ArtsQuest, the 32nd annual fine arts festival produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA), is pleased to announce the 2020 Festival’s Featured Artist, Michael McCarty. 

Michael McCarty 'Layla'A Mother’s Day weekend tradition, ArtsQuest is a juried show scheduled to take place May 9 & 10, in the Town Center of Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. McCarty’s custom artwork titled “Layla” will be the featured image on all ArtsQuest marketing materials.  

“I am very honored to have my artwork chosen to be reproduced as a poster for the 32nd annual ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival. I thank the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) for all it does to promote all the arts and elevate the culture in our special community here in Walton County, “ said McCarty. “I am proud to be a member of CAA and to volunteer my services whenever I can.” 

McCarty and his wife, Sherry, have been active members and volunteers of the CAA and were recipients of the CAA’s Volunteer of a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, which recognizes CAA members for outstanding and long term volunteerism for the arts.

“Mike has shared his time and talent out of the goodness of his heart and love for our community for many years,” said Cultural Arts Alliance Executive Director Jennifer Steele. “It is our honor to feature him at ArtsQuest and share his rich story, vibrant work and exuberant personality with those experiencing the festival and all Art Month events.”

McCarty’s wide range of work will be on display at ArtsQuest, and he will also be the featured artist at the Gardens and Gallery of Monet Monet in Grayton Beach throughout the month of March. The public is invited to a reception in his honor on Friday, March 13, from 5 – 8 p.m. 

Presented by Grand Boulevard Town Center, with additional support from Visit South Walton, the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and Emerald Coast Magazine, ArtsQuest will feature over 150 other artists in various mediums including, but not limited to, 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 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.

ArtsQuest is part of Art Month South Walton, a collaboration of visual, performing and literary arts events presented in diverse formats and venues throughout South Walton in May. Art Month South Walton also includes “Under the Sea” – a fundraiser for the Underwater Museum of Art, Digital Graffiti, the Longleaf Writers Conference, Sinfonia Goes Pop and Treasure Island – a production from Emerald Coast Theatre Company.

Volunteers are needed throughout ArtsQuest weekend to work on all aspects of the festival. Those willing to help can sign up at CulturalArtsAlliance.com/volunteer or email gabby@culturalartsalliance.com

ArtsQuest is a rain or shine event. The festival is open to the public, and a $5 admission donation is requested. Visit CulturalArtsAlliance.com for more information about ArtsQuest as well as other Art Month events, which are supported in part by Visit South Walton.  

About Featured Artist Michael McCarty

Born in Dothan, Alabama in 1946, Michael McCarty received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Auburn University in 1970. Originally enrolled in Pre Veterinary Medicine, McCarty changed his major to Visual Design, after the musical group Steppenwolf used a reproduction of one of his pen and ink drawings of the band for a poster. After graduation from Auburn in 1970, McCarty had his first One Man Show at The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Montgomery, Alabama.

McCarty worked as Designer-Illustrator for GraphicsGroup, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, servicing major advertising agencies all over the U.S. and abroad. In 1976, after freelancing album cover art and design work for songwriter/producer Buddy Buie, and music publishing mogul Bill Lowery,  Michael and wife, Sherri formed a design studio business, McCartyGraphics, where he designed logos, album covers, posters, t-shirt designs, magazine ads, book covers, etc, for some musical greats, including the following: Atlanta Rhythm Section, Jerry Lee Lewis, Isaac Hayes, James Brown, Little Richard, Sam and Dave, Patti Smith, Willie Nelson, Piano Red, Whispering Bill Anderson, Albert Coleman and The Atlanta Pops Orchestra, KC and the Sunshine Band, Peabo Bryson, Paul Davis, Rossington-Collins Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Waylon Jennings, Percy Sledge, Clarence Carter, William Bell, The BarKays, Mylon LeFevre, Joe South, Solomon Burke, Dennis Yost and the Classics IV, The Outlaws, Billy Joe Royal, Tommy Roe, Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston. Other non-musical clientele included Lewis Grizzard, Dave Barry, and President Jimmy Carter.

Michael McCarty served on the Board of Governors with National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for over 20 years, and was appointed to the Senate Music Committee by Georgia Governor Zell Miller. Awarded “2009 Artist of the Year” by Beaches of South Walton TDC. In 2018, he was the Honoree for the Wiregrass Blues Society and presented with the “Living Legend Award”, and that same year had a One Man Show at the Wiregrass Museum of Fine Art from January through the end of June.

Michael McCarty is an Abstract Artist who produces contemporary, modern art (often with a graphic flair). His work is filled with an abundance of color and interwoven with subtle visual suggestions, at times leaving interpretations up to the viewer’s own imagination. 

After living in Atlanta for 35 years, Michael and Sherri McCarty (International Flight Attendant) have been loving the life they’re living in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida close to 15 years.