Melody Bogle was the 2016 South Walton Artist of the Year.

Visit South Walton is now accepting applications for the 2017 South Walton Artist of the Year award. This marks the 15th year of the community program showcasing local artists.

“The South Walton Artist of the Year program not only brings attention to the winning artist but to the arts in general,” said Melody Bogle, 2016 South Walton Artist of the Year.

“The arts and the artists here are just one small part of the beauty of South Walton.”

This year’s winner will be announced at the Walton County Tourist Department Council’s annual meeting and 30th anniversary celebration in October. “We will also celebrate the anniversary of this important community program,” said Jay Tusa, Executive Director for Visit South Walton.

Juan Francisco Adaro, 2015 South Walton Artist of the Year
Juan Francisco Adaro, 2015 South Walton Artist of the Year

Prior designees include: Juan Francisco Adaro, Mary Hong, Andy Saczynski, Allison Craft, Allison Wickey, Michael Granberry, Michael McCarty, Donna Burgress, Bill Stephenson, Phil Kiser, Justin Gaffrey, Susan Lucas, and Dorothy Starbuck.

Each artist has created a piece of commissioned work which is displayed either at the Visit South Walton Visitor Center and Conference Room or at the Walton County South Walton Annex building.

The deadline to enter is July 19, 2016, by 4 p.m.

Bogle said the program has introduced her to people she would have never been able to meet otherwise. “As a plein air artist, it is rewarding to teach and watch someone who has never painted to get excited not only about our Coastal Dune Lakes but with painting also.

“This program has not only been about the receiving but the giving by opening the eyes of others to the beauty of making art. In this way, one is sharing for me the beauty of the place we call home.”

To learn more about the Artist of the Year program or to find applications, visit the Visit South Walton Website or contact Gayla Schaefer at 850-622-7813.