Festival of the Arts at Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village Oct 24-25
October 23, 2015 by SoWal Staff
Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) continues its 20th anniversary with the 20th annual Festival of the Arts Oct. 24-25, 2015 at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin, Fla. One of the Southeast’s premier festivals, the two-day signature features exhibits of more than 100 artists from 12 states (and one from Europe) showcasing a diverse palette of artistic styles and mediums.
Art lovers of all ages will be able to watch artists create works of art before your eyes, browse art from dozens of emerging new and student artists, and get hands-on in the interactive children’s art station. Beyond the visual arts, the Festival will feature two days of continuous live music and a sampling of the local culinary arts scene. Entertaining street performers, lively art drawings and the sale of colorful keepsake souvenirs — all create a family-friendly festival feel.
“We are thrilled to return to our original roots when this Festival was first born in 1995 and billed as “art on the lawn” by Southern Living magazine. Twenty years later we are proud to offer a world-class cultural art event that truly is a celebration of art, music, food and fun,” said Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation CEO Marcia Hull.
A Celebration of the Arts
The 20th annual edition of the Festival brings fresh art and new faces to the sugar-sand beaches of the Emerald Coast. This year artists will exhibit everything from oil paintings and fine photography to mixed media, mosaics, sculpture, clay ceramics, jewelry and more.
“After two decades, this Festival has become a popular and proven showcase for some of the best artistic talent nationwide who venture to Northwest Florida to compete for $10,000 in cash prizes,” said Deb Nissley, Festival Co-Producer.
Alexis Leader, director of cultural affairs for the Pensacola Museum of Art and Pamela Allen, chair of the Department of Art & Design at Troy University will award artist prizes in the juried and collaborative art categories. On Saturday, festival-goers are invited to vote for the “People’s Choice” Artist Award by casting a ballot located at the Main Festival Entrance.
One of the unique features of the Festival is the Collaborative Art Exhibit, which showcases the work of 25 seasoned and emerging adult artists and 60 local student artists competing for the $600 McIlroy Awards given in honor of the late Patricia McIlroy, Destin’s first First Lady and an MKAF advocate and patron.
Five local plein air painters will add to the Festival atmosphere by taking advantage of each day’s natural light to capture the scenic views surrounding the Cultural Arts Village and still life vignettes on canvas.
The Festival provides opportunities for all ages to interact and immerse themselves in the vibrant art scene. A team of volunteers in the Kid’s ArtStop Tent will work with young aspiring artists to create hands-on interactive art activities, pumpkin paintings, face painting, mask painting and other fun fall crafts, not-to-mention adding their individual flair to a group mural on canvas.
A Celebration of Music
Six local and regional musicians and bands will perform live throughout the weekend on stage at The Dugas Pavilion.
Saturday Jeff Glickman and the Panhandle All Stars (9:30-11:30 a.m.) a six-member ensemble kick off the Festival with their lyrical, slice-of-life bluesy-rock sound followed by the Indie/Pop band Continuum (noon-2 p.m.) featuring Anthony O’Shae on vocals, Jessica Heit on vocals and violin, Hope Given on guitar and Caleb Schossow on the “cajon” box. The Dharma Beats (2:30-4:30 p.m.) will closes out the first day with their progressive pop music laced with jazz and funk.
On Sunday, Noodle Soup (11 a.m.-noon) opens the Festival with an eclectic blend of light jazz and folk with a Celtic vibe, followed by Roman Street (12:30-2:30 p.m.) – an internationally trained instrumental band specializing in improvisational fusion of classical, gypsy and contemporary jazz, latin and nuevo flamenco performed by brothers Noah and Josh Thompson. Finally, Texas-born singer-songwriter-guitarist Joseph Ely (3-4:30 p.m.) closes out the Festival treating festival goers to a performance of music from the ‘60s to today’s radio hits.
The Art of Dining
The Festival has expanded its culinary arts experience, too. Cuisine on the Green will serve up samplings of savory gumbo and seafood from 790 On The Gulf, street tacos from The Big Red Truck, barbecue from Jim N’ Nicks, crab cakes and seafood-based bites from Firehouse Crab Balls along with tasty sweet treats by Rosey’s Kettle Corn, Mark’s Hawaiian shaved ice & funnel cakes and small cakes among others. Foodies can toast the arts with select domestic and imported wine and beer in the newly expanded Wine Bar & Beer Garden. Guests can gather with family and friends to enjoy their meal al fresco, while taking in the Festival scene and listening to the stellar music line up.
Art by Jeff & Jaky Felix of Joyful Imagination of Titus, Alabama
Festival Fun & Info
Buy Festival Merchandise! This year's official Festival guide, poster and t-shirt feature the “whimsically modern” artwork of Destin folk artist Andrea “Andi” Scurto, who will be exhibiting at the Festival. Scurto’s winning art centers on a simple, but bold color illustration - a reticulated giraffe (she aptly named “Mattie”) riding an enormous penny farthing-style vintage bicycle. Signed and numbered poster prints and souvenir t-shirts will be available for sale in the Souvenir Tent.
Win Art! At the Art Drawing Tent attendees may enter the charity benefit drawing for chances to win a range of original artwork generously donated by the 2015 Festival artists. The drawing will take place on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m., but attendance is not required to win.
Get the Guide! A free Festival Guide containing a roster of all artists, a map of the Festival site, the entertainment line up, a list of food & beverage vendors and other helpful hints on how to navigate through the Festival is available at the entrance.
Free Parking/Shuttle. Park for free at Grace Lutheran Church located adjacent to the Cultural Arts Village or at Emerald Coast Centre, located on Highway 98 near Beall’s Department Store, and ride the free continuous shuttle service right to the main entrance. The Cultural Arts Village is designed as an ADA compliant venue with available handicap parking.
Convenient Art Pick Up. Purchasers of large artwork or multiple pieces can obtain an “art pickup” pass from the Festival Main Entry Tent. For Festival fans using the art shuttle, simply return to the satellite parking at Emerald Coast Shopping Centre and display the official pass on the dashboard to gain access to the Festival entrance.
Get Involved! The Festival is sponsored, in part, by more than 30 local businesses and media partners, and is produced with the help of a team of more than 100 dedicated volunteers. Volunteer shifts are available by contacting Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Whidden at (850) 376-7391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Festival is open to the public and runs Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily admission is $5. The event is free to children under 12 and MKAF members. For more information visit MKAF online, call (850) 650-2226 and follow MKAF on Facebook.