352Creates event promotes health and a thriving community through creativity

For the second consecutive year, a network of UF, UF Health and Gainesville organizations and businesses are hosting community-wide “pop-up” style art activities that aim to help promote health and community engagement in unexpected ways and locations. “352Creates,” a two-day participatory art-making event, will be held on Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25, throughout the 352 area code in Gainesville and North Central Florida.

“352Creates is a wonderful day that helps remind us of our uniquely human quality – creativity,” said Lucinda Lavelli, dean of the UF College of the Arts. “This special event allows people from across the community to be engaged with the arts, and it gives them the opportunity to tap into their creative side. We encourage everyone across the 352 area code to join us for this community-wide day of creating.”

There are several ways to get involved:

  • Create in Place on Friday, March 24 Local cultural groups, artists, community agencies, businesses and individuals are encouraged to ignite creativity at home and in the workplace by enjoying a hands-on creative project together.
  • Create in Community on Saturday, March 25 Everyone is invited to join the 352 community at Depot Park (200 SE Depot Ave., Gainesville) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to engage in a variety of hands-on art-making, performance and other activities. The events are free and open to the public, and anyone may host an event on Saturday.

For information on how to host a creative event or to view the event calendar, visit www.352Creates.com and/or find 352Creates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All events planned for March 24 and 25 will be promoted online with the hashtag #352Creates.

Need some inspiration for your “Create in Place” activity?

Activities can be as simple as gathering friends or coworkers to create “coffee-cup mandalas” or persuading old friends to “get the band back together” for an informal public concert. Host a sing-along, a poetry reading, a dance party or sidewalk chalk contest and see your inner artists come to life. In the process, you’ll have fun, make personal connections, reduce stress and increase your wellbeing. And, you’ll contribute to the excellent quality of life that makes the 352 region so unique.

To create a simple “coffee-cup mandala” coloring activity: Simply draw a circle, using an upside-down coffee cup as your guide for example, and color it in with a design and colors of your choice. This activity can help you reduce stress and express yourself with pencils, crayons, colored markers — whatever you wish. It’s about enjoying the playful process of making something. Visit www.352Creates.com and click on “Resources” to print the mandala handout.