Park art exhibit

The Historic Thomas Center works as a  cultural events center for the community and surrounding areas of GainesvilleFlorida.

In the 150 years since Gainesville has been incorporated, its parks have played a big role in the lives of its residents.

To honor the more than 90 parks overseen by the city, the “A Walk in the Park” art exhibit was created and will open this Friday, May 31 at 7 p.m. in a gallery at the Historic Thomas Center.

The collection will contain pieces from 10 local artists featuring the preserved lands, recreation complexes, historic gardens and dog parks of Gainesville. The art encourages the viewer to look at these spaces, which may be taken for granted day-to-day, in a different way.

Russell Etling, cultural affairs manager for Gainesville’s parks, recreation and cultural affairs department, hopes this exhibit brings attention to and encourages people to enjoy these natural assets.

“I can stand in Depot Park and watch kids splashing in the water and just be thankful that our community invests in these facilities to improve all of our quality of life,” Etling said.

After the grand opening, there will be a reception held from 7 to 9 p.m. that will include waltzing and live music in the Spanish Court at the Thomas Center. The exhibit and reception are open and free to the public.

This collection of art honoring the parks won’t be here forever. The exhibit will be at the gallery until Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020.

“A Walk in the Park” is one of many projects organized by citizens and city employees as a part of the “Gainesville150!” celebration, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of Gainesville becoming an official city.

“For the 12 months of this anniversary year, we will be doing a variety of programs… marking this very important moment in time,” Etling said.