Self-taught artist is first time winner of annual poster art contest

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
Destin's Andi Scurto is the 2015 Festival of the Arts poster contest winner.

The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) has named Andrea “Andi” Scurto of Destin the 2015 Festival of the Arts poster contest winner.

Scurto’s winning art centers on a simple, but bold color illustration — a reticulated giraffe (she aptly named “Mattie”) riding an enormous penny farthing-style vintage bicycle.

The winning artwork will be used to promote the 20th 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.

Scurto, who primarily works on commissioned pieces and shows her art at her private Destin studio by appointment, is a self-taught mixed media artist whose work ranges from portraiture, caricature and illustration to abstract and modern-impressionism.

Describing her work as having a “whimsically modern style,” Scurto enjoys working in a variety of mediums including colored pencil, pastel, acrylic, marker, watercolor, paper collage, plaster of Paris and digital art.

This is the fourth year Scurto will show and sell her work at the Festival of the Arts. Locally, she also has participated in the ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival (2013) and the Gulf Breeze Celebrates the Arts (2013). Though she has entered the poster contest in previous years, this is the first time she has won the coveted honor of being named the annual MKAF Poster Contest Winner.

 “I believe that art has power … it’s amazing how much we crave it, and I am just very grateful for this honor,” Scurto said.

Born in Green Bay, Wis., Scurto, 32, says growing up in a Hispanic household has played a part in her artwork. “I grew up with lots of flavorful food and non-stop salsa music … that taught me to love life and to live colorfully every day and I think that influences my art,” she said.

Scurto relocated to the Gulf coast in 1991 and currently lives in Destin with her husband, Joseph, and their dog, Lola. A professional artist since 2011, Scurto has received two All Time Best awards from Fan Art Review magazine. The Beachcomber magazine selected her artwork for its cover twice, and it has also been featured in The Destin Log newspaper.

Special Touch Gallery and Charles Johnson Gallery have exhibited Scurto’s work and in August pieces of her work will return to the Destin Library for a second showing as part of its 75th anniversary celebration.

“We’re delighted the judges chose Andi Scurto’s light-hearted piece,” said MKAF Artist Market Chair Deb Nissley. “Her whimsical work is a departure from our poster art from recent years and so adds a fresh, new sense of celebration to our special 20th anniversary event this year.”

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. This year’s 20th annual event set for Oct. 24-25 at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin will be especially festive since it also marks MKAF’s 20th anniversary.

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 Festival 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.

Admission to the festival is $5 for adults; children under 12 are free. Proceeds from the Festival help MKAF live its mission of supporting both emerging artists and education outreach.

To make a tax-deductible donation or provide a corporate sponsorship, or for more information about the Festival of the Arts, visit www.mattiekellyartsfoundation.org/pr/newsreleases-foa.htm or call 850-650-2226.