The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF), a not-for-profit charitable arts organization founded in 1995, brings Atlantic Coast Theatre to Okaloosa and Walton Counties.

Recently, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (Destin) Community Outreach impacted 5,700 children in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. The original touring productions, “The Snow Queen” and “The Reluctant Dragon,” by The Atlantic Coast Theatre (A.C.T.) for Youth, entertained 20 school groups and Boys and Girls Clubs in the area. Through the generosity of the Dugas Family Foundation, and Keith and Laura Howard, this two-week artist residency program has enabled MKAF to deepen its outreach focus on offering meaningful arts-based learning to “at-risk” youth, Title 1 schools, and students in under-served or rural areas.

"We were delighted to be able to inspire and educate so many local youths through live theatre — a modality that is inherently engaging," said Melanie Moore, education director, MKAF. "We further appreciate how each A.C.T. production is accompanied by a study guide exploring state and national learning standards, underscoring our commitment to being a proactive education partner to our local school districts."

This residency, as part of MKAF's Community Outreach Arts Empower initiative, has helped MKAF exceed the total numbers of all other programming from 2018, in the first quarter of 2019, making it one of the most successful programs in the history of the organization.

"On behalf of the faculty and students at West DeFuniak Elementary, I would like to thank the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation for providing our children with the performance by the Atlantic Coast Theatre," said Darlene Paul, principal, West DeFuniak Elementary. "This is such an enriching experience for our student population. Your efforts are truly appreciated."