50 Years of Festivals

50 Years of Festivals

The Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival unofficially began in 1969 with a gathering of a few local artists organized by Barbara Kirkpatrick at the Thomas Center grounds near downtown Gainesville, Florida. The first official festival was launched in 1970 and has since become one of the community’s largest annual cultural arts events.


‘69

1969
First Spring Arts Festival organized by Barbara Kirkpatrick with an unofficial gathering of a few local artists on the Thomas Center grounds.

1970
First official Spring Arts Festival, May 2-3; founder and chairperson was Barbara Kirkpatrick.

Shown at age 82, artist Jesse Aaron didn’t began carving wood for artistic expression until he was age 81.

‘69

1971
Dr. Joseph W. Fordyce, Santa Fe Junior College’s first president beginning in 1965, was succeeded by Alan J. Robertson.

1972
The college’s main, northwest campus opened.

1973
Santa Fe Junior College became Santa Fe Community College in 1973.

Festival featured a petting zoo for children.

‘73

‘74

1974
Karen M. Beach coordinated festival.

1975
First year to have judges and artist awards.

1976
Attendance grew to around 40,000.

1977
Attendance grew to about 65,000.

Festival logo.

‘77

‘79

1979
231 competitive and 50 noncompetitive artists from 23 states and Canada.

1981
Lona Stein coordinated festival.

First Spring Arts Festival poster by Eleanor Blair.

1982
Attendance grew to around 70,000.

‘84

1984
Attendance grew to around 80,000.

1985
Festival logo.

‘85

1986
Michael J. Bates coordinated festival.

Festival logo.

‘86

1987
Coldest festival on record with evening temperatures in the upper 30s and low 50s during the day.

First year bio of poster artist included in festival brochure. Around 100,000 attendees were expected.

Nancee Clark coordinated festival.

‘89

1989
Attendance grew to around 90,000.

1990
Dr. Lawrence W. Tyree named the college’s third president.

1991
Festival hosted around 320 artists and three stages of live entertainment.

1992
First year that young artists received awards.

Festival logo.

‘92

‘94

1994
Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary.

1995
Kathryn Lehman coordinated festival.

1997
First art preview party, held in Blount Center Board Room.

Festival logo.

‘97

1998
Total of 290 participating artists.

‘99

1999
Spring Arts House inaugurated.

2001
Total of 260 participating artists.

2002
Dr. Jackson N. Sasser named the college’s fourth president.

‘04

 
 

2007
Attendance grew to around 130,000, becoming one of the community’s largest annual economic and cultural arts events.

2008
Santa Fe Community College renamed Santa Fe College when bachelor’s degrees began to be offered.

Festival logo.

‘08

‘09

 
 

2011
Fine Arts Hall opened on the Santa Fe College Northwest Campus.

2012
Santa Fe College named one of the Top 10 community college in the nation by the Aspen Institute.

‘14

 
 

2015
Santa Fe College was awarded the Aspen Prize as the No. 1 Community College in the nation.

2017
Bo Diddley Plaza was used as the festival’s main stage.

‘17

Raul Villarreal coordinated festival.

2018
Children’s Art Jungle and Young Artists sections were moved along NE 1st Street and the Actors’ Warehouse was used as second stage.

Festival logo and website at sfcollege.edu/spring-arts

‘18

‘19

2019
Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Received over 500 applications, including 115 national and international new artists.