians have been bringing live classical music to Alachua County. The Civic Chorus and Philharmonic Orchestra also offer a variety of productions throughout the year, from civic-minded productions to full-scale classical numbers.

Theater buffs can get a good evening of performing arts from the Gainesville Community Playhouse. With about six productions a year, everything from comedies to musical productions entertains a good-sized crowd. Anyone can audition, so those new to acting can have the chance to show off their chops and encourage a budding talent.

And a rotating array of events brings out the town in full force, particularly the Downtown Festival and Arts Show in November. The nationally recognized event attracts more than 100,000 visitors who get to view works from 250-plus artists, eat all kinds of food and dance to live jazz, folk, country and pop music.

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