ArtsQuest Celebrates 25 Years May 10-12

May 2, 2013 by SoWal Staff

ArtsQuest Fine Arts & Music Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new location at the WaterColor Inn & Resort. ArtsQuest will be held Mother's Day weekend, May 10-12, and feature special activities including Back to Grayton, WineQuest, TreasureQuest and Songs on the Lawn. 

"We're excited about the new location," said Jennifer Steele, executive director of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA), producer of the festival. "The beautiful setting within Cerulean Park and Marina Park provide the perfect centerpiece and the festival will extend to the streets and unique spaces throughout WaterColor."

ArtsQuest weekend features 130 exhibiting artists, art workshops, live demonstrations, music, and more. One of the largest arts festivals in the Southeast, ArtsQuest attracts talented artists from around the country to South Walton to participate in the juried art show and compete for $10,000 in cash awards. Exhibiting artists' mediums include glass, metal, mixed media, and sculpture, among many others.

New this year, Chan's Wine World is partnering with the CAA to host WineQuest, wine and cheese tasting. With a passport in hand, wine lovers will have the opportunity to try wine and cheeses from five of the world's top wine-producing regions--Italy, France, Chile, Spain and South Africa. The wine stations will be arranged throughout the festival and guests who purchase a WineQuest passport may use it in a single day or throughout the weekend.

Kids will have their own Quest! Parents may purchase a map to TreasureQuest, a hunt that leads children throughout the festival looking for clues that lead them to "ImagiNation-Where Kids Rule." With their TreasureQuest map in hand, children will enjoy a treasure trove of interactive arts and crafts stations that encourage creativity.

Children may also sign up for special workshops, including Camp WaterColor's wax hand workshop and Meyer Skimboards' custom designed skimboard workshop. The ImagiNation Stage will have family-friendly performances by Seaside Neighborhood School Band, Ohana Institute Bands, 30A Dancewave, Seaside Rep Storytelling and Boxtop Jenkins.

For adults interested in developing and expanding their skills, ArtsQuest features two of the CAA's most popular workshops at various times on both Saturday and Sunday. Carol Dickson will lead a basket weaving workshops and Sharon Long will teach watercolor workshops throughout the weekend. Each participant will go home with a special self-made piece of art.

South Walton is home to a thriving arts community and talented local artists' works will be on display at the "Betty & Johnny CAA Member Tent." More than 40 local artists will show their work and compete for the coveted "Best in Show" award and a $250 cash prize.

As the sun sets on Saturday, "Songs on the Lawn" lights up WateColor's Marina Park with a concert under stars. This past January, two songwriters made their South Walton debut at the 30A Songwriters Festival. Cory Chisel with his musical partner Adriel Harris and Asheville-based Kellin Watson will headline the 2nd annual Songs on the Lawn on Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available for this special evening performance. Throughout the festival, entertainment will be taking place continuously on one of five stages.

ArtsQuest began as a small community gathering along Hotz Ave in Grayton Beach in 1988. Over the years, the festival has enjoyed many scenic locations, including Eden State Gardens, the Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin and Seaside. In honor of the festival's humble beginning in Gratyon Beach, the CAA will once again host "Back To Grayton," a reunion event that brings art and music lovers back to the place where it all started 25 years ago. Hibiscus Coffee & Guest House will host of the special gathering in the “Backyard of Love” and 30A Songwriters Festival audience favorite, Humming House, will take the stage to entertain the crowd.

Presented by Visit South Walton and the St. Joe Foundation, ArtsQuest Fine Arts and Music Festival includes free and ticketed events. ArtsQuest will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free, but a $5 entry donation is suggested. Complimentary shuttle service will be provided from Publix Super Market in WaterColor Crossings on CR 395.

“Back to Grayton” takes place Friday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Hibiscus and is $10 or free for CAA Members. "Songs on the Lawn" will be held on Sat., May 11 at 7 p.m. and tickets are $20 per person for general admission and $300 for a VIP table for 10. Picnic dinner baskets for 10 may be pre-ordered by calling (850) 231-7768 by May 8th. (Coolers, outside food and beverages and pets will not be permitted inside the concert area).

Volunteers are always appreciated and anyone interested in volunteering may contact Renee at the CAA office at 850-622-5970. Passes for workshops, WineQuest and TreasureQuest may be purchased on-site or in advance by visiting or call 850-622-5970.


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