(Left to Right) Carolyn Ward, 18-year-old UF statistics freshman, Sarah Lotspeich, 19-year-old UF statistics freshman, and Alexandra Rodriguez, 19-year-old biology freshman, represent UF’s Ailigéadar Irish Dance Company at the Viva Europe Festival at Bo Diddley Community Plaza Sunday.
Rusty Forsmark cheerfully contributes to the Irish set dancing performances with Gainesville's Inisheer Irish Dance Company at Bo Diddley Community Plaza on April 6. Forsmark has been dancing with the group for about 12 years.
The Gainesville art community showcased various works at downtown events this weekend. The 45th annual Santa Fe College Springs Arts Festival featured artists from across the nation.
The work of hundreds of creative minds filled Northeast First Street. Passersby could see sculptures, paintings, photography, jewelry, ceramics, gemstone carvings, wood, stained-glass art, mixed media and more.
The two-day festival gave artists the opportunity to win more than $20,000 in prizes for their work.
Jim McGie, an Appalachian craftsman from Tennessee, attracted guests in awe of his wooden rocking chairs. McGie uses tools from the 1800s and hand carves even the pegs that lock the parts of the chair together. He used hickory bark he stripped from the mountains. McGie said he strives to use the same process to make his chairs that was used generations ago.
Down the road from McGie’s tent, another artist made a unique contribution to the festival. With a goal to never let anything go to waste, James Floyd, a multidisciplinary designer from Pensacola, made music out of junk. Floyd used items such as cookie tins, cigar boxes, a skim board, and even part of a seed spreader to make his guitars.
The Viva Europe Festival Sunday allowed the Gainesville community to get a taste of different cultures through food stands and dance performances. Pictured are performances by Gainesville’s Inisheer Irish Dance Company, a local dance group that performs at various events throughout the year. Also featured is the UF Ailigéadar Irish Dance Company, which was founded in 2014 and is UF’s first dance company that focuses only on Irish Dance.
All photos taken by WUFT photographer Natanya Spies.