The Walton County Tourist Development Council announced Oct. 15 that Mary Hong has been named the 2014 South Walton Artist of the Year. Now in its 13th year, the Artist of the Year program has grown to showcase a collection of local artists who offer a wide range of mediums. Through this program, the TDC promotes the destination’s thriving arts community and places the spotlight on a talented artist each year. 

Hong has been a professional artist for more than 20 years and has been working with glass the last 13 years. While her work is melted and shaped glass from a kiln, her work can be described as non-traditional mosaic. Her work is inspired by South Walton’s coastal environment with her use of marine life, birds, and coastal landscapes. The work is all created with recycled glass which aligns with South Walton’s focus on preservation and sustainability.

She finds inspiration not only in the spectacular landscape, beaches, coastal dune lakes, and pine forests throughout our nature preserves, but also in the South Walton color palette with shades of turquoise, soft teals, slivery grey and other windswept hues that complement her glass pieces.

“South Walton is not a single brush stroke, note played, stitched sewn, pixels captured, knot tied, nor object found to be repurposed — South Walton is a graceful and often times eclectic combination of all of these, representing all of the vast styles and art forms,” said Jon Ervin, director of Marketing and Communications for the TDC. “This year not only was someone named as The South Walton Artist of the Year, but four more local artisans will be recognized for their creative work in our community.”

This year’s honorees included Performer of the Year Mike Witty, Photographer of the Year Chandler Williams, Painter of the Year Juan Adaro, and Designer of the Year Stephanie Carter in addition to Hong.