“The Historic Thomas Center has been the cultural heart of Gainesville for over three decades. We are pleased for our guests to experience the beauty of this landmark and enjoy the programs provided to the community.”- Russell Etling

As Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, Russell Etling stewards the direction of the Cultural Affairs Division and directly oversees the Thomas Center Galleries and Art in Public Places programs, as well as organizing partnerships to produce events like the Jewel Box Concert Series. Prior to joining the City team in 2011, Etling enjoyed over 24 years of leadership in the museum field during which he served a 14-year tenure as President and CEO of the Miami Museum of Science. In his career, Russell has directed the development and/or presentation of dozens of major exhibitions including a 6-year national tour of a major traveling exhibition of art and artifacts that belonged to Napoléon Bonaparte and members of his Imperial Court.

Russell graduated with a Fine Arts degree in Theatre Management in 1977. While active in the entertainment field, Etling produced and directed a nationally televised halftime spectacular, promoted stadium concerts, staged numerous major fundraising events and, for four years, was production manager for Perry Como’s national concert tours.

Please contact Russell you would like information on current exhibits at the galleries, upcoming concerts and events, or other questions about the Cultural Affairs Division.

Phone: 352-393-8532
Fax: 352-334-2314
Office Hours: Monday–Friday, 9:00 am–5:30 pm

Headshot of Erica

“I am pleased to be able to share a unique level of expertise in meeting and event planning to all of our clients.”-Erica J. Chatman, CMP

As Facilities Coordinator, Erica Chatman oversees all the City meetings and rental events that take place at the historic Thomas Center and also supervises the Building Attendant staff.   Additionally, she is responsible for leasing the Lennie Kesl Studios at the Tench Building to local artists in need of private work space. As a Certified Meeting Professional through the Convention Industry Council, Erica can help you plan a meeting or social event of any size or budget. Erica came to work for the City of Gainesville in August 2008, after a successful career as an event planner for a non-profit organization, as well as a tradeshow coordinator for the long-term care industry. Erica holds a degree in English Education from the University of South Florida.

Please contact Erica regarding renting the Historic Thomas Center, Tench Building information or upcoming events.

Erica Chatman, CMP
Facilities Coordinator
Phone: 352-393-8539
Fax: 352-334-2144
Office Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 7:00 am–6:00 pm