'We don't want to miss a beat'

Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation to raise $105,000 to repair storm damage

Annie Blanks | 315-4450 | @DestinLogAnnie |
This 2013 photos shows the stage canopy at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village. [FILE PHOTO|DAILY NEWS]

Feb. 7 started out as a normal day in Destin. A bit cloudy, for sure, but usual for winter time. 

In the trailer on the property of the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin, director Marcia Hull and several staff members didn’t pay much attention when it started to rain. Then, all of a sudden, a microburst of hurricane-force winds left the village pavilion in tatters and the people inside the trailer shaken.

“It all happened so quickly, there was no way we could move out of the trailer,” Hull said. “We looked out and it was like ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ We could see the wind and stuff blowing around in it.”

The storm on Feb. 7, which National Weather Service officials identified as straight-line winds and not a tornado, caused property damage to much of Destin, Okaloosa Island and Niceville. The cost of the damage at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village has topped $100,000, and the nonprofit is now seeking community support to raise the funds.

“There was no wind insurance on this, so it was a total loss,” Hull said. “We have projected that we need a little over $105,000 to cover everything.”

The money will go toward replacing the white canopy that hung over the main stage, a concession stand tent and portions of a privacy fence.

There were concerns that the loss of the canopy would put a hold on the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s annual summer concert series, but Hull said the show will go on with or without the canopy. The concerts are too important, she said, in raising money that the foundation needs to fund its various outreach programs, which include education in K-12 schools and programs for veterans and special needs adults. 

“The events that we hold in this venue are a significant financial resource to cover our operations, and then we have our net profits that help to fund or match grants we get for outreach,” Hull said.

Hull said they have already raised $11,000, but continue to look for help everyone in the community to raise the funds necessary to bring the concert venue back to life.

“We don’t want to miss a beat,” she said. “Whether you can give $10, $100, $1,000 or $10,000 or more, everybody should feel like they have ownership of this facility because it belongs to everybody in this community.”

Donations can be made directly by visiting, or mailed to MKAF, 4232 Commons Drive West, Destin, FL 32541.