Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Awarded One Million Dollar Project Gift

September 10, 2012 by SoWal Staff

The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation is pleased to announce a $1,000,000 gift from the Dugas Family Foundation for the project development of Phase 1B for the Amphitheater and The Village Green located at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin, Florida.

Laura Dugas, chair of the Dugas Family Foundation stated “Our foundation’s board very much respects and appreciates the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s commitment to the arts on the Emerald Coast, and to the youth of our community through their education outreach.  They believe in this project and they have not been deterred.  Their conscientious and enthusiastic leadership was a key factor underscoring our confidence in making this charitable investment.  We are optimistic that once the project is underway it will attract other stakeholders, ensuring the project’s success.” 

In 2007, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation implemented Phase 1A to relocate onto the property and develop administrative offices and a temporary event lawn to begin hosting cultural community events.  The arts foundation has an approved City of Destin Development Order to build a cultural arts village on a 52-acre parcel of property donated by the late Destin matriarch, Mattie May Kelly.  This property is centrally located just west of Destin’s historical downtown harbor district and north of Henderson Beach State Park. 

The Master Site Plan for the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village encompasses Phase One – Amphitheater and The Village Green; Phase Two – Multi-Purpose Building with Black Box Theater and Education Classroom Facility; and Phase Three – Artist Village designed for artist residency programs. 

The infrastructure improvements scheduled to be complete by Spring 2013 feature a permanent stage and canopy, clearing and sodding the existing Village Green to accommodate up to a 5,000 audience, additional onsite parking, a sculpture entranceway and a permanent 18-20 unit restroom facility.   Mayor Sarah “Sam” Seevers remarked “On behalf of The City of Destin, I cannot express how thrilled and proud I am to see the vision of the late Destin matriarch, Mattie Kelly becoming a reality. To see the dreams of this pioneer brought to life by caring members of this community reminds me why I love this city so much.  This phase of the Amphitheater and The Village Green will serve as a valuable cultural amenity for residents and visitors as a magnificent cultural hub for Destin. This cultural project will have a dramatic and ongoing impact on the region’s economy generating income, jobs and tax revenues for state and local governments.   I am so grateful to the Dugas Family Foundation for their contributions toward furthering the arts in our community. This project simply would not be possible without their tremendous generosity that will benefit future generations.”

 Phase 1B improvements will serve the immediate needs for cultural infrastructure improvements and serve as a tremendous benefit to the growing audience who attend the Concerts in the Park, relocation of the Destin Festival of the Arts in 2013 and increase utilization with more planned arts foundation events.  Other non-profit community organizations, corporate and private sectors are anticipated to utilize the facility for cultural and corporate events, weddings and other community functions. 

It will add to the continuing cultural development of our community’s quality of life, creating a new vibrant and aesthetic center with a new source of pride.  With the vision of Mattie Kelly, the Amphitheater and the Village Green will provide the setting to let the voices of art, music and culture ring loud and clear.  Not only will the community’s charitable support provide an educational, entertainment and inspirational value, but will leave a legacy to children and the future generations of Northwest Florida.
The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation is an independent 501-c-3 not-for-profit charitable organization located at 4323 Commons Drive West, Destin, FL 32541 and is not affiliated or funded by Northwest Florida State College or the Mattie Kelly Fine Arts Center in Niceville, Florida. Contact the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation at 650-2226 or visit online at  The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation mission is to be a leading art advocate supporting cultural arts and student educational outreach programs serving Okaloosa and Walton counties in Northwest Florida.


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