Folk artist Robin Cannon of Destin first time winner

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
Marcia Hull, CEO of MKAF, Robin Cannon and Deb Nissley, director of operations for MKAF, display the winning poster.

The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) has named Robin Cannon of Destin, Fla., the 2014 Festival of the Arts poster contest winner.

Cannon’s vibrant and playful acrylic painting centers on an art festival dotted with colorful tents capped with flying flags flanked by musical instruments and paint brushes.

The winning artwork will be used to promote the 19th Annual Festival of the Arts by being prominently showcased on the official festival poster, postcards, the festival guide, on the website, Facebook page and more.

Cannon, a mixed media folk artist who describes her work as “fun and funky,” has showcased her artwork in the Festival for the past two years, but she is a first time poster contest winner this year. “The Festival is just magical and to win the poster contest is a total thrill,” she said.

A panel of judges selected Cannon’s entry from10 finalist entries.

“We’re delighted the judges chose Robin Cannon’s piece,” said MKAF CEO Marcia Hull. “Her whimsical work has personality plus, just like she does. This piece really captures the sense of celebration we try to create at the Festival each year.”

Cannon was born in Bowling Green, Ky., and grew up in the Atlanta area, but she has lived in Destin since 1989. After raising her four children she began devoting more time to creating art, which she has done full time for the past seven years. Under the name Redbird Art, Cannon repurposes discarded wood, metal and other found objects into lively, animated mosaic-style paintings and folksy art pieces, many featuring whimsical birds that have become somewhat of a signature. Cannon’s colorful art can be found at Artesano’s in Fort Walton Beach and Flutterby Antique’s in Destin, as well as at local art shows, art walks and festivals. 

Like the birds she creates, Cannon’s spontaneous style appears to flit easily from one medium to another.

“I can go from mosaics to painting birthday cakes,” she said. “I love to paint, but then I love puzzles so I love to work with recycled things.”

Recognized as one of Northwest Florida’s premier fine art shows, the Festival of the Arts, produced by the MKAF, is one of the most anticipated cultural events of the year on the Emerald Coast. The event will be held on two days Saturday, Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Village Green and under the Dugas Pavilion within the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village, 4323 Commons Drive West in Destin. On-site parking, restrooms and a shuttle service will also be provided (staged from the Emerald Coast Shopping Centre, near Beall’s department store). Admission to the festival is $3 for adults; children under 12 are free.

More than 100 premier artists from across the United States will offer up their original artwork in the form of oil, watercolor, acrylic and glass paintings; photography, sculpture, pottery, wood, paper, fiber, mosaics, mixed media, jewelry designs and more in order to compete for more $10,000 in cash prizes, the most awarded yet.

The Festival of the Arts will also feature a Collaborative Art Exhibit, which showcases select artwork of more than 40 community adult and student artists. Other festival amenities include live musical entertainment, strolling performers, a bistro-style food court, a wine bar and beer garden, and a shaded Kid’s ArtStop offering hands-on arts and crafts projects for children.

To make a tax-deductible donation or provide a corporate sponsorship, or for more information about the Festival of the Arts, visit MattieKellyArtsFoundation.org or call 850-650-2226.