Dive Into Creativity This May During Art Month

Art Month Walton County, an initiative led by the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton County and sponsored in part by Visit South Walton, will provide a full month of creative offerings in May, including the “Under The Sea” fundraiser for the Underwater Museum of Art, 34th Annual ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival, Longleaf Writers Conference, Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach, Gaffrey Art Material Warehouse Paint Party and “Anti-Shark Gravity Subsidiary Ikebana Animals”exhibition, Music on Main in DeFuniak Springs, Xanadu at Emerald Coast Theatre Company, Sinfonia Goes Pop in Alys Beach, events at J. Leon Gallery and The Foster Gallery, and more. All happenings take place in Walton County and are part of the Art Month mission to bring together communities, organizations and businesses to present quality and diverse arts entertainment.

Art Month officially begins Wednesday, May 4th in Grand Boulevard’s Grand Park with the ‘Under the Sea’ fundraiser presented by Coastal Conservation Association Florida in support of the fourth installation of the Underwater Museum of Art (UMA). Doors open at 6PM and guests are invited to view several of the UMA sculptures, enjoy a full cash bar with specialty cocktails, meet and greet with the artists, bid on auction items, and taste featured items from popular area restaurants including Black Bear Bread Company, Blue Mabel, Down Island Gulf Seafood Restaurant, Grayton Beach Catering, Grayton Corner Cafe, North Beach Social, Roux 30A/Nanbu, and Stinky’s Fish Camp. Then settle in for an intimate concert experience with Grammy-nominated bluesman and multi-instrumentalist Jontavious Willis. General admission tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door (if available). Tickets are on sale now at CulturalArtsAlliance.com/upcoming-events.

The UMA is a project of the CAA’s 'Art in Public Spaces' program created in partnership with South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) with the purpose to create marine habitat and expand fishery populations while providing enhanced creative, cultural, economic and educational opportunities for the benefit, education and enjoyment of residents, students and visitors in South Walton.

The 34th annual ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival will fill Grand Boulevard’s Town Center with over 100 exhibiting artists over Mother’s Day weekend. Produced by the CAA and presented by Grand Boulevard and Visit South Walton, ArtsQuest includes a CAA Member Exhibition, live art demonstrations, student exhibits, Art on Demand LIVE workshops, continuous live music, delicious food and beverage options, ImagiNation: where kids rule, and an exhibition of the Underwater Museum of Art sculptures.

New this year at ArtsQuest, the CAA is excited to bring its popular virtual Art on Demand series to the event. Art on Demand LIVE interactive 60-90 minute workshops, presented by The Alys Foundation, are scheduled throughout the festival weekend and include some of our most watched and best-loved episodes. Participants can take a painting session with award-winning local artists Allison Wickey and Justin Gaffrey, create crush-worthy cocktails with Christine Tarpey of Better Together Beverage, enjoy a guided tour of French wines with spirits expert Mike Jones or discover a new favorite wine while sampling several under the radar selections with Sommelier Casey Dunn. Workshops are ticketed separately and registration is available at CulturalArtsAlliance.com/upcoming-events.

ArtsQuest is a rain or shine event open to the public Saturday, May 7, 10am – 7pm and Sunday, May 8, 10 am – 5pm. A $5 donation per person is requested at the gate. A list of artists, the entertainment schedule and other details can be found online at CulturalArtsAlliance.com/arts-quest. ArtsQuest and Under the Sea are supported by First National Bank, Latitude Margaritaville, and Chiringo 30A.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Digital Graffiti is a one-of-a-kind projection art festival where artists use the latest digital technologies to project their original works onto the white walls of Alys Beach. This year’s event takes place Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14. Each year, the festival attracts international digital artists, filmmakers, musicians, interactive designers, photographers, VJs, producers, celebrities, agency executives and fans of art, technology and architecture. Visit DigitalGraffiti.com for tickets and details.

May 13 is the opening night of Xanadu presented by Emerald Coast Theatre Company. This Tony Award-nominated, hilarious, roller skating, musical adventure about following your dreams despite the limitations others set for you, rolls along to the original hit score composed by pop-rock legends, Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. Based on the Universal Pictures cult classic movie of the same title, which starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, Xanadu is hilarity on wheels for anyone who has ever wanted to feel inspired. For tickets and more information regarding performance dates and times, visit EmeraldCoastTheatre.org.

The 10th Annual Longleaf Writers Conference (formerly named Seaside Writers Conference) will take place in Seaside May 14 through 21, featuring award-win