The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County recently announced Executive Director Jennifer Steele has been appointed to serve on Visit Florida’s Culture, Nature, Heritage and Rural Committee for a one-year term that runs through June 30, 2018.

This committee works with Visit Florida to develop and promote the growing segments of nature-based tourism, culture, heritage and rural tourism to increase Florida visitors and promote extended stays for greater economic benefit and quality of life for all areas of the state. The Visit Florida committee is a volunteer position.

Steele has been the executive director of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County since 2008 and a part of South Walton her entire life, having spent summers in her Grayton Beach family home before making it her full-time residence in 2000.

After receiving a BFA from Valdosta State University and then working in the development office in Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts, Steele co-founded the Seaside Repertory Theatre, Northwest Florida’s first professional year-round theatre company. She served as The Rep’s managing director for seven years and then went on to form a consulting firm for non-profit development, organization, marketing and event production, which led to her current role as the executive director of the Cultural Arts Alliance.

Steele has served as chair of Walton County’s RESTORE committee, as a member of the Walton County Tourist Development Council and has chaired the TDC’s Arts, Culture, Events and Activities and New Product Development Committees. In 2016, she was awarded the TDC's Van Ness Butler Jr. Hospitality Award, which recognizes excellence in hospitality service, travel/tourism marketing, advertising, promotion, and contributions to the local community. As executive director, Steele has led the Cultural Arts Alliance through exponential growth parallel to South Walton’s with a goal to promote the arts as an industry and ensure arts and culture are part of the solution to community-wide issues.