The eye-catching art competed with the Emerald Coast’s namesake water last weekend.

More than 100 artists packed up their portraits, paintings, photographs, and sculptures and set up shop at Henderson Beach State Park for the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s 17th Annual Festival of the Arts.

The event drew artists from all over the Panhandle and the country — participants from at least 12 states were present for the two-day long festival and a few artists were even from Walton County.

Henderson has hosted the festival on their property for nine years, but this is going to be the last year it's going to be held at the state park.

Next year, the festival will be held at the new amphitheater site of The Village Green at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village, just north of Henderson. Plans call for the site to one day become a year-round arts village.

"It's going to be hard to leave the beautiful beach scenery, the welcoming staff and park rangers at Henderson and the 'Friends of the Emerald Coast State Parks' but it's very exciting to know that we'll have a permanent home," said Marcia Hull, executive director of the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation.
Artists at the festival work with tons of different media — everything from acrylic and watercolor to metal and wood.

Due to last weekend's windy weather, the artists, who were huddled under white tents with their work, had to get a little creative to keep objects from flying away. Some of the artists tied things up; some had to weigh objects down.

Festival judges awarded a number of prestigious awards, including the "Best in Show" award that went to Lonnie Rich (stone and wood sculpture) of Navarre and the "People's Choice" award, which went to Mary Hong (mixed media) of Destin. Juan Francisco Adaro (mixed media), a Santa Rosa Beach resident, was one of the three winners of the "Award of Excellence."