State Of The Art(s)

As the arts season takes center stage, gain access to previews, behind-the-scenes details and exclusive interviews for the best of this season’s local art scene. Jump backstage with David Dorfman Dance as they prepare for their “Prophets of Funk” performance, sneak a peek into one of Ocala’s finest art galleries and explore the rock star photography featured on Rolling Stone covers. With award-winning artists and performances on the way, we’ve highlighted a handful of this season’s must-sees.

Live Theatre

2. Tale Of Two Besties

Snow Queen

The Hippodrome

November 27-December 20| (352) 375-4477

Adapted from Hans Christian Anderson’s story, this tale of friendship and courage is a classic. Kai and Gerda’s bond is tested when Gerda embarks on a journey to rescue Kai from the Snow Queen’s spell. Full of magic, adventure, love and bravery, this is a performance for the whole family to see.

Did you know?

This art house began in a hardware/convenience store building in 1973, but opened the doors of its current building in 1980. It screens foreign and limited-release films, has produced more than 100 premieres and houses an art gallery for local artists’works.

2. Timeless Tradition

The Nutcracker

Marion Ballet Theatre

The Ocala Civic Theatre , Dates in December TBD (352) 629-6155

It’s an Ocala tradition that entertains and amazes audiences each year. Performed at the Ocala Civic Theatre, watch the Marion Ballet Theatre dancers illuminate the stage with the story of the Nutcracker. The whole family will enjoy the performance, complete with sugar plum fairies.

3. Killer Thriller

And Then There Were None

Sonnentag Theatre at the Icehouse, Mount Dora

September 18–October 11 or (352) 383-3133

For a thrill ride of a show, see author Agatha Christie’s murder mystery come to life when 10 strangers get stuck on an island, each guilty of a murder from their past. None were ever prosecuted, but when evidence from each murder emerges, guilt begins to eat them alive.

Did you know?

The Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse began in an actual old icehouse in 1948. The theater produced performances there for 10 years, until they were able to build a new facility on donated land. Then, in 2011, The Sonnentag Foundation gave the IceHouse a large donation to cover renovations, transforming the theater into what you see today.

4. Curtain Call

Rounding Third

Ocala Civic Theatre, October 8–18 236-2274

Rounding Third spotlights two Little League coaches who couldn’t be more different. Don, the head coach, has been there for years, but Michael is the new assistant coach who’s throwing a wrench in Don’s coaching style. While Don believes winning is the only thing that matters, Michael disagrees and focuses on what he believes to be the most important aspect of Little League baseball—having fun. Sit back and laugh through their comedic journey with the whole family.

Did you know?

The Ocala Civic Theatre began with a group of founders, The Marion Players, in 1950. The group produced theater performances at Ocala High School (now Osceola Middle) and the Osborne Theatre. But by the 1980s, the newly named Ocala Civic Theatre decided to build its current facility.

Gallery Getaway

To Be A Rolling Stone

Backstage Pass: Baron Wolman and the Early Years of Rolling Stone

Appleton Museum , November 7–January 10| (352) 291-4455

Baron Wolman was the chief photographer of Rolling Stone from 1967 to 1970, and his photos demonstrate how images can define and influence history. Browse Wolman’s photographs and issues of Rolling Stone at the Appleton Museum’s seven-week exhibition, featuring Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa. The Appleton Museum’s Curator of Exhibitions, Ruth Grim, shares more about the upcoming exhibition and what it’s like to be the museum’s curator:

How many art exhibitions does the Appleton Museum host each year, and how do you find art for them?

We do 15 to 17 temporary exhibitions a year, which is a lot for a staff this size, and find them from many different sources, including traveling exhibition companies, other museums and state and local collectors. And sometimes the exhibitions are generated in-house based on ideas that we come up with. 

What do you like most about the “Backstage Pass” exhibit?

When Exhibits USA (a traveling exhibition company) offered us Backstage Pass, we immediately jumped on it because of its cross-generational appeal.  Baby Boomers grew up with Rolling Stone magazine, and it’s an icon in the music and publishing industries.  Musicians knew they had “made it” when they got the cover of Rolling Stone and journalists and photographers such as Baron Wolman also considered it a career coup. 

What do you think the exhibit will say to viewers?

I guess I would hope that the fact that we are hosting this exhibition shows visitors from Ocala and beyond that we want to bring people with all kinds of interests here to the museum.  This is Ocala’s art museum, and although our collection is focused on more traditional forms of art, we want to augment it with other exhibitions for people young and old with different interests such as music history, photography, etc. 

