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Find Creativity Around Every Corner at Art Week South Walton, May 9-20

Events taking place throughout south walton including a special exhibition & live demo with billy the artist, an underwater museum of art fundraiser with shawn mullins band, the 30th annual artsquest fine arts festival and more.

Art Week South Walton, an initiative led by the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton County and sponsored in part by Visit South Walton, kicks off Wednesday, May 9th with a soirée to celebrate a Special Exhibition and Live Demo from internationally renowned artist Billy the Artist, as well as the recently selected Summer Rotation Artists at The Foster Gallery in Grand Boulevard.

The Art Week calendar is full of creative offerings, including an ‘Under the Sea’ fundraiser for the Underwater Museum of Art featuring Shawn Mullins, the Northwest Florida Theatre Festival, ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival, Longleaf Writers Conference, Explore Creativity with Justin Gaffrey at the Justin Gaffrey Gallery, Equation Exhibition Opening at the Justin Gaffrey Gallery, Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach, and an Art Week Bash at Modus Photography Gallery in Grayton Beach. All events take place in South Walton and are part of the Art Week South Walton initiative to bring together communities, organizations and businesses to present quality and diverse arts entertainment. For details on each event, visit

The Foster Gallery, which is the CAA’s professional artist collective showcasing over a dozen rotating regional artists, special exhibitions and featured guests, will host the Art Week Kick-Off soirée on Wednesday, May 9th from 6 – 9 PM in the gallery located at 560 Grand Boulevard, Suite L101 (across from Grand Park). The gallery will feature the work of the recently chosen local and regional Summer Rotation artists, in addition to a special exhibit and live mural demonstration by the internationally renowned and New York City-based artist, Billy the Artist. Guests will be able to interact with all the artists while enjoying wine, light bites and music.

Billy the Artist (BTA) is an internationally renowned artist whose studio is based in the East Village of New York City. His projects and designs have been seen all over the world for such clients and global brands as Swatch, Viacom, Lamborghini, The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Museum, New Balance Shoes, Sony, The Champs Snowboarding Championship in Leysin, Switzerland, Gibson Guitar, Smart Car, Suzuki, Hyundai, Toyota, Mountain Dew, MTV, Puma, Microsoft, Chock Full O Nuts, Vans shoes, Cow Parade, race car driver Danica Patrick, Fashion Week Athens and Madrid, Enesco, Goebel and currently the designer of the new Nescafe Dolce Gusto machine world wide.

Mural projects include Woodstock 99, Art Basel Miami, Casa Décor Miami, Delaguarda, The Rio Casino Las Vegas,  the Broadway, National, and London productions of the musical RENT. His paintings have hung at the prestigious Forbes Gallery as well as other galleries in New York, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, New Orleans, Austin, Cleveland, Mexico City, Hamburg, Paris, Carib Fine Art in Curacao, Foxx Galerie Zurich, Minsheng Art Museum Shanghai, Surge Art Fair Shanghai, and The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. Billy has been published in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Elle, US Weekly, Juxtapoz, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, and numerous other magazines and newspapers around the globe. He has appeared on MTV, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, TLC, DISCOVERY, 60 MINUTES and other feature programs all over the world.

The mural BTA paints during the kick-off event will be auctioned off the next evening during the ‘Under the Sea’ Underwater Museum of Art (UMA) Fundraiser with Shawn Mullins and his band, Soul Carnival, on Thursday, May 10 from 7 – 10 PM in Grand Park. The UMA is a presentation of the CAA’s ‘Art in Public Spaces’ program in partnership with South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) and will augment SWARA’s mission of creating marine habitat and expanding 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.

Many of the sculptures created by Marek Anthony, Justin Gaffrey, Rachel Herring, Kevin Reilly, Vince Tatum, Evelyn Tickle, and Allison Wickey will be on display at the fundraiser and throughout the weekend during the ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival before they are transferred to Orange Beach, AL to be prepared for their deployment into the Gulf in a one-acre permit patch of seabed off Grayton Beach State Park.

The event begins with a VIP hour from 6 – 7 PM where VIP ticket holders are invited to enjoy a meet and greet with the artists, live music, open bar and light bites, as well as preferred seating for the Shawn Mullins concert. Doors will open at 7 PM for general admission event goers to bid on auction items and sample special menu items while enjoying an intimate concert experience with Shawn Mullins and his band, Soul Carnival. A cash bar will be available featuring signature Art Week cocktails. A limited number of VIP tickets remain and are $100 / person. General admission tickets are $50 / person in advance and $60 / at the door (if available). In addition to the Billy the Artist mural, auction items include an UMA Sculpture Sponsorship valued at $5,000, reservations for two to the Allison Wickey Sculpture Deployment Party with Galati Yachts and more. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased in advance online, here.

