Introducing A New Era for The Arts Council and Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville

A New Era

We are thrilled to announce the rebranding of The Arts Council and our primary downtown performance venue, the Smithgall Arts Center, in Gainesville.

After a series of board discussions and community stakeholder meetings, the need to clarify our message and consolidate the name that identifies of our flagship venue has been heard and addressed.

While the official name of our 501 C-3 nonprofit organization, The Arts Council, Inc., provides a general idea of our focus, the rebranding is designed to engage the community with the depth behind our role as a hub for the arts across Northeast Georgia. We seek to ensure every member of our community has a clear understanding of who we are and the work we do.

A Historic Venue

Once a train station, the Smithgall Arts Center is now the central gathering place (outdoors and inside) for outstanding performances, special events, and meaningful community collaborations. Over the years the community has referred to this historical venue by many names, including The Depot, The Train Station, and various others. The rebranding initiative establishes a distinctive identity for the Smithgall Arts Center and our organization.

A New Chapter

We are delighted to unveil the next chapter in the story of our organization and its historical venues. The rebrand showcases our commitment to creating destinations that offer exceptional artistic experiences and foster true community engagement. The rebrand highlights our mission to present opportunities for individuals to come together, celebrate creativity, and build lasting connections.

In this exciting time for The Arts Council and Smithgall Arts Center, we invite you to join us in our journey of cultivating a thriving arts community. Stay tuned for more updates and announcements as we unveil our refreshed brand identity. There is so much more to come!

Building Upon A Rich History

The Arts Council has been a dedicated and passionate advocate for the arts for over 50 years. Through programs, initiatives, and community engagement efforts, The Arts Council fosters creativity, culture, and artistic expression in Gainesville and surrounding areas.


In 1992, The Arts Council, Inc. made a significant acquisition, purchasing a former railroad depot nestled in Gainesville’s central business district. Built in 1914, the railroad depot, now the Smithgall Arts Center, stood out as the two-story railroad passenger station in northeast Georgia.

By May of 1996, The Arts Council completed renovations to the original structure and complemented it with an additional wing and atrium designed by architect Garland Reynolds. In honor of its major benefactor, Lessie Smithgall, the facility was renamed the Smithgall Arts Center.

With the community’s support, programming and events at the Smithgall Arts Center flourished throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s. Recognizing the potential for further expansion, The Arts Council saw an opportunity to optimize the use of their expansive 2.5-acre property for outdoor events and performances. In January 2020, a groundbreaking ceremony kicked off construction of the pavilion. By April 2021, this vision was a reality. The 6,300 square foot pavilion, with adjacent lawn seating for up to 2,300 guests, was completed.

The Smithgall Arts Center now hosts indoor and outdoor performances and arts programs that include Evenings of Intimate Jazz, Summer Music Series, Wellness Wednesday Yoga, Art Educators Exhibit, the Art Walk and other collaborative community events and fundraisers.