2. Experimental Art


The Thomas Center, Gainesville, September 25–January 2 (352) 393-8532

Twenty artists were presented with identical objects and instructed to create new art in response to them. See the art each artist came up with and how the objects were interpreted differently at The Thomas Center Gallery art exhibit. Opening night is September 25.

3. Artsy Alley

Celebrating National Selfie Day building, downtown Ocala, September 351-ARTS

With more than 400 works on display, the gallery displays the work of 17 local artists. Find anything from wildlife woodcarvings and oil paintings to pottery, handmade jewelry, blown glass and note cards. Owner Linda Harlow is constantly changing the way the art is displayed.

“Usually the art is grouped by either color or theme,” she says. “A few months ago we [had] landscapes, figures, animals and still life.”

September begins the gallery’s fall season with the theme Celebrating National Selfie Day. “

Each artist will be creating a self portrait, and you can’t imagine what they have done,” Harlow says.

From October to April, the gallery will showcase the work of one particular artist in the “Creative Corner” of the gallery.

Alley Artist

Meagan Chaney Gumperthas displayed her work in the gallery since November 2012. Her art tells the story of regeneration within nature, and this season, you’ll find a few of her newest sculptures in the gallery.

What type of art do you have on display in Artist-Alley?

I have a variety of ceramic and glasswork on display at Artist-Alley that includes sculpture for both wall and tabletop display.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Nature is my primary source of inspiration. I stylize plant and animal forms to create fluid, simplified shapes. 

What’s your favorite medium to use in your art?

I enjoy the tactile qualities of clay and the translucent properties of glass when creating my mixed-media sculptures. 

4. Art Party

Toast To The Arts: Ocala Art Group Annual Juried Exhibition

Ocala Art Group

Appleton Museum, September 12–November 1

The Ocala Art Group’s fall exhibit celebrates art of all kinds and will include everything from original drawings, graphics and photography to mixed media, fiber and sculpture. Artists will be competing for the Best In Show award, so come to the opening reception on September 12 and stick around to see all of the amazing art.

Did you know?

The Ocala Art Group has been around since 1950, sponsors several art shows each year and provides educational workshops and programs.

Music Mayhem

Raise The Roof

Opening Night at the RAC!

Ocala Symphony Orchestra

Reilly Arts Center, October 23| (352) 351-1606

As the former City Auditorium, the Reilly Arts Center will open with a special performance by the Ocala Symphony Orchestra. Renovations began in March and will be finished in October, just in time for the big opening night performance. Here’s a preview of the performance and building renovations from the Symphony’s Executive Director Pamela Calero.

What makes this show a one-of-a-kind experience?

This will be an exclusive celebration and stellar performance! Guests will experience Gustav Holt’s The Planets with a live orchestra and cosmic video projections, as well as Ottorino Respighi’s Pines of Rome. Guests will enjoy the newly renovated Reilly Arts Center, featuring fantastic acoustics, state-of-the-art sound and lighting, and an interior that blends the original charm of the building with the luxuries of today. 

What will the Reilly Arts Center renovations give to the people of Ocala?

The Reilly Arts Center preserves a piece of Ocala’s rich history and many wonderful memories made by our citizens. The building will also serve as a cultural and economic hub for Ocala, inviting all arts groups to enjoy the opportunities this facility offers and showcase the great things that can happen when we all come together for our community!

What are the most notable new features?

Most notable features include the original steel bow trusses lofted above a 715-seat, stadium-style auditorium. The Live Oak Founders’ Club banquet room, located on the south side of the building, features a bar and patio that overlooks the majestic Tuscawilla Park. The RAC also features a spacious lobby, new acoustics and sound, and lighting equipment to make each experience not only special but high caliber.

What drove the decision to renovate the building?

The decision to renovate the building came from the Symphony’s desire to establish a permanent home in Ocala. This facility is not only for the Symphony but will be used to house local and non-local performance groups ranging from a rock concert to a ballet.

2. Rock And Roll

The Lovin’ Spoonful

The Orange Blossom Opry, September 12 (352) 821-1201

Best known for the hits “Do You Believe in Magic,” “Daydream” and “Summer in the City,” the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame group The Lovin’ Spoonful is coming back from the ‘60s with a live performance at the Opry.

Did you know?

They landed 10 Top 40 hits in two years during the ‘60s and earned their Hall Of Fame status in 2000.

3. Oldie But Goodie

Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone

Circle Square Cultural Center, October 16 (352) 854-3670

See Herman’s Hermits perform as the rock-and-roll stars they’ve always been with hits like “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter,” “There’s A Kind Of Hush” and more at their upcoming performance.

