Walton County’s new Artist of the Year Andy Saczynski goes from doodles to oodles of acclaim

Andy Saczynski

New Walton County Artist of the Year Andy Saczynski and Cultural Arts Alliance Executive Director Jennifer Steele.

Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 11:23 AM.

Grayton Beach artist Andy Saczynski said he was shocked when he received the call last week from the Cultural Arts Association informing him that his work had been selected out of 13 applicants to represent Walton County for the coming year.

Walton County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Dawn Moliterno made the announcement Tuesday at the TDC's annual luncheon that Saczynski is the new Artist of the Year.

As Artist of the Year, Saczynski's work will be featured in the TDC's advertising and marketing campaigns promoting the area and in its public places.

The TDC and CAA began partnering in the Artist of the Year program in 2003. One artist is featured annually. Last year's featured artist was jewelry artist Allison Craft, who traveled to New York City and presented her pearls on leather to dignitaries there as goodwill gifts in promoting the area. Saczynski will have the opportunity to do the same.

CAA Executive Director Jennifer Steele said a panel of reviewers on a selection committee felt Saczynski distinguished himself by his work with the American Heart Association, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, and other organizations.

"He is a folk artist," said Steele, "who uses recycled and reusable items he finds in South Walton in creating his artwork. He uses acrylics, wood, metal, copper and even musical instruments to turn junk into funk and that is what stood out."

Saczynski says he has been an artist all his life, or at least since third grade when he was constantly doodling and drawing cartoon characters. He began taking it seriously during his senior year of high school. He won a fine art scholarship to Okaloosa-Walton Community College and studied there for two years. Four years ago he began looking at art as a career. He credits another Artist of the Year, Allison Wickey, in being instrumental in encouraging Saczynski to pursue his dreams.

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