ArtsQuest 2017 Christon Anderson

CAA Announces Christon Anderson As ArtsQuest 2017 Featured Artist

SANTA ROSA BEACH, FL—(March 1, 2017)—ArtsQuest, the 29th annual fine arts festival produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA), announces the 2017 Featured Festival Artist, Christon Anderson.

A Mother’s Day weekend tradition, ArtsQuest is a juried show that will take place May 13 & 14, in the Town Center of Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. The festival is part of Art Week South Walton, a collaboration of visual, performing and literary arts events presented in diverse formats and venues throughout South Walton in May. Art Week South Walton also includes the Northwest Florida Theatre Festival, Digital Graffiti and the Seaside Writers Conference.

Anderson’s custom artwork titled “Next Quest” will be the featured image on all ArtsQuest marketing materials for the festival, including posters and merchandise.  

“I’ve been a participant in ArtsQuest for years and feel honored to be this year’s featured artist. I love this festival and everyone involved in it,” says Anderson. “I am proud to work with the Cultural Arts Alliance and appreciate their philosophy of total dedication to the arts and artists in our area. I am happy to play my part in their cause.”

“I have personally been a fan of Christon’s work since I first met him at ArtsQuest many years ago,” says CAA Executive Director Jennifer Steele. “His talent has often been recognized by our judges, and it is our honor to feature him and showcase his beautiful custom ArtsQuest creation, ‘Next Quest.’”

Presented by Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, ArtsQuest will feature Anderson and over 150 other artists in various mediums including, but not limited to, works on paper, ceramics, glass, oil and acrylics, photography, sculpture, metal and wood. These exhibiting artists from around the United States will compete for awards and cash prizes totaling $10,000.

The Festival will also offer heritage art demonstrations, a CAA member artist exhibit, a Walton County student exhibit, continuous live music and entertainment, and “ImagiNation: where kids rule.” A full cash bar will be available throughout the weekend in Grand Park.

Volunteers are needed throughout the weekend to work on all aspects of the festival.  Those willing to help can sign up at or email

ArtsQuest is presented by Grand Boulevard at Sandestin and sponsored in part by Visit South Walton. The event is open to the public, and a $5 admission donation is requested. Visit for more information about ArtsQuest as well as other Art Week events.

About Featured Artist Christon Anderson:
Born and bred in Florida’s Northwest panhandle, Christon Anderson was provided an opportunity for his many talents to blossom. His athletic skill and ability were recognized in high school where he received both local and state accolades. After a stint in the military, he returned home with a hunger to find his voice and be heard as these journeys brought him outside his everyday routine and opened his eyes to a whole new world.

He studied drawing with local luminary Roland Hockett and was fascinated by the artistic visual possibilities of photography under the tutelage of the late Johnnie Ihlfeld. Anderson was encouraged by commissioned works and fine art portraiture. These positive responses continue to bolster the serious interest in his work.

He has now developed a recognizable style using a variety of traditional mediums that both stand alone and meld, creating visionary, intuitive, abstract, three-dimensional works of art. His anchor on this stormy sea of creativity is his wife Kristina. Their daughter Isabel Rain and son Coleman Ray will always be works in progress providing endless inspiration.     


About ArtsQuest:
ArtsQuest began as a small community gathering in Grayton Beach in 1989 and now features nearly 200 exhibiting national, regional and local artists competing for $10,000 in cash awards, art workshops, live art demonstrations, music, food, wine, ImagiNation (where kids rule) and more.

About Cultural Arts Alliance:
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) is a Local Arts Agency that supports the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs and education. The vision of the CAA is to be the catalyst for Walton County’s growth as a destination for cultural and artistic excellence through which lives are enriched, economy is stimulated and community is strengthened.

About Grand Boulevard at Sandestin:
Grand Boulevard at Sandestin is the shop, dine, play and stay Town Center located in the heart of South Walton along Northwest Florida’s Beaches. Based on the prominent mixed-use architectural model, Grand Boulevard offers a dynamic lifestyle experience with convenient access to a multitude of exclusive shopping and dining options, entertainment, professional services, corporate offices and lodging.

Seaside Writers Conference

4th Annual Seaside Writers Conference Slated For May 14 – 20

4th Annual Seaside Writers Conference Slated For May 14 – 20
Featuring Headlining Authors Chris Offutt and Antonya Nelson

SANTA ROSA BEACH, FL (February 21, 2017)— The Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton County announces the 4th annual Seaside Writers Conference taking place May 14 – 20 in Seaside, Fla. as part of Art Week South Walton.

The Seaside Writers Conference (SWC) includes a full week of intensive writing workshops, one-day seminars, agent consultations, school outreach programs and social events. The conference, which takes place in the Academic Village in Seaside, Fla, provides an opportunity for beginning, intermediate, and advanced writers to celebrate writing, to network, and to hone their craft.

Headlining authors Chris Offutt (True Blood, Weeds, My Father The Pornographer, The Same River Twice, No Heroes: A Memoir Coming Home) and Antonya Nelson (Funny Once, In The Land Of Men, Bound, Live To Tell) will each lead a seminar and reading while guest editor Margeaux Weisman (Vintage Anchor/Knopf Doubleday) and other agents and editors to be announced, will offer one-on-one consultations with attendees.

