If you’ve ever been to Gainesville, FL, you know that it’s a vibrant college town with no shortage of cultural exposure. Mom-and-Pop coffee joints abound. The music scene is outstanding – this is the hometown of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Against Me!. And, of course, the often-neglected art museum is hallowed here. There are a great many museums in Gainesville – from private galleries to public collections – but here are a few that, in this resident’s opinion, really steal the show.
1. The Samuel P Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida
Containing almost 7,000 works of art, the Harn Museum is “one of the largest university-affiliated art museums in the United States” (Harn). Founded in 1990, the Harn has become an essential fixture both for University students and for Gainesville residents at large. The collections focus on African, Asian, modern, and contemporary art, and myriad media are displayed, including audio and video. Frequent social and fundraising events hosted by the Harn only serve to increase the museum’s popularity. In short, if you’re looking for the most established art museum in Gainesville, you’re looking for the Harn. Parking is plentiful, including a large garage, and it’s located right next to the Phillips Center for Performing Arts.
2. The Thornebrook Gallery
For those interested in a smaller, more specialized venue, the Thornebrook Gallery is another essential art museum for Gainesville, Florida. The gallery focuses on several artists, and the media are limited to oil paintings, photography, and watercolor. All the works are available for purchase, and the venue doubles as a center for crafts, jewelry, and framing.
3. The Lost Art Gallery
Another small venue, the Lost Art Gallery is a must-see. The range and style of the displayed works are simply astounding, and the quality and accessibility of the paintings makes it an enjoyable visit for pretty much anyone. According to their website: “Lost Art specializes in the sale of original 19th, 20th and 21st century European, American and Latin American Paintings and Antiques” (Lost Art Gallery). If that doesn’t advertise a diverse collection, nothing does.
4. The Thomas Center Galleries
Fully funded by the city of Gainesville, the Thomas Center Galleries open for limited time periods and display traveling pieces of impressive quality. Every show offers something unique, from esoterica to well-known works. A recently organized show features Salvador Dali’s “Hope,” and an upcoming exhibit will display artifacts and documents from a wide range of Eastern civilizations. For more information on the Thomas Center Galleries, including show dates and exhibition contents, you can visit their website.
Harn Museum of Art
Lost Art Gallery
Thomas Center Galleries