DESTIN — Dean Merceron has come to the Destin Festival of the Arts every year since he started vacationing on the Emerald Coast. He says there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else.
"It’s important to us that all the artists are local and there’s a variety, which is exactly what they have," Merceron said Sunday afternoon. "There’s an assortment of medians from glass and found objects to wood work and paintings — there’s everything.
The two-day event at Henderson State Park put on by the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation for the seventeenth year featured more than 100 artists and 18 different mediums.
Proceeds from the event go to the All Kinds of Art program that helps bring art education and artists to area schools.
"Our mission is to be the leading art advocate of cultural arts in the area and to bring that to children," said Marcia Hull, executive director with the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. "The festival provides a venue for artists to showcase their work as the only fine art show in Destin."
Tents lined the paved area beside Henderson Beach with everything from glasswork to watercolor paintings with the Emerald Coast as a backdrop. This will be the last year the festival is held at the beachside area.
Next year, Hull said the festival will be at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village, which is set to be built and completed by spring 2013.
"This year is kind of bittersweet," Hull said. "The new venue, though, will allow us to accommodate more artists and it will have easier access."
Mabel Kaleikini of Destin said the festival is a tradition for her to attend much like the other area offerings that feature local artists.
"I always enjoy the beauty of the artwork and the surroundings," Kaleikini said. "It’s important to support local artists. That’s what it’s all about."