The Thomas Center Galleries Announce the Upcoming AQUIFERious: Enter the Springs Exhibition


The Thomas Center Galleries announce the opening of AQUIFERious: Enter the Springs, an expansive exhibition to be presented in the Historic Thomas Center’s Main and Mezzanine galleries from Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015 to Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. The opening reception for the exhibition is Thursday, Oct. 1 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

AQUIFERious: Enter the Springs is curated by Margaret Ross Tolbert, and is based on her award-winning book of the same title. A multi-media art experience in the truest sense, the exhibition will juxtapose Tolbert’s dramatic, large-scale springs paintings and eloquent poetry with contributing artists’ and scientists’ photographs, videos, cartography and writings. Featured will be the underwater photography by Jill Heinerth, Mark Long and Tom Morris, and springs maps by Eric Hutcheson, Georgia Shemitz and Jhwum-Ki-ak.

Among the most remarkable natural wonders of the Sunshine State is the seldom-seen, underground Floridan aquifer system, a 100,000 square mile life force that reaches into neighboring states and feeds more than 1,000 freshwater springs throughout Florida. AQUIFERious: Enter the Springs is intended to give the audience a greater understanding and appreciation of Florida’s subterranean water system, while celebrating its extraordinary beauty and that of the fragile springs that arise from the system’s depths.

The opening reception of AQUIFERious: Enter the Springs will be followed by a music concert inspired by the land and waters of Florida and beyond, performed by Patchwork, an award-winning, five-piece female folk/bluegrass group that is a favorite of Florida festivals. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. The reception and concert are free and open to the public.

Striking images from the exhibition can be viewed at

Over the course of the exhibition, the Thomas Center Galleries will present a number of programs and opportunities for discussion about the springs, and how they serve as a rich platform to connect art and science.

Companion events include:
Deeper into AQUIFERious: A Conversation with the Contributors
Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. (Galleries open at 6 p.m.)
The world-renowned artists, cave divers, scientists, mapmakers and writers who contributed to the “AQUIFERious” book and exhibition share their research and passion for the springs and the aquifer.

Extreme Adventures: Cave Divers Tell Their Stories
Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. (Galleries open at 7 p.m.)
Discoveries, rescues, breakthroughs and thrills abound when the modern-day explorers share their experiences in the fantastic springs caves of north Florida.

Immersed: An Evening of Springs Films
Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. (Galleries open at 6 p.m.)
Noted directors take the stage to screen segments from their films including: Jill Heinerth’s “We are Water,” Bill Belleville and Bob Giguere’s new “Hidden Secrets of Florida Springs,” “Eric Flagg’s Ichetucknee Springs,” Lesley Gamble’s otherworldly films, the creators of the Sirena film shorts and others.

Wet Talks: Springs Lovers’ Show and Tell
Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. (Galleries open at 6 p.m.)
Adding their voice to AQUIFERious, enthusiasts will be given three minutes to share their springs passion, efforts or expertise in photography, poetry, writing, or simply the spoken word. To participate, call 352-393-8185, bring a flash drive and/or sign up at the event to take your turn at the podium.

The Thomas Center Galleries are located at 302 NE Sixth Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday from 1-4 p.m. The galleries are closed for observed holidays. For additional gallery information, please contact Russell Etling, cultural affairs manager, at 352-393-8532 or visit