ArtsQuest Fine Arts & Music Festival at Grand Boulevard May 8-10

March 16, 2015 by SoWal Staff

ArtsQuest, a fine arts festival produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) and presented by Visit South Walton and Grand Boulevard at Sandestin reveals Amanda Bennett as the Featured Festival Artist. The 27th annual festival, a Mother’s Day weekend tradition, is scheduled for May 8-10, in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin’s Town Center.
ArtsQuest is a juried fine arts festival featuring over 100 artists in various mediums including but not limited to ceramics, glass, oil and acrylics, photography, sculpture, metal and wood. These exhibiting artists from around the United States will compete for awards and cash prizes totaling $10,000. The event is open to the public and a $5 admission donation is suggested.  For more information on exhibiting artists and a full schedule, visit
Inspired by Bennett’s artwork, ArtsQuest will be styled in a French circus theme with traveling entertainment, jugglers, stilt walkers and more. The Grand Park Main Stage will feature continuous live musical performances for the entire family with a special Friday night by Boukou Groove. 30A Dancewave, the Emerald Coast Theatre Company, The REP, 30A Ballet and the Ohana Institute will all perform in ArtsQuest’s “ImagiNation (where kids rule),” which also feature arts activities and a student art exhibit.
The festival will also serve as the setting for the exhibition of the Full Plate Project, CAA’s joint fundraiser and community-wide art project and fundraiser with Food for Thought Outreach. Plates painted by children and adults in the community will be sold with proceeds funding arts in education and food for children in need.
Live art demonstrations, a CAA Member exhibit featuring over 50 artists, and the new “Gallery Lane,” showcasing a select number of regional galleries, will round out the weekend. A full cash bar and food offerings will be available in Grand Park.
Amanda Bennett remembers painting with her grandmother as a child, who used a spatula as her primary tool. However, it wasn't until years later, staring at the blank walls of her loft in Birmingham, Alabama, that she rediscovered her passion for the process of creation. Though it began as a practical answer to the abject poverty of life after college, this act of thrifty outfitting inspired her to cultivate her own unique style, a place where process demands as much attention as its end result.
As a Huntsville, Alabama native, Bennett moved to Nashville eight years ago where she finally got serious about her art. Her music inspired art gained local attention, as her signature guitars found their homes in local digs such as Fanny's House of Music on the east side. When Bennett finally decided to release the paces of nine to five living, her art reflected her transformation. She moved through a transcendent few months of abstracts and then awakened one morning from a night of mixed media dreaming.
If you're wondering where you'll find Bennett lately, it's snapping crazy cool shots of local characters and characters around Nashville and beyond, most recently capturing the soul and local flavor of the Mississippi Delta and New Orleans. Her latest series demonstrates her ever-evolving and rare perspective, a photographic journey of tales untold in the way Deep South. She has taken two things she loves, acrylic mediums and photography, and transformed them in to a funk style mash up on plywood for your viewing pleasure. 
However, Bennett is never too far from her grandmother's easel, creating art inspired by the technique and the soul of her teacher.
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) is a Local Arts Agency that supports the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs and education. The vision of the CAA is to be the catalyst for Walton County's growth as a destination for cultural and artistic excellence through which lives are enriched, economy is stimulated and community is strengthened.     


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