A long-standing tradition in South Walton, ArtsQuest Fine Arts & Music Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) and presented by Visit South Walton and the St. Joe Foundation, ArtsQuest will be held Mother's Day weekend, May 10-12, at WaterColor Inn & Resort.
"The CAA is so proud of the evolution of the festival, which began as a small community gathering in Grayton Beach 25 years ago," said Jennifer Steele, executive director of the CAA. "Over the last two decades, the festival has outgrown locations throughout South Walton and today includes performing art, music, food, wine and special events."
As a tribute to ArtsQuest's modest beginning in Gratyon Beach, the CAA is hosting "Back To Grayton," a reunion event that brings art and music lovers back to the place where the festival started 25 years ago. Hibiscus Coffee & Guest House will host the special gathering Friday in the “Backyard of Love” and 30A Songwriters Festival audience favorite, Humming House, will take the stage to entertain the crowd.
ArtsQuest kicks off Friday evening, May 10, at WaterColor Resort Inn & Resort with 130 exhibiting artists set up throughout Cerulean and Marina Parks for the juried fine arts show. Festival attendees areinvited to explore the diverse range of mediums, while an esteemed panel of judges reviews the artwork in the categories of ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, oils & acrylics, original digital art, photography, sculpture, wood and works on paper. In all, ArtsQuest awards $10,000 in cash prizes.
"We're excited about the new location," said Steele. "The beautiful setting within the parks provides the perfect centerpiece and the festival, which will extend to the streets and unique spaces throughout WaterColor."
Art, music and culinary events will be featured throughout the festival, ensuring there is something for everyone in the family. Art workshops, including watercolor with Sharon Long and basket weaving with Carol Dickson, will be held at various times on Saturday and Sunday. Continuously throughout weekend, entertainment and live music will be featured on one of five stages. Artists will share their craft through live art demonstrations and kids are encouraged to show their creativity at art stations within ImagiNation — Where Kids Rule!
As an enhancement to the festival experience, Chan's Wine World is hosting WineQuest. With a passport in hand, wine lovers will enjoy wine and cheese pairings from five of the world's top wine-growing regions — Italy, France, Chile, Spain and South Africa. While perusing the artist booths, guests will have the opportunity to try Prosecco, Rose, Viognier, Rioja, and Spice Route Chakalaka.
As the sun sets on Saturday, "Songs on the Lawn" lights up WateColor's Marina Park with a concert under the stars. This past January, two songwriters who made their South Walton debut at the 30A Songwriters Festival are headed back for an encore performance. Cory Chisel with his musical partner Adriel Harris along with special guest, Kellin Watson, will share their blues-influenced songs within the spectacular lakeside setting. Tickets are $20 per person for general admission and VIP Tables for 10 are available for $300. Picnic dinner baskets for 10 may be pre-ordered by calling (850) 534-5003 by May 8.
ArtsQuest will take place 4-7 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free, but a $5 entry donation is suggested. Complimentary shuttle parking is conveniently located at Publix Super Market in WaterColor Crossings on CR 395. ArtsQuest is open to the public and will take place rain or shine. To learn more visit www.ArtsQuestFlorida.com or call 850-622-5970.