The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) announces the first-ever Art Week South Walton (AWSW), an initiative bringing together neighborhoods, organizations and businesses to present quality arts and entertainment. Sponsored by Visit South Walton, 2016 Art Week includes ArtsQuest, Digital Graffiti, ECLive! and the Seaside Writers Conference, and will take place May 7th-20th in numerous venues throughout South Walton.
“This is the inaugural year of what we hope will become an anticipated annual collaboration among artists, galleries, non-profit organizations and other businesses throughout South Walton,” said CAA Executive Director Jennifer Steele. “Our community has so much creativity to offer, and our goal is for May to be filled with diverse cultural events, large and small, in all of our unique neighborhoods.”
Art Week begins May 7th & 8th with the twenty-eighth year of ArtsQuest, a fine arts show located at Grand Boulevard in Sandestin. The exhibit provides visitors the opportunity to view and purchase the work of over 200 fine artists from around the country, including original work by 2016 Featured Artist Matt Lyons, a contemporary artist living in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.
In addition to the arts exhibition, ArtsQuest caters to visitors of all ages and interests, families and individuals alike, offering heritage art demonstrations, a CAA member artist exhibit, a Walton County student exhibit, and ‘ImagiNation: where kids rule,’ an area dedicated to crafts and play.
Live music and entertainment on three stages will include performances by The DownBeat Jazz Orchestra, Caravan, The Dharma Beats, The Steenos, Chris Alvarado, Schatzi & The String Boffin, Kyle LaMonica, Sterling Tyler, Kyle Paxton, Emerald Coast Theatre Company, The New Orleans Ramblers, Dismal Creek, Ohana Records and the Seaside School band.
A full cash bar will be available throughout the weekend in Grand Park. On Saturday night, ArtsQuest will partner with Cantina Laredo to present a special Cinco de Mayo celebration in Grand Park featuring live music by the Modern Eldorados, food, beer and margaritas.
ArtsQuest is open to the public and a $5 admission donation is requested. Visit Artsquestflorida.com for more information.
Following on the heels of ArtsQuest will be ECLive, the area’s first professional singing competition in which one contestant will win a professional studio recording session, radio airplay, professional headshot session, new style wardrobe, a $500 cash prize and a live gig over Memorial Day Weekend. Pre-qualifiers take place May 5 and May 6, and professional judges will choose the winner at the final competition on May 12th at 7:00pm at LuLu’s Destin. Tickets are $25 and up with all proceeds benefitting Emerald Coast Theatre Company. Register for the competition and get more information at EmeraldCoastLive.com
Art Week continues May 13-15th with Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach, a one-of-a-kind display where artists use the latest digital technology to project their original works onto the iconic white walls of the town. Also referred to as “Photon Bombing,” “Guerilla Projection” or “Urban Projection,” Digital Graffiti brings innovative artists together from all over the world to celebrate and showcase their unique talents and compete for thousands of dollars in cash prizes. The festival attracts digital artists, filmmakers, musicians, interactive designers, photographers, VJs, producers, celebrities, agency executives and fans of art, technology and architecture.
“Digital Graffiti is thrilled to partner with the Art Week South Walton initiative led by the CAA. Generating awareness for South Walton’s artistic endeavors is incredibly important to Alys Beach and The Alys Foundation,” said Alys Beach Director of Events Kelli Siler. “We are proud to be a part of a program that highlights South Walton’s thriving cultural community.”
For more information about Digital Graffiti and to purchase tickets, visit digitalgraffiti.com.
For those looking to hone their writing skills and network with other writers, the 3rd annual Seaside Writers Conference, a weeklong gathering of creative writers from all over the nation, begins May 14th. The Conference features award-winning writers in poetry, fiction and screenwriting who will offer a full week of intensive writing workshops, one day seminars, school outreach programs and social events. Seminars are hosted by professional editors and one-on-one consultations are offered by literary agents.
This years’ headlining author Andre Dubus III (House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, Townie) and Elizabeth Stuckey-French (The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady, Mermaids on the Moon) will each lead a seminar and reading while guest literary agents Alex Glass (Glass Literary Agency) and Duvall Osteen (Aragi, Inc.) will offer one-on-one consultations with attendees.
Conference co-founders and faculty Matt Bondurant (The Wettest County In The World, made into the film Lawless; The Night Swimmer) and Seth Brady Tucker (Mormon Boy; We Deserve The Gods We Ask For), are joined by visiting faculty member Rebecca Makkai, the Chicago-based author of The Hundred Year House and recipient of a 2014 NEA fellowship, to lead intensive workshops throughout the week.
Registration for the Seaside Writers Conference is open through May 7th. All participants who pay the full tuition fee will be able to take part in all daily activities, while those paying a la carte pricing will have the pick of which classes and workshops they would like to attend. Registration available at seasidewritersconference.com.
For a complete schedule of Art Week South Walton events, visit artweeksouthwalton.com.