Fine art welcomed more than 2,000 art lovers to the 25th Annual Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) Festival of the Arts. The two-day signature art celebration held Oct. 24 and 25 in the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin, Fla., featured exhibits of more than 65 premier artists from across the United States showcasing a diverse palette of artistic style.
"In its 23rd season, the Festival of the Arts has evolved into a signature cultural event that supports the Foundation and our Community Outreach programs serving those who lack access to the arts through guest artist residencies with impactful and powerful interactive experiences with therapeutic benefits for the arts."
- Marcia Hull, CEO, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation
Guest judges Darlene Crosby Taylor, Director of Public Art and Exhibitions for Thomasville Center of the Arts, and Kenneth Bridger, Art American Multidisciplinary Artist, awarded 27 ribbons that each included a cash prize. Honors were given for one "Best in Show", three Awards of Excellence, five Awards of Merit, and 10 Judge's Recognition Awards. Awards were given to artists whose work reflected exceptional talent and craftsmanship.
Best in Show artist, Kelly Rysavy (photo right) traveled from Tallahassee, Fla., to exhibit her Renaissance-inspired art pieces. Rysavy, a first-time festival exhibitor, layers rich earthy colors and a delicate play of light against form to create a velvety texture that breathes life into the canvas.
"I am honored to have been chosen for Best in Show in a festival with so many talented artists. This was my first year participating in the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundations Festival of the Arts and I look forward to coming back next year."
- Kelly Rysavy, MKAF 2020 Festival of the Arts, Best in Show Winner
The Best in Show Adult winner of the Collaborative Art Exhibit was awarded to William Osnabrugge and the Best in Show Student winner was Veronika Jacobson from Fort Walton Beach High School. The Collaborative Art Exhibit features adults and students competing for the Special McIlroy Awards in honor of the late Patricia McIlroy, Destin's First Lay, and an MKAF advocate and patron.
MKAF will begin accepting artist and poster entry applications for the 2021 Festival of the Arts in February 2021, which is scheduled to be held on Oct. 30-31, 2021.
Artists honored as follows:
Best in Show Winner ($1,600)
Award of Excellence Winners ($800)
Award of Merit Winners ($400)
Judge's Recognition Award Winners ($200)
Kelly Nichole Gardner
People's Choice Award ($800)
Poster Art Contest Winner ($500)
Collaborative Exhibit Winners
Best in Show ($250) William Osnabrugge - Oil on Panel
Adult 1st Place ($100) Autumn Johnson - Large Mouth Bass
Adult 2nd Place ($75) Melanie Moore - Coastal Dreamscape
Adult 3rd Place ($50) John Groah - Sailboat Marsh
Best in Show - Student ($200) Veronika Jacobson - Mysterious Cat - FWBHS
Student 1st Place ($100) Erin Bauduin - Erosion- FWBHS
Student 2nd Place ($75) Connor Cross - Tangled- SWHS
Student 3rd Place ($50) Francine Caballa - Movement- FWBHS
Thanks to the generous support of 50 business partners and media sponsors and a team of more than 100 volunteers, art lovers of all ages watched artists create works of art, browsed and purchased art from dozens of emerging and student artists, and engaged at the interactive children's art station. Beyond the visual arts, the Festival featured six music acts performing two days of continual live music and a sampling of the local culinary arts scene. Live blacksmithing demonstrations, entertaining street performers, and the sale of souvenirs set the tone for a family-friendly festival.
"Thank you to all the artists and festival guests who came out to the festival this weekend. After a rainy start on Saturday, the sun came out as well as festival goers and everyone enjoyed shopping in beautiful weather on Saturday and Sunday."
- Deb Nissley, Director of Operations, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation
Event proceeds help to fund MKAF's cultural season of events and community outreach programs that serve populations of K-12 students and families, including children and adults with special needs, at-risk youth, and a wounded warrior initiative for our returning combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
For more information on how you can become a member of MKAF or provide a donation, please call (850) 650-2226 or visit mkaf.org
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