Destin Forward project helping MKAF

Maddie Rowley | 315-4353 | @maddiedestinlog |
The Destin Forward class added landscaping to the left and right of the music pavilion to act as a type of guard for the large cables. [MADDIE ROWLEY/THE LOG]

Concertgoers at the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation will notice the beginnings of a new, bold addition to the Cultural Arts Village at the first show of the season on April 26.

A large, musical-themed mural painted on the wall of the restroom facility was commissioned by the Destin Forward class of 2018 as part of their class project.

Destin Forward, which is a nine-month-long program put on by the Destin Chamber of Commerce, focuses on community leadership by learning about Destin’s industries and the issues impacting the city.

This year’s Destin Forward class of 18 people raised about $5,500 to install landscaping at both ends of the stage and commission the husband-and-wife artist team of Tony and Vivian Zack to paint a mural on the blank wall of the restroom facility facing the stage.

"We bought all of the plants and then had enough to cover the artists’ costs and the paint for the mural," said Destin Forward 2018 class member Jennifer Gutai. "It took about three days to prep the wall to be painted and about four days to finish the landscaping.

Gutai, who is an attorney at Conerly, Bowman & Dykes in Destin, decided she wanted to sign up for the class after hearing about Destin Forward through her boss and another coworker.

"The class is awesome. I would recommend it to anyone in the area," Gutai said. "I’m not originally from here and I learned so much about the history of Destin, the community, and what the future here might look like."

Marcia Hull, CEO of the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, is looking forward to Tony and Vivian Zack’s finished product.

"Tony and Vivian were our poster winners from last year, and they’re local artists here in Destin, so we’re thrilled to have them give the open-air venue some more personality," Hull said. "All you can do is smile when you see the bold colors of the mural. It just makes you happy."

Hull said that she is grateful to the Destin Forward class for choosing the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation as their project.

"I’m delighted they chose us. They have put time and sweat equity into this project," Hull said.

Tony and Vivian Zack have been sketching and painting the mural on weekends and working around the recent inclement weather.

"The inspiration for the mural is everything music, which is right up my alley because I’m an ex-musician myself," said Vivan Zack.

Tony, who is a carpenter, is used to building things on a large scale and Vivan brings the abstract thinking to the project.

"We’re happy that they trusted us to paint the mural," said Vivian. "People should look for a few hidden things within the painting. We want it to be whimsical."