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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Santa Fe Art Gallery reopens after nearly two years, sparks creativity back into the community

Students were drawn to the exhibit by a class requirement or the promise of extra credit points but left with much more.

Attendees browse Gainesville artist Steven Bradbury’s art at the Santa Fe Art Gallery opening on Friday, Jan. 21.
Attendees browse Gainesville artist Steven Bradbury’s art at the Santa Fe Art Gallery opening on Friday, Jan. 21.

The Santa Fe Art Gallery made its grand re-opening Friday night after nearly two years of being closed, attracting more than just inspired young artists. 

About 100 people gathered Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the opening night of the show. 

The exhibit, No Day Without a Line: New Plein Air and Life Drawings, features works by Steven Edgar Bradbury. Bradbury is a Florida-based artist who works with graphite and pastels to create a variety of art, including landscapes, figure drawings and anatomy drawings, said Kyle Novak, SF Art Gallery’s manager.

The gallery closed in March 2020 and wasn’t able to host in-person events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Novak said. It was used as a life-painting and drawing studio because it was the largest space where social distancing could be accommodated. 

“We’re really excited just to have the art gallery be an art gallery again,” Novak said.

Sage Morrow, a studio art sophomore at SFC, said she came to the gallery mainly because her art class required it. But, after hearing the show featured Bradbury, an artist that came in to demo for one of her classes, she knew she couldn’t miss it. 

“He showed us how we were supposed to draw the anatomy. We got to watch him go through the process of drawing a nude model,” Morrow said.

Novak encourages everyone to stop by the gallery to physically see art — an activity that many people have been deprived of since March 2020.

“It’s important now more than ever kind of as we’ve all had a bit of a restrictive experience these last few years,” Novak said. “I think that even before that, but even now more so, we’ve kind of experienced imagery … through our phones — through a screen — and I do think that it is really important to get out and see art in person. There’s just something different about it.”

Gainesville artist Steven Bradbury’s drawings of anatomy are seen at the Santa Fe Art Gallery opening on Friday, Jan. 21.

AJ Williams, a SFC digital art technology student, said she also came because of the class requirement. Yet, when she got there, she was glad she had come.

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“I love the skeleton drawings,” Williams said. “And the horse over there — it just looks so detailed.”

Other SFC art professors gave their students the chance to get extra credit by coming to Bradbury’s show.

“They don’t need to do anything for me, like write anything. They just need to come here and see the environment,” said Mario Mutis, art studio professor at SFC. “It’s a place for students to look at what they see in class in a more real-life context and to apply a lot of the things they learn here and just to socialize.”

Art is not something Mutis wants students to associate with grades and pressure. He even encourages UF students to take leisure art classes at the Reitz Union.

“You can take classes for fun. There’s not that stress of needing to be there,” Mutis said. “If there’s a day you can’t make it, you can’t make it.”

The SF Art Gallery’s Bradbury exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday until March 4.

Contact Lily Kino at Follow her on Twitter @lily_kino.

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Lily Kino

Lily Kino is a second-year journalism major covering Santa Fe. When she's not writing, Lily is either going on nature walks or swimming with her goldendoodle, George.

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