Thousands attend this year's Festival of the Arts

Special to The Log
Winner of Best in Show and $1,600 was Lena Reznik of Cumming, Georgia,, who works in oil and acrylic SPECIAL TO THE LOG

On a warm and sunny fall weekend, the Emerald Coast arts scene sparkled a little brighter.

More than 25 local and regional artists who ventured to the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast to exhibit in the 21st annual Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Festival of the Arts were awarded $10,000 in awards. More than 6,000 people attended the two-day signature art celebration held Oct. 29 and 30 in the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin.

“This signature cultural event wouldn’t be possible without the 37 festival sponsors, over 100 community volunteers and art enthusiasts who attend to support our arts and education outreach initiatives,” said Marcia Hull, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation CEO.

Festivalgoers deemed metal artist David Griesmyer of McConnelsville, Ohio, the 2016 winner of the People’s Choice Artist Award. His exhibit included life-sized metal sculptures including a foliage filled tree, a proud peacock and a wistful ballerina.

"We were thrilled to see 31 new artists join us for this year’s annual Festival of the Arts," said Deb Nissley, artist market chair and Festival co-producer. "We are vigilant about ensuring the festival includes quality artists and a variety of artistic styles and mediums, and I think this 21st anniversary year’s diverse range of winners reflects that.”

Event proceeds help to fund MKAF’s cultural season of events and arts education outreach programs that serve populations of students and families, including children and adults with special needs and a wounded warrior initiative for our returning combat military and veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder.