“Entering the springs and immersion in the waters has a miraculous effect,” she says. “I overheard one kid say before he dove into Royal Springs, ‘When you go in the springs, it’s like you start your life over.’”
Artist Annie Pais is displaying an oil painting of Gilchrist Blue Springs. She says her work is part of a bigger movement to spread awareness about the poor state of the area springs and the need for government intervention.
“These beautiful fountains of youth are so valuable and so precious and unique to our part of the world, and the state is letting them degrade,” she says.
Cortada, whose mixed media installation is titled “Prime: Residual Fountain of Youth,” will be doing an in-person performance with his installation at the Thomas Center on May 2 at 5:30 p.m.
Russell Etling, the city of Gainesville’s cultural affairs programs coordinator, worked with O’Connor to organize the exhibition and says the Fountain of Youth myth is a useful way to explain Florida’s appeal to outsiders. People of all ages are attracted to Florida, with its swaying palms and lapping oceans, for its seeming ability to renew and rejuvenate its inhabitants.
“For generations, people have come to Florida to be revived and to stay young. Though there may not be a real fountain, the region itself has many healing properties,” he says.