Kick Start with Art

Attention theater, art and music lovers! In honor of the new year, we’ve uncovered new events and venues just for you. You don’t have to travel states away to experience unique plays, art festivals and concerts—there’s something for everyone right here. From charming art festivals to enthralling pop concerts, we’ve got a mix of all things art. All of these exciting, new events are either local or within a half a day’s drive from Ocala. So, buckle up and get ready for the first wave of the 2015 art lineup.


The theater is thriving this year! You’ve got a spectrum of theatrical options from the musical stories of Hank Williams and Jersey Boys to murder mysteries and laugh-out-loud comedies. Take a night to experience the thrill of the live, local theater with these nearby attractions.

Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play

The Hippodrome Theatre Gainesville

February 18-March 15 / (352) 375-4477

Travel 100 years into the future to a new civilization of darkness in Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play. See what happens when the apocalypse arrives, the power grid fails and society fades away. What will happen when civilization as we know it goes dark? Who will be left with the task of rebuilding? Find out in this pop-culture comedy.

Born Yesterday

The Gainesville Community Playhouse

January 30-February 15 / (352) 376-4949

When Harry Brock, a corrupt junk dealer, brings his naive showgirl and mistress with him to Washington, D.C. for business, his business dealings become compromised by her ignorance. In an effort to scathe the liability, Brock hires a journalist to educate his mistress. In the process, the mistress uncovers Brock’s corrupt plans to bribe a Congressman into passing a bill that would allow his business to make more money. The mistress decides to utilize her newfound wits to interfere with his scheme.

Hank Williams: Lost Highway

Sonnetag Theatre at the IceHouse Mount Dora

March 20-April 12 
(352) 383-4616

Hey, Good Lookin’! Experience the fascinating life of the legendary country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams at the IceHouse this spring. Enjoy Williams’ rise to country stardom as they take you from the Louisiana Hayride to the Grand Ole Opry. Hank Williams’ hit songs includeI’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Move It On Over,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Jambalaya” and “Lovesick Blues.”

When Hank Williams died at 29 in the back of his Cadillac sometime in the early morning of New Year’s Day 1953, he left behind a scuffed, embroidered brown leather briefcase.He used it to carry bound notebooks, among other items, filled with pages of lyrics and song ideas he jotted down when inspiration struck. Some were fully finished, some just started.


Something’s Afoot

Ocala Civic Theatre

February 5- March 29 
(352) 236-2274

It’s a musical, comedy and murder mystery! Ten guests are invited to an isolated English estate for a “marvelous weekend in the country air.” However, when they discover that their host is dead, the situation turns gruesome. As more bodies are pile up in the library, it turns into a battle of the wits as they race to find the killer.

Playing off Agatha Christie detective stories, all the classic characters will appear: the butler, the saucy maid, the caretaker, the uninvited guest and all of the others. This suspenseful satire will have you quivering, shaking and laughing—all in one show!

The Ocala Civic Theatre is ranked among the top 30 community theatres in the country and is the recognized leader in Florida. This is their 65th year of providing live, professional-quality performances to the Ocala area.

Jersey Boys

The Phillips Center, Gainesville

February 24- March 1
(352) 392-2787

Follow the true story of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Frankie

Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi of The Four Seasons. The four blue-collar kids wrote their own songs, discovered their own sounds and became an iconic success story in pop music history. They sold 175 million records worldwide all before the age of 30 and now their story comes to life live on stage at the Phillips Center. The musical will feature their hits songs “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take my Eyes Off You.”


Paintings, pottery, jewelry and more! Experience the area’s booming art scene with these upcoming galleries and festivals. Oh, and did we mention we’ve got the latest scoop on the Tuscawilla Art Park coming to downtown Ocala this year?

Beyond Reality: The Many Worlds of James H. Vredevoogd

Appleton Museum

April 11-June 7 (352)291-4455

Step into James H. Vredevoogd’s world and experience unfathomable dreamscapes that are both realistic in their style and surreal in subject matter. Combining symbolism and iconography, this Dunnellon resident’s work will catch your attention and tempt you into taking a second, closer look. Vredevoogd’s work is featured in the permanent collections of several universities and museums but will only be at the Appleton Museum for a limited time. Don’t miss out on this gallery; it’s out of this world!

Cedar Key’s 51st Annual Fine Arts Festival

Historic 2nd Street, Cedar Key

March 28-29

(352) 543-5400

Step back in time and enjoy Cedar Key’s old Florida charm at the 51st Annual Fine Arts Festival. Over 120 fine artists and craftsmen will display their intriguing works of art this year. Artists from all over compete for over $10,000 in prize money and purchase awards. Over 20,000 people visited Historic Cedar Key to take part in this one-of-a-kind art festival last year.

This year, you can expect delicious seafood, decadent desserts and fun for the whole family. Oh and while you’re there, don’t forget to soak in Cedar Key’s amazing sunset.