Justin Gaffrey Gallery (21 Blue Gulf Drive in Blue Mountain Beach) invites everyone to “Explore Creativity with Justin Gaffrey” on Thursday, May 10 from 10 AM  – 6 PM. Attendees are encouraged to make a masterpiece as Justin teaches art lovers of all ages how to create a small palette knife painting, just in time for Mother’s Day. Supplies are included in this free family day at the Justin Gaffrey Gallery. Then on Friday, May 11, Justin will present a new body of work entitled “Equation: Moveable Art that Saves the World” from 6 – 9 PM at the Justin Gaffrey Gallery.

The 30th annual ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival will fill Grand Boulevard’s Town Center with over 150 exhibiting artists over Mother’s Day weekend. Produced by the CAA and presented by Grand Boulevard, ArtsQuest includes a CAA Member Exhibition, live art demonstrations, continuous live music and performances, delicious food and beverage options, ImagiNation: where kids rule, and an exhibition of the Underwater Museum of Art sculptures. ArtsQuest is open to the public Saturday, May 12, 10am – 7pm and Sunday, May 13, 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

The 5th Annual Longleaf Writers Conference (formerly named Seaside Writers Conference) will take place in Seaside May 13 through 20, featuring award-winning, visiting authors Tom Franklin and Jill McCorkle. Other special guests include Oxford American Editor Eliza Borné, Ballantine Books/Random House Senior Editor Sara Weiss, and literary agent Annie Hwang. Full conference registrations and a la carte seminars are available, along with options to participate in special events throughout the week, including personal consultations, readings and a low country boil. Register and purchase tickets online at

May 16 is opening night of the Northwest Florida Theatre Festival featuring 24 performances by theatre groups and playwrights from around the Southeast. Presented by Emerald Coast Theatre Company, the Festival runs nightly through May 20. Tickets range from $15 – $25 per show for adults and $10 for children 5-12.  All access passes are also available for $100. For tickets and more information regarding performance dates and times, visit

Join the Modus Photography team on Thursday, May 17 from 5 – 8 PM for an Art Week Bash at the Modus Studio Gallery (39 Logan Lane, Grayton Beach) featuring new art from Chandler Williams, door prizes, live music, food, drinks and more.

Celebrating its 11th 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 18 and Saturday, May 19 culminating with a DG brunch on Sunday, May 20. 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 for tickets and details.

Art Week South Walton sponsors include Grand Boulevard, Visit South Walton, Dugas Family Foundation, Grayton Beer Company, Courtyard Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard, White Dog Insurance, the University of Mississippi, The Seaside Institute, Sundog Books, Oxford American Magazine, Emerald Coast Magazine,, The Walton Sun, The Destin Log, The Beachcomber, Cecelia Baker, Wine World, Hibiscus Coffee & Guesthouse, Amavida, UPS Store Grand Boulevard, Cabana Man, and The Donut Hole. Additional event sponsors are listed on individual event websites.


MAY 9 ART WEEK SOUTH WALTON KICK-OFF PARTY FEATURING BILLY THE ARTIST LIVE DEMO The Foster Gallery, 560 Grand Boulevard, Suite L101, Miramar Beach 6 – 9 PM

MAY 10 EXPLORE CREATIVITY WITH JUSTIN GAFFREY Justin Gaffrey Gallery, 21 Blue Gulf Drive, Blue Mountain Beach 10 AM – 6 PM


MAY 11 EQUATION EXHIBITION OPENING Justin Gaffrey Gallery, 21 Blue Gulf Drive, Blue Mountain Beach 6-9 PM

MAY 12 – 13 30th ANNUAL ARTSQUEST FINE ARTS FESTIVAL Town Center in Grand Boulevard, Miramar Beach

MAY 13 – 20 LONGLEAF WRITERS CONFERENCE Academic Village and other locations in Seaside, FL and Hibiscus in Grayton Beach

May 16 – 20 NORTHWEST FLORIDA THEATRE FESTIVAL 560 Grand Boulevard, Upstairs, Miramar Beach

May 17 ART WEEK BASH WITH MODUS PHOTOGRAPHY, 5 – 8 PM Modus Studio Gallery, 39 Logan Lane, Grayton Beach



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