"Gainesville is known as a supporter of the visual arts. Each year, two large art festivals attract artists and visitors from all over the southeastern United States.
Cultural facilities include the Florida Museum of Natural History, Harn Museum of Art, the Hippodrome State Theatre, and the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Smaller theaters include the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre (ART), Actors' Warehouse, and the Gainesville Community Playhouse (GCP). GCP is the oldest community theater group in Florida; in 2006, it christened a new theater building.
The presence of a major university enhances the city's opportunities for cultural lifestyles. The University of Florida College of the Arts is the umbrella college for the School of Music, School of Theatre and Dance, School of Art and Art History, and a number of other programs and centers including The University Galleries, the Center for World Art, and Digital Worlds. Collectively, the College offers many performance events and artist/lecture opportunities for students and the greater Gainesville community, the majority of which are offered at little or no cost.
Since 1989, Gainesville has been home to Theatre Strike Force, the University of Florida's premier improv troupe. In addition Gainesville also plays host to several sketch comedy troupes and stand-up comedians.
In April 2003, Gainesville became known as the ""Healthiest Community in America"" when it achieved the only ""Gold Well City"" award given by the Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA). Headed up by Gainesville Health & Fitness Centers, and with the support of Shands HealthCare and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, 21 businesses comprising 60 percent of the city's workforce became involved in the ""Gold Well City"" effort. Gainesville is well known for its music scene and has spawned a number of bands and musicians, including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stephen Stills, Don Felder and Bernie Leadon of The Eagles, The Motels, Against Me!, Charles Bradley, Less Than Jake, Hot Water Music, Loyal Revival, John Vanderslice, Sister Hazel, Hundred Waters, and For Squirrels. It is also currently the location of independent labels No Idea Records and Elestial Sound, and it is also the former home of Plan-It-X Records, which moved to Bloomington, Indiana. For two years, the Gainesville non-profit Harvest of Hope Foundation hosted the Harvest of Hope Festival in St. Augustine, Florida. Gainesville is also the home of www.FLAROCKS.com, the founders of 'Santa Jam' who hold concerts every December throughout North Florida as a toy fundraiser for sick, injured, and homeless children, as well as being a local musician showcase. Since 2011 they have distributed nearly 700 toys to hospitals, local churches & homeless charities, and to needy families across the area.
No Idea Records puts on an annual three-day rock festival known as The Fest, which typically occurs during the last weekend in October, coinciding with the annual Florida-Georgia football game (played in Jacksonville) to minimize tensions between the largely out of town music festival goers with the University of Florida students and alumni. . Annual cultural events
The Spring Arts Festival, hosted each year, usually in early April, by Santa Fe College (formerly Santa Fe Community College), is one of the three largest annual events in Gainesville and is known for its high quality, unique artwork.
The nationally recognized The Downtown Festival and Art Show, hosted each fall by the City of Gainesville, attracts award-winning artists and draws a crowd of more than 100,000.
The Hoggetowne Medieval Faire has attracted thousands of fairgoers for over 20 years.
The Gainesville Improv Festival provides a venue for new talent.
The Fest, a multi-day, multiple-venue underground music festival that has been held annually in Gainesville, FL since 2002.["