Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation celebrates art, music, food and fun at 22nd Festival of the Arts


How do you frame up a festive, fall weekend on the Emerald Coast? Come take part in Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s 22nd annual Festival of the Arts.

With 38 new artists taking part, the event this weekend (Oct. 28-29) at the scenic MKAF Cultural Arts Village in Destin again promises to be a true celebration of art, music, food and fun.

One of the Southeast's premier art festivals, the two-day signature event features exhibits of nearly 200 artists from 13 states showcasing a diverse palette of artistic styles in 22 different art mediums from oil, watercolor and glass art paintings to clay pottery, ceramics, metal sculpture, mixed media, jewelry art and much more. Art lovers of all ages can watch Plein Air artists painting the landscape live, artists demonstrating their techniques in their tented booths, browse art from dozens of emerging new and student artists, and get hands-on in the interactive Kids ArtStop station.

First time Poster Art winners Tony and Vivian Zack will be at their booth to meet and greet art lovers, answer questions and sign the official 2017 poster featuring their whimsical “Can’t Catch Me” mixed media mermaid.

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.

Esteemed judges will award $10,000 in artist prizes in the juried and collaborative art categories. On Saturday, festivalgoers are invited to vote for the “People’s Choice” Artist Award by casting a ballot located at the Main Festival Entrance.

One must-not-miss feature is the Collaborative Art Exhibit, which showcases the work of 90 student and adult artists competing for the $700 McIlroy Awards.

Six sensational local and regional musicians and bands will perform live throughout the weekend on stage at The Dugas Pavilion:


Saturday, Oct. 28 

Drew Tillman, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Jeff Glickman & The Panhandle All Stars, noon-2 p.m.

Caravan, 2:30-4:30 p.m.


Sunday, Oct. 29

Noodle Soup, 10-11 a.m.

Roman Street, 11:30-1:30 p.m.

Melissa Joiner, 2-3:30 p.m.


The Festival 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 seated at tables 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 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Daily admission is $5. Proceeds from MKAF cultural events help fund arts education and community outreach programs serving K-12 students, adults and children with special needs and military and veteran populations coping with PTSD and TBI.

The event is free to children (12 and younger) and MKAF members. For more details, follow MKAF on Facebook and visit