The History of FAFO Events


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Fine Arts For Ocala is a non for profit organization incorporated in 1972 with a simple mission;

To promote the appreciation of the Fine Arts, and to enhance art education within our community.

F.A.F.O. was started in 1966 with a group of community members who wanted to bring art to Marion County. It was incorporated in 1972, and since then, they’ve been supporting art education through scholarships and various community programs throughout the year, as well as supporting the local art-based organizations in Ocala.

The FAFO board consists of no more than twenty-five community minded volunteers. These individuals, from a variety of backgrounds, work tirelessly year-round to bring the Ocala Arts Festival and the Symphony Under The Stars to our Community.

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F.A.F.O. has brought The Symphony Under the Stars to the Ocala community, since 1988. The Ocala Golf Club has been the location for this Mother’s Day concert. The Ocala Symphony Orchestra has been contracted to provide the marvelous music. Continually voted as one of the favorite events in our community, it is a fun evening of seeing family, friends, enjoying a picnic, listening to good music and being dazzled by the ending fireworks display.

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On the 4th Weekend in October, The Ocala Art Festival comes to Downtown Ocala, featuring outstanding artists, wonderful music, food trucks, beer, wine, artwork from Marion County Students, talented young people performing and some hands-on art activities, all in a 2-day event.

We hope you will be part of these two amazing events!


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Article written by Dean Blinkhorn

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Historical Timeline

1966 First Ocala Art Show

Program from the first Ocala Art Show, held in 1966.

  • Organized by John Wulbern of Monroe and Chambliss Bank, (then Barnett Bank and currently Bank of America), and Samelia King of the Ocala Junior Woman’s Club.
  • The first show was held in the bank parking lot and had $3000.00 in prize money.
  • About 200 artists at the first show.
  • Since the show was so successful they formed a fund raising group called “Fine Arts for Ocala.”
  • The yearly art show continued and successfully drew artists and patrons.

FAFO Board members Pam Clark (seated right) and David and Susan Moring with Margaret Watts, (left) an accomplished artist in her own right.

FAFO Board members Pam Clark (seated right) and David and Susan Moring with Margaret Watts, (left) an accomplished artist in her own right.

1972 Fine Arts for Ocala became incorporated

  • Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State.
  • Purpose: Promote and encourage appreciation of the Fine Arts in the community; to promote means and opportunities for the education of the public with respect to the Fine Arts and to promote, encourage and advance the common interest of the public, artist and patrons in the community.
  • First officers included:

• President Jack Clark
• Secretary Margaret Watts
• Treasurer Samelia King

  • First Auction Party held at the Ramada Inn to raise money for the art show. Ticket price was $10.00 per couple and the profit was $7,190.00.

1973 Board of Directors established with thirteen board members.

  • Board members: Jack and Dorothy Clark, John Wulburn, Samelia King, John McKeever, Michael Berryhill, R.V. Rickenbach, Margaret Watts, Jack Winterbotham, Ed Franklin, Hal Reid, Betty Rickenbach, Sue Hill
  • To celebrate the incorporation of the board the first Annual FAFO Dinner was established.
  • Art Show was named “Images in Art”

1974 The 9th Annual FAFO Art Show sponsored a Children’s Concert by the Florida Symphony Orchestra

1974 — the first children’s art show was incorporated into the main show.

1974 — the first children’s art show was incorporated into the main show.

  • The first Children’s Art Show was incorporated with the Art Show.
  • Students were awarded ribbons for their artwork
  • FAFO established the “Purchase” award. The FAFO President chooses a piece of artwork from a participating artist to hang in the FAFO office and sold at the Annual Auction Party.
  • 1975 FAFO partnered with the Ocala Junior Women’s Club to open “The Gallery”
  • Grand opening was held at 10 NE 1st Street on May 29, 1975. (Concord Square)
  • Series of parties were held at members’ homes for a nominal admission price to continue to raise funds for the art show.
  • Board members grew to 20 active members

1983 FAFO established a scholarship in honor of the late Joel Reicherd, to present to a Marion County student who is planning to major in art.


1988 First Annual Symphony Under the Stars at Polly Palmer Park.


Interesting Facts on the History of FAFO

1966-1972 Fundraising was crucial for the success of the art show. Some interesting initiatives took place to raise funds which included:

  • Bridge parties
  • Barbeques
  • Teas
  • Fashion Shows
  • Poker Parties
  • Antique auctions

1972 Auction Parties* became the fund raising effort which lasted 16 years. Some of the locations for the Auction Parties included:

  • City Auditorium
  • Bank lobbies
  • Ramada Inn
  • Hilton

*Al Scudder and Red Mitchum were the auctioneers


Donna Leeward, artist, selling her work to a patron.

Donna Leeward, artist, selling her work to a patron.

1975 Gallery had featured the notable artist Robert Singelton from Loch Haven

  • Local Artists were encouraged to visit and show at the Gallery
  • All FAFO purchased artwork from each show was in the Gallery
  • CFCC had produced a TV show at the Gallery
  • Ocala Junior Women volunteered to work at the Gallery

Board make up

  • The FAFO board has had hard working board members since the board was formally established in 1972
  • Approximately 580 members of the community have been closely involved with volunteering with FAFO or as active board members
  • Board members have included many notable community members including artists, bank presidents, doctors, lawyers, educators, law enforcement, business owners and entrepreneurs.

FAFO has enhanced the arts in the community through sponsorships and donations to the following:

  • Student Scholarships
  • Marion Performing Ballet
  • Ocala Civic Theater
  • Appleton Museum
  • Florida Symphony Orchestra
  • TAG Art
  • MAXX
  • Ocala Symphony Orchestra
  • Marion Cultural Alliance
  • Public Education Foundation
  • The Downtown Business Alliance
  • Sculpture Competitions at Tuscawilla Park
  • Donation of “Lofted” a Sculpture at Tuscawilla Park
  • First Friday Art Walk

“Thank You for Supporting the Arts in Our Community”