MKAF Celebrates Art, Music, Food and Fun at the 20th Annual MKAF Festival of the Arts in Destin

Special to The Log
This year, 25 new artists will participate in displaying everything from oil paintings and fine photography to mixed media, mosaics, sculpture, clay ceramics, jewelry and more.

For two decades, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) has given the Emerald Coast an amazing way to frame up a festive, fall weekend with the Festival of the Arts. This year’s event, set for Saturday, Oct. 24 and Sunday, Oct. 25 at the scenic MKAF Cultural Arts Village in Destin, is just one more way MKAF is celebrating its 20th anniversary is grand style.

One of the Southeast's premier art festivals, the two-day signature event features exhibits of more than 100 artists from 12 states showcasing a diverse palette of artistic styles in 18 different art mediums. Art lovers of all ages can watch artists create works of art in their tented booths, browse art from dozens of emerging new and student artists, and get hands-on in the interactive children’s art station. Beyond the visual arts, the Festival will feature two days of continual live music and a sampling of the local culinary arts scene. Entertaining street performers, lively art drawings and the sale of colorful keepsake souvenirs — all create a family-friendly festival feel.

The 20th annual edition of the Festival brings fresh art and new faces to the sugar-sand beaches of the Emerald Coast. This year, 25 new artists will participate in displaying everything from oil paintings and fine photography to mixed media, mosaics, sculpture, clay ceramics, jewelry and more.

After nearly two decades, this Festival has become a popular showcase for some of the best artistic talent nationwide who venture to Northwest Florida to compete for $10,000 in cash prizes.

Alexis Leader, director of cultural affairs for the Pensacola Museum of Art and Pamela Allen, chair of the Department of Art & Design at Troy University will award artist prizes in the juried and collaborative art categories. On Saturday, festival-goers are invited to vote for the “People’s Choice” Artist Award by casting a ballot located at the Main Festival Entrance.

One of the unique features of MKAF’s Festival is the Collaborative Art Exhibit, which showcases the work of 85 student and adult artists competing for the $600 McIlroy Awards.

In addition to art exhibits, six local and regional musicians and bands will perform live throughout the weekend on stage at The Dugas Pavilion. Here is the line up:

Saturday, Oct. 24

Jeff Glickman and the Panhandle All Stars, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Continuum, noon-2 p.m.

The Dharma Beats, 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 25

Noodle Soup, 11 a.m.-noon

Roman Street, 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Joseph Ely, 3-4:30 p.m.

The event celebrates the art of dining, too. Cuisine on the Green will serve up samplings of savory and sweet bites from area restaurants and caterers along with adult beverages in the Wine Bar & Beer Garden. Gather with family and friends to enjoy your meal al fresco, while taking in the Festival scene and listening to the stellar music line up.

The Festival is open to the public and runs Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily admission is $5. Proceeds benefit MKAF’s cultural arts programs. The event is free to children under 12 and MKAF members. For more details, visit MattieKellyArtsFoundation.org.