46th Annual Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival

Northeast Gainesville Historic District

April 11-12

Held amongst the charming homes of the Northeast Gainesville Historic District, this long-standing festival offers a plethora of fun and inspiration for the entire family. Fine artists gather from throughout the country to sell and display their unique pieces. The festival will also have an Art Jungle where children can create their own masterpieces.

Musicians and dancers will entertain on two stages and a large variety of food vendors will be on-site.

First Friday Art Walk

Downtown Ocala, Citizens Circle

Every first Friday

Every first Friday of the month between September and May, The City of Ocala hosts various artists as they work on arts and crafts. Come to relax, mingle with local artists and enjoy a unique performance on the square. The walk spans 15 beautiful city blocks in downtown Ocala and starts at 6pm.

Expect acoustic musicians and vocalists and visual artists of all types:  painters, photographers, sculptors, weavers and more. Artists are partnered with downtown businesses and their displays are usually in front of the business’ storefronts, on the sidewalk. 

When you walk up an appetite, check out historic downtown’s unique boutiques and restaurants. Many have partnered with the city to extend shopping hours. Try local culinary offerings such as the Ocala Chocolate and Confections Shop, Stellas, La Cuisine and more!

visit and print out an event 
map, so that you can easily locate your favorite 
artists and mediums. 

DeLand Outdoor Art Festival

Earl Brown Park, Deland

March 28-29 / (386) 717-1888

More than 135 fine artists and crafters gather from throughout the Southeast to compete for thousands of dollars in prizes. The festival will offer a craft section with a wide range of items for sale, including handmade jewelry, carved wooden toys and even Adirondack furniture.

Oh, and don’t forget about the unbelievably good food and music! The festival will offer selections ranging from Greek salads to Bar-B-Q, with plenty of snacks and treats in between. As usual, the DeLand Outdoor Art Festival will offer a toe-tapping blend of country, folk, bluegrass and blues concerts. Entertainers will take the stage between 10am and 5pm on Saturday and from 11am to 4pm on Sunday. This weekend event features a family-friendly atmosphere that winds around a jogging trail and overlooks a gorgeous pond.

Want to have a little more spending cash for the Deland Outdoor Festival? Make sure to stop by the information booth for your chance to win $100 toward your festival shopping.

Abstract Meets Realism


May 8

Find out what happens when abstract art meets realism at Artist-Alley’s open door reception. They will feature the fine art of 17 creative artists. You can also browse through their mix of creations from local artists, which includes everything from jewelry and pottery to paintings and sculptures. The reception begins at 6pm and will last until 9pm.

Hoggetowne Medieval Faire

Alachua County Fairgrounds, Gainesville

January 24-25 and

January 30-February 1 
(352) 334-ARTS

Hands down one of the most popular medieval fairs in the area, the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is a unique way to experience the medieval period. Of course, they will have jesters, magicians and jugglers, but the event also offers a medieval blend of arts, crafts and music as well.

The fair will showcase more than 160 talented artisans and craftspeople. They will display and sell a variety of goods, including authentic blacksmithing, jewelry, stone and wood carvings, weaving, hand-blown glassware, leather crafts and period fashions. These artisans will also demonstrate how they create their pieces.

Don’t miss King William and Queen Caroline during the Royal Procession through Hoggetowne’s crowded streets on Friday at 11am and 1:30pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 12pm and 4:30pm. The king and queen will lead more than 100 actors, musicians and other performers through the streets to the jousting fields, where knights will battle it out.

Silver River Knap-In and Stone Age Arts Festival

Silver Springs State Park

February 21-22

(352) 236-5401

Art comes in many forms and from many ages! This February, specialists in prehistoric skills will come from across the nation to share their unique crafts at Silver Springs State Park. Watch as expert flint knappers, archaeologists, potters, hide tanners, bow makers and other skilled artisans demonstrate their crafts. Vendors will also be on-site to sell reproduction tools, raw stone, food and more. Admission is just $5 for adults and children over 5 years old. The festival is from 9am to 4pm.

Coming Soon: The Art Park in Tuscawilla

As part of the Tuscawilla Park master plan, the Art Park will function as a serene venue of artwork, botanical gardens, urban cityscapes, historic architecture, water and wildlife. Groundbreaking on “Ocala’s Central Park” begins in Spring of this year, thanks to a generous matching grant from the Rick and Nancy Moskovitz Foundation. The park will be adjacent to the Ocala Union Station complex which is strategically located at the north end of the proposed Osceola Linear Park.

The purpose of the Art Park is to create an environment that fuels the creative process and observation of local art, both visual and performing. The outdoor spaces will include exhibiting areas for outdoor sculpture, visual artists and performing artists.

“This project’s return on investment will occur through the enhanced quality of place for the citizens of Ocala,” Community Cultural Arts Manager Melissa Townsend says. “By providing an enhanced urban space in the downtown core it will attract visitors to the area and contribute to a thriving downtown economy.”