“We are so fortunate to continue to attract high-caliber writers such as Chris Offutt and Antonya Nelson,” said SWC co-founder, author and faculty member Matt Bondurant (The Wettest County In The World, made into the film Lawless; The Night Swimmer; The Third Translation). “We know we have a secret weapon, though. There is no other writers conference that allows you to step out of intimate workshops with national award-winning authors and agents directly onto the white sand of the Gulf of Mexico. Our writers love that, and they also appreciate the people and culture of the community.”

Bondurant and conference co-founder, faculty member and poet Seth Brady Tucker (Mormon Boy; We Deserve The Gods We Ask For), are joined by visiting faculty members Michelle Tea (The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl, Valencia – now a film; The Chelsea Whistle, Rent Girl; How To Grow Up) and Anton Disclafani (The Yonalohssee Riding Camp For Girls; The After Party).

”We started this conference with a few key goals in mind:  create a personal experience for our writers, give them a beautiful place to write and discuss with great teachers and good people, and to give back to the local community,” said Brady. “In the past few years, we have accomplished these goals, and the feedback from our attendees shows they feel the same way.”

Other components of the conference are the Scholars and Fellows Program, including the Celia Baker Veteran Scholarship, and the public-school outreach program organized by conference co-founder and Seacoast High School Principal Jonathan D’Avignon in which Scholars and Fellows work directly with 8th and 11th grade writers in the schools. Some of the students go on to read their work publicly as part of the conference alongside a headliner.

The Seaside Writers Conference is produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County and sponsored by the University of Mississippi, Visit South Walton and The Seaside Institute.

“The Cultural Arts Alliance is proud to have partnered with the SWC Founders to produce this conference,” said CAA Executive Director Jennifer Steele. “Attendance increases each year and we know it will continue to grow as word spreads of the special nature of SWC.  The conference fulfills part of the CAA’s mission to bring literary programming to the community while providing opportunities for hands-on literary arts enrichment in our public schools. We are grateful to the partners that have made the conference possible.”

Participants who pay the early bird rate for the full conference tuition ($550 up until March 20) will be able to take part in an intensive workshop and all daily activities, including special events, receptions and dinners. A la carte pricing is available for classes, workshops, consultations, and events perfect for locals who want to see what the SWC has to offer. Accommodations can also be secured through the registration process by paying the all-inclusive fee of $1550.

Visit to register and for more information.

About Chris Offutt:
Chris Offutt is an award-winning novelist, memoirist, and screenwriter. He worked on the HBO drama True Blood and the Showtime series Weeds. His books include the memoirs My Father, The Pornographer, The Same River Twice, and No Heroes: A Memoir of Coming Home, the story collections Kentucky Straight and Out of the Woods, and the novel, The Good Brother. His work has appeared widely and has been featured in The Best American Essays, The Best American Short Stories, and many other anthologies. He lives near Oxford, Mississippi.

About Antonya Nelson:
Antonya Nelson is the award-winning author of seven short story collections and four novels, including most recently, the short story collections Funny Once, and In the Land of Men, and the novels, Bound and Living to Tell.  She teaches creative writing at the University of Houston and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program. Her awards include the Rea Award for Short Fiction, Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, and an American Artists Award. She lives in Telluride, Colorado, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Houston, Texas.


About The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County:
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) is a Local Arts Agency that is the driving force for the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs and education. The vision of the CAA is to be the catalyst for Walton County’s growth as a destination for cultural and artistic excellence through which lives are enriched, economy is stimulated and community is strengthened.


CAA Announces ArtsQuest 2017 Call to Artists

Santa Rosa Beach, FL— (December 15, 2016) The Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton County invites artists to apply to exhibit in the 29th Annual ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival happening May 13 – 14, 2017 in South Walton, FL, along Northwest Florida’s beaches.

The festival takes place in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin’s Town Center, which is also home to large-scale events such as the 30A Songwriters Festival and the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival. Located along the Scenic Hwy. 98 Corridor, Grand Boulevard is easily accessible from regional drive and fly markets, including Houston, Memphis, Atlanta, Nashville, Birmingham, Mobile, Pensacola and Tallahassee.

ArtsQuest is the kick-off event for Art Week South Walton, which is an initiative of the CAA. The purpose of Art Week is to bring communities, organizations and businesses together to present quality arts and entertainment to the community. Spanning several days, Art Week will feature visual, performing and literary arts programming in diverse formats and various venues throughout South Walton.

Highlights of ArtsQuest include:

  • $10,000 cash in artist awards
  • 5,000 quality art buyers
  • Children’s activities in “ImagiNation”
  • Live music and entertainment
  • Food vendors & full cash bar, along with existing restaurants in Grand Boulevard

With the support of the Tourist Development Council, Visit South Walton, there is a comprehensive marketing campaign for ArtsQuest, including radio (Southeastern markets), social media, direct mail, posters, online advertising, and regional and national print media (Atlanta Magazine, Garden & Gun, Nashville Lifestyles, Southbound & more).

Grand Boulevard and the surrounding area offer affordable accommodations, including hotels, camping and condo and home rentals.

Other artist amenities include conveniently located artist parking, booth sitting, overnight security, continuous artist hospitality.

Award winners from the 2016 ArtsQuest show do not need to submit jury fee and will be automatically admitted into the 2017 ArtsQuest show should they meet the application deadline.

DEADLINE March 1, 2017


About The Cultural Arts Alliance:

The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) supports the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs and education. The vision of the CAA is to make Walton County a creative place in which to live, work and visit – a destination for cultural and artistic excellence where lives are enriched, economy is stimulated and community is strengthened. Learn more at