The Thomas Center Associates, Inc. is a non-profit 501c-3 organization formed in 1979 to support the Thomas Center for the Arts. Our all-volunteer group, guided by our Board of Directors, strives to protect, enhance and promote the Thomas Center. We partner with the city of Gainesville, who owns the building which began its life as a home over 110 years ago. It evolved into a hotel, then community college, and now is a cultural events center for the community as well as the offices of the city’s Cultural Affairs department.
To preserve the history, we have created for viewing three museum-level period rooms, with furnishings from the 1920’s and 30’s – The Parlor, Major Thomas’ Bedroom and The Major’s Office. Other spaces – The Lobby, the Lucille T. Maloney Conference Room, and the Sam Gowan History Room – have been decorated in period-style and are available to the public for meetings and other events. Our Board funds new acquisitions as well as replacement and refurbishment in coordination with our city of Gainesville partners. Helping the public appreciate and understand the history of the space through it’s various uses is our goal.
To educate the public, we offer various tours. The Associates fund school tours for any Alachua County fourth grade class as well as private schools throughout the area. Bus transportation is provided as well as a Docent to lead the children through the story of the Thomas Family who lived in the house and how that changed when the building was converted to the Hotel Thomas. Adult tours are also conducted for interested groups. Please email us at email@example.com if you would like more tour information. You may also take a virtual tour here on our website.
To beautify the grounds, we attempt each year to identify and fund a project in the garden. Ranging from small projects to large, we have removed old plantings and added beautiful new replacements. On any given day you will find people enjoying the public space – relaxing on the lawn, reading under a tree, playing fetch with the dog, doing yoga with a group or walking along the many sidewalks. We endeavor to make the community’s use of the space pleasant and enjoyable.
To promote the building, the Associates are responsible for decorating the building for the Holidays. All manner of garland, bows, lights and décor – not to mention the 20’ tall tree that’s erected in the Spanish Court – are there for all to enjoy. The display is on view throughout the month of December. You can also join us for our annual holiday party – The Jingle Bell Ball – held on the first Friday of December. If you’d like to be included on the invitation list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the city of Gainesville holds a free tree-lighting event on the first Saturday that is open to the public.