On February 7, 2017, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) — a not-for-profit charitable arts organization founded in 1995 to be Northwest Florida’s champion of cultural arts and arts education for all — was in the path of what is being identified as a microburst that made a direct hit to the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village, located at 4323 Commons Drive West in Destin, Florida. The Village is the sole host venue for the Foundation’s local signature events such as the Concerts in the Village series and Festival of the Arts, contributing to the sustainability of the Foundation and the outreach initiatives to serve K-12 students, children and adults with special needs, and our veteran community by offering therapeutic interactive art projects. The aftermath of the storm left over $100,000 in property damages. The pavilion canopy, concession tent and privacy fencing require replacement and repair to restore the integrity of the property. In order for rebuilding to begin immediately without major financial harm to the Foundation’s outreach initiatives, we need the spirit of our community to rally behind this endeavor. “The Cultural Arts Village is vital to our organization and the community. Through the multitude of events put on at the Cultural Arts Village we are able to support the mission of the MKAF and all of our outreach efforts in our schools, United Way agencies throughout Okaloosa and Walton County as well as our new initiatives with our wounded veterans,” said MKAF board chairman Matthew Dahlman. Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign to raise necessary funds to restore the property. Donations can be made directly by visiting www.MattieKellyArtsFoundation.org, www.facebook.com/mattiekellyartsfoundation, or mailed to MKAF, 4323 Commons Drive West, Destin, FL 32541. “Our 22nd cultural season brings a sense of place and quality of life to the audiences who benefit from the cultural heritage of our organization,” said MKAF CEO Marcia Hull. “This is not a showstopper! MKAF will kick off its 2017 season with our opening concert on April 8th and we will not miss a beat in our tradition to present quality entertainment to the residents and tourists of our community.” Join our arts family by becoming a member. For more information on MKAF events, arts education outreach or membership and volunteer opportunities, visit online at www.mattiekellyartsfoundaton.org or call (850) 650-2226 to get involved. ABOUT MATTIE KELLY ARTS FOUNDATION Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF), a 501-c-3 not-for-profit charitable arts organization, founded on the cultural, educational and spiritual beliefs of the late Destin matriarch, Mattie Kelly. MKAF’s mission is Northwest Florida’s champion of cultural arts and arts education for all. Since it formed in 1995, its art programs have reached and inspired more than 300,000 children in over 61 schools, and United Way agencies including children with special needs and wounded warriors.