Did you know?

Peter Noone, the lead singer of the ‘60s band, became famous at age 15 and appeared on TV shows and several international publication covers.

4. Driven To Dance

David Dorfman Dance, “Prophets of Funk”

Phillips Center, Gainesville, November 10|(352) 392-2787

Creator of the “Prophets of Funk” show, David Dorfman tells us a bit about his company’s upcoming dance performance and how it relates to the funk of this life.

What got you into dance?

Well, I pretty much started as a disco dancer in college. A good old kick ball change was everything to me. So was the social aspect of dancing with one or more people and innovating in an improvisational sense while you danced. The ‘70s were rich for me. I saw Saturday Night Fever in the theater the week it came out when I was in college at Washington U. in St. Louis, and I was hooked. About four years later, I was studying seriously in an MFA in dance program in New London, Connecticut, at Connecticut College, where I now live and teach.

How would you describe your company’s performance?

For “Prophets,” my early platform heels/“Jewfro” dancing style was essential to the inspiration for this evening of dance. Our goal was to mix and match old funk steps with new ones and then mix those steps with modern and post-modern vocabulary so a hybrid is created and can stand for today’s funk in the world.

What can people look forward to when they see “Prophets of Funk?”

On many levels, the narrative is a classic arc of ascension to power (of Sly), fall from grace and redemption. We weren’t interested in a clear, literal narrative, rather one that would give a feeling or state in regard to these ideas and, in so doing, imbue the dance and the audience with a sense of tragedy, joy and hope.

5. Off Broadway Musical

Disney’s Beauty And The Beast

The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, October 12-13 (352) 750-5411

The classic Disney fairytale is coming to The Sharon in Broadway-musical style. With beautiful sets and all the musical hits, experience this beautiful love story in a spacious, multi-level auditorium. Doors open 45 minutes early for munching and socializing, but they won’t stay open for latecomers.

Did you know?

With just over 1,000 seats, The Sharon opened in April, having been transformed into a performing arts center comparable to the Phillips Center in Gainesville. With all kinds of Grammy Award-winning artists, Broadway-inspired performances and big name bands slated to perform this season, The Sharon is ready to entertain audiences from all over.

Festival Frenzy

Art Appreciation

49th Ocala Arts Festival

Downtown Ocala , October 24-25 (352) 867-0355

For nearly five decades, the Ocala Arts Festival has brought a large display of fine arts from all over the country to the local community. The whole family will enjoy an array of art, live entertainment on two stages, food trucks and kid-friendly activities. With more than 25,000 people estimated to attend, free parking and free admission, it’s certainly not an event to miss!

Did you know?

Fine Arts For Ocala (FAFO) was established with a goal to promote fine arts appreciation and education in our community. The 25-member board works to bring in up to 155 artists and craftsmen each year.

2. Family Fest

34th Downtown Festival and Art Show

Downtown Gainesville, November 14-15| (352) 334-ARTS

From culinary and performing arts to children’s art and one-of-a-kind creations, Gainesville’s Downtown Festival and Art Show has been nationally-recognized as one of the top 30 festivals in the country. Artists from all over the nation draw more than 100,000 visitors to stroll through the artfully transformed downtown area. Art in the form of ceramics, oil and watercolor paintings, sculptures, jewelry and photography have delighted festivalgoers for years.

Did you know?

There’s a place for the kiddos, too. Art education students from the University of Florida put an “Imagination Station” together for kids to inspire fun and creativity.

3. An Eclectic Mix

31st Annual Mount Dora Craft Fair

Downtown Mount Dora, October 24-25 (352) 217-8390

The city of Mount Dora turns into a bustling destination for more than 250,000 visitors eyeing the unique mix of arts and crafts from approximately 400 skilled artists and crafters. The crowded streets give way to street shops, providing visitors with more options for finding the perfect gift or work of art. Find ceramics, woodworking, sculptures and paintings, along with food and a weekend of fun.

4. Festival With A Purpose

McIntosh 1890’s Festival

McIntosh, October 24 591-4038

Originally established to raise money to move and restore McIntosh’s Old Train Depot built before 1890, the McIntosh 1890’s Festival now uses the money raised to provide scholarships for students and to fund community projects. The first festival, held in 1974, drew about 4,000 visitors. Now, the festival boasts about 35,000 visitors each year and hosts more than 250 vendors. The Old Train Depot serves as a museum and will be open on the day of the festival.

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