Gainesville… Who Knew?
In early August 2022, City Manager Bryan Lackey, Assistant City Manager Angela Sheppard and several members of the Gainesville City Council met with potential investors wanting to bring their businesses to the City of Gainesville. When discussing all of the benefits and features of Gainesville, one of the investors said, “Gainesville … who knew?” Our goal is to highlight all of the community members, business owners and City leaders that KNEW Gainesville was the place to be and to grow! Spotlighting attractions old and new, we will be showcasing some of GVL’s brightest stars!
The Arts Council, located at 331 Spring St., was established in 1972 with the help of a small board of volunteers and forerunner, Lessie Smithgall. In the beginning, their focus was to provide programming and services to meet the specific needs of the community, the Council’s members, and affiliate arts organizations in the area. Since that time, their focus has grown and shifted under the direction of Gladys Wyant, who served as executive director from 1984 until March 2021. With its new executive director, Pamela Williams-Lime, The Arts Council is currently undergoing an investigative season to pinpoint the present desires and needs of the greater Gainesville-Hall County community. They are hosting roundtable discussions with many community stakeholders to determine where The Arts Council should put their focus in the coming years. Operations Director Michelle Ferguson said, “We are working to make sure we are providing valuable programs and services to fit the current needs and desires of the arts and community members.”
The Arts Council does so much for the Gainesville community, including – but not limited to – several concert series, kids’ programs, holiday events and art gallery displays.
- In January, they kicked off their season with their annual Evenings of Intimate Jazz, one of their staple event series. Don’t miss your chance to experience the final show of 2023 on April 21!
- The Arts Council will as be featured stop during historic Gainesville’s inaugural Art Walk from 4-8 pm April 20. The Art Walk is an all-new event hosted by Main Street Gainesville alongside local businesses and galleries showcasing artists, local musicians and more!
- Be sure to bring your dancing shoes the following weekend as The Arts Council hosts their annual fundraiser, Everybody Cut Footloose, April 29 at 7:45 pm. This event will feature live and silent auctions, a dessert truck, a cash bar and a live performance from the ‘80s MTV Experience!
- The opportunities for live music, art and programming are never-ending, especially with their new extended Summer Music Series, so head over to their website for a full list of their 2023 events!
If you would like to get more involved with The Arts Council, they are always looking for volunteers. It is a great way to show your support for artist community in Gainesville, plus you get to enjoy the show!
If you want something a little quieter, come by and peruse The Arts Council’s spectacular gallery of artwork from locally and nationally known artists. The gallery is free and open to the public from 10 am-4 pm, Tuesday through Friday. The Arts Council staff are currently working on cataloging the hundreds of unique pieces of art in their collection, which includes work by artists like Mildred Thompson, who paved the way for black artists in the 1960s and ‘70s. “Her works span over four decades and The Arts Council is the only place in our area that houses one of her full collections,” said Executive Director Pamela Williams-Lime.
The Arts Council owns several properties in town and has been busy renovating and updating the Smithgall Arts Center to better serve our community. Currently, they partner with the Art Colony Georgia to have studio space available for artists at their other location. If you would like to host your own party, wedding, fundraiser, festival or something as small as a board meeting, The Arts Council has a place that can fit every need! They have several options to choose from, so contact them at: (770) 534-2787
The Arts Council really does it all and they are making a way for both local and national artists to have a place to shine and grow here in Gainesville!
Want an inside look at The Arts Council? Make sure to check out their feature on the Explore Gainesville Instagram!