The entire project design will be carried out through four phases over the span of four years. The first phase will include the key infrastructures such as pathways, lighting, gardens, garden pergolas and more. It will also include completion of the landscape design and amenities such as shade canopies and benches. The other phases will include the addition of sculptures and a water feature.

Townsend says that the Art Park will host a wide range of both public and private events, including art exhibits, plein air (painting in the outdoors) sessions, speaking engagements, private celebrations, weddings and more. The ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening are expected in October of this year.

Do you love art and are interested in donating to the Art Park? Contact Melissa Townsend at (352) 629-8447 or to donate. Tax deductible monetary contributions to the Tuscawilla Art Park matching grant fund may be made by contacting Barbara Fitos at (352) 507-8116 or by visiting


Mark your calendars! The beginning of 2015 is looking exceptionally entertaining in the music realm. From local events to those just an hour or two away, the wide array of concerts and musical genres means there’s something for every music lover this season.

Coming Soon: Reilly Arts Center

The Art Park isn’t the only new addition to the Ocala community. The Reilly Arts Center is the new headquarters for performing and visual arts. The center will seat approximately 650 people with a founder’s club upstairs. The Founder’s Club will contain a VIP lounge featuring a full bar, lofty amenities and amazing VIP balcony seats for events.

The hall will be the best acoustic space in the area and will host the Ocala Symphony Orchestra beginning with their 2015-2016 season as well as other performing arts groups. Other new features will include a covered outdoor stage for concerts, a grand lobby for local art exhibits, a refreshment bar, box office and larger parking areas. The Reilly Arts Center will also preserve the historic City Auditorium in Tuscawilla Park so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come.

24th Annual Young Artist Recital

Charles R. Dassance Fine Arts Center at the College of Central Florida Ocala

February 1 
(352) 351-1606

Hosting some of the region’s most talented young musicians, the 24th Annual Young Artist Recital will be the hot spot for music enthusiasts this February. Watch as local, young musicians compete for a $1,000 prize and a chance to be featured as soloists with the Ocala Symphony Orchestra at an upcoming event at the Ocala Breeder’s Sale Auditorium.

The competition consists of two age divisions, a Junior Division (ages 12-18) and a Senior Division (ages 18-25) and will be open to the public during finals on Sunday, February 1. For tickets, visit

Kris Allen

High Dive, Gainesville

January 17

Season eight American Idol winner, Kris Allen, will be local this January. This is an opportunity to experience his new songs from the album titled Horizons, live at High Dive in Gainesville. On Horizons, his third full-length album, pop-rock artist Kris Allen hones in on his songwriting and brings a bold presence to his songs. Tickets are only $13 in advance and $15 at the door.

Suwannee Springfest

Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak

March 19-21

(386) 364-1683

If you love all kinds of music from blues to funk, the Suwannee Springfest will become your newest tradition. Located at the beautiful, wooded Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Springfest will have four stages of authentic concerts spanning across three days. Buy a ticket for the day or grab a three-day pass and spend the whole weekend in a one-of-kind atmosphere.

Welcome to Rockville

Metropolitan Park

April 25-26

Dust off your black leather boots and bust out some red lipstick, Welcome to Rockville is back, and they’ve recruited some of the most popular names in rock. Slipknot, Korn, Godsmack and Slayer will headline this year’s festival with many other big names such as Breaking Benjamin, Of Mice & Men and more. Tickets are bound to sell out fast, so snag yours soon!

Rosanne Cash

The Phillips Center, Gainesville

April 3 / (352) 392-2787

Experience the sounds of the South with Rosanne Cash this April at the Phillips Center. With 21 Top 40 country singles and 11 No.1 hits, singer and songwriter Rosanne Cash’s new show is a must-see. Her show celebrates the release of her critically acclaimed album, The River and the Thread. Rosanne Cash, daughter of Johnny Cash, draws on a unique sound of country, blues, gospel and rock that surveys the beautiful landscape of the American South to produce an exciting new album.


Feeling inspired? Express yourself. DIY art studios are an excellent choice if you are looking to create your own art without investing a ton of money in supplies. Plus, it’s a great idea for playdates or a girls’ night out!


Picasso’s Palette

106 SW 17th Street, Ocala
(352) 789-6670

Picasso’s Palette offers both walk-in crafts and special class options. Their walk-in crafts include glass painting, glass fusing, pottery painting and mosaic constructing. Classes include these options plus canvas classes, culinary classes, clay hand building classes and multimedia. They also have a charming café that offers fresh gourmet cupcakes!

Painting With A Twist

4414 SW College Road, Ocala

(352) 368-7928

What goes perfectly with art? Wine! At Painting with a Twist, they’ll supply all of the fundamentals for creating exquisite art including artist instruction. All you have to bring is your inner artist and, if desired, the wine. Open classes are available for small groups or private parties are offered to groups of 10 or more.

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