The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation has named Destin artist Kelly Pierre the 2019 Festival of the Arts poster contest winner.

Born and raised in Southern Louisiana, Pierre’s passion for arts sparked at a young age. As a child, he spent a lot of his time sketching marine life from the deck of his family’s shrimping boat.

He uses multiple mediums, oils, acrylics, clay, wood, and metal because Pierre believes that working with just one medium is restrictive to his artistic process and prefers to allow each idea to manifest on its own. Pierre’s studio is in the Harborwalk Village in Destin, where he finds inspiration in the wildlife and beauty of the gulf.

"People come here from everywhere," Pierre said. "They come here for the water, and it is what attracts everybody. The beautiful sand and the water. I think the vibe here is awesome, and they want to take that home with them. "

As the annual poster art contest winner, Pierre receives a cash prize of $500. The winning poster, which depicts a pelican, becomes the signature artwork to promote the 24th annual festival poster, postcards, the festival guide, T-shirts, and souvenirs, on the MKAF website, social media pages and more. Pierre's winning art will be on view at this year’s Festival of the Arts.

"Our festival team takes pride in providing a unique cultural experience for art enthusiasts of all ages," said Deb Nissley, MKAF Festival producer. "Every year, we welcome back some of our previous year's award-winning artists and introduce new and seasoned artists to the eclectic mix of a premier fine arts show."

The MKAF Festival of the Arts is one of the most anticipated cultural events of the year. The 24th annual event is set for Oct. 26-27 at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin.

A celebration of art, music, food and family fun, special features of the festival include a live music lineup, hands-on arts, and craft activities for children, souvenir posters and T-shirts, art raffle and more. A diverse menu is served by local restaurants and food trucks as well as a wine and beer garden including soft drinks and water. Convenient on-site parking and free shuttle service are also available.

General admission of $5 per person helps to fund the foundation’s annual cultural outreach activities and programs. Children 12 and under are admitted free, and MKAF members receive admission as a complimentary benefit.