More than 100 fine artists from the Southeast and cities across the country gathered in Destin last month to exhibit and compete for $9,000 in cash prizes at the 18th Annual Festival of the Arts juried art show held at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village. Local artist Juan Franciso Adaro, originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina who now resides in Santa Rosa Beach, received the coveted Best in Show and $1,500 cash prize for his contemporary artwork.

More than 27 artists were honored in a variety of categories. In addition to Best in Show, three Awards of Excellence, five Awards of Merit and 10 Judge’s Recognition Awards were given in recognition of exceptional talent and craftsmanship. Kathleen Schumacher, an oil painter from Niceville, was voted by the festival attendees for the popular People’s Choice Award

“We are delighted to have so many incredibly talented artists take part in the annual Festival of the Arts,” said Marcia Hull, executive director of MKAF. “We work hard to ensure the festival includes a variety of artistic styles and mediums. Our goal is to showcase many styles of art and connect art lovers with new artists. The new location at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village was an ideal setting for the visual artists, performing artists from the Dugas Pavilion and over 6,000 attendees.”