If you close your eyes and think back to your fondest memories as a child, some of those memories may include coloring, dancing, singing, or playing make believe. We were born to be artistic…it’s in our genes. And, Alachua County residents value the arts…enjoying and supporting our many live theater, music, dance and museum venues.
To further support the arts and help guide public policy relating to the arts, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners established a seven-member Arts Council in 2018. The Arts Council serves as a resource for local artists and arts agencies, including our eight small municipalities throughout the County.
Some of the Arts Council’s recent public art projects include reviewing and recommending art submittals for the West Lawn of the County Administration Building; UF/IFAS Extension Office and Auditorium; and Agriculture & Equestrian Center. While these projects haven’t been completed, you can enjoy two recent art installations by visiting Lady Justice outside the Public Defender’s Office and ALI-G8R at the Downtown Tax Collector’s Office. These projects were funded through the County’s Art in Public Places program which sets aside 1% (not to exceed $100,000) of capital project budgets for murals, stained glass, sculptures and other public art. We also partner with local artists to display their work in the County Commission Chambers through an Art Loan program.
The Arts Council continues to promote Art Tag sales which fund our competitive Mini, Major and Matching grants. This program was established so those who love the arts are financially supporting our local artists by simply buying an “I Support the Arts” tag for your car.
Our recently updated strategic plan addresses a variety of initiatives including an Artists Conference tentatively scheduled for this fall at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. The conference is expected to offer various workshops for artists while facilitating supportive relationships among artists, art organizations and cultural groups. The plan also brings to light the spoken word as a form of art through continued financial support of Alachua County’s first Poet Laureate, E. Stanley Richardson.
The Arts Council meets at 5:30 p.m. on the first Monday of each month. The public is welcome to attend meetings either virtually or in person on the 2nd floor of the County Administration Building, in the Grace Knight meeting room. Currently, the Council has an alternate member vacancy. The only required qualifications are that you live in Alachua County and love the arts!
Please consider visiting our website at http://alachuacounty.us/arts-council/pages/default.aspx to learn more about the Council; review our strategic plan; apply to display your original art in the Jack Durrance Auditorium; review our Mini, Major or Matching grants (expected to reopen in late summer); or to apply for our alternate member vacancy.
David Ruiz, Chair
Arts Council of Alachua County