The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) announces that improvements were recently made to the Watersound® Monarch Art Trail (WMAT), a program of the CAA’s Art in Public Spaces (AIPS) program featuring eight original sculptures installed along South Watersound Parkway’s existing mile-long walking and bike path. The WMAT was created in 2021 with support from the St. Joe Community Foundation (SJCF), and use of the area was made possible by The St. Joe Company.
With additional support by SJCF, the CAA partnered with Sandhills Native Nursery to clear existing plant beds, install native pollinators, including Blue Sage, Lantana, Seaside Goldenrod, Milkweed, Silk Grass, Skullcap, and dozens more around each of the eight sculptures; and spread wildflower seeds along the forest’s tree line. Around 60 volunteers, including students from the Abadie Academy, Magnet Innovation Center (STEAM) and Westonwood Ranch worked to clear and install the ecologically sustainable gardens over the course of two days. Additionally, custom benches created by local craftsman Jim Foley and updated solar powered lighting will be installed this month.
“This phase of the Watersound® Monarch Art Trail improvement is focused on sustainability and providing the public with continuous enjoyment of the artwork and native plantings,” said CAA Executive Director Jennifer Steele. “We are fortunate to have found a partner in Sam Mello of Sandhills Native Nursery who designed the garden beds to withstand longer periods of dry weather, enabling the garden to be low maintenance and remain beautiful and functional year-round.”
Northwest Florida is part of the migratory path of the recently-classified endangered Monarch butterfly, and every fall thousands of Monarchs can be seen enjoying the indigenous flora that grows in Walton County. Since 1992, the CAA has celebrated this natural event with an annual children’s arts and science festival called The Flutterby Festival. In its 30th anniversary, the Festival will feature the WMAT guided tours on Saturday, Nov. 12, and a family festival in Watersound® Town Center on Sunday, Nov. 13.
The guided tours will be co-led by the CAA’s Program Manager Courtney Malone and Mello, owner of Sandhills Native Nursery, who will provide guests with fun and educational information about each piece of artwork and how the new native plantings enhance and sustain the overall project while providing habitat for the Monarch butterfly and other important insects. The WMAT guided tours are free and open to the public and are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12, at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m..
The 30th annual Flutterby Festival will take place Sunday, Nov. 13, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. in Watersound® Town Center and will feature food trucks, live music, dance and theatre performances, student butterfly art exhibits, art activities like the butterfly wing creation station and craft-making as well as the butterfly learning center, carnival games, and a butterfly parade at the end of the day.
Professional artists will be exhibiting and selling their work throughout the weekend, and official Flutterby merchandise featuring artwork by local student artist Ella Townley of Seaside School, will be available for purchase. The Flutterby Festival weekend events are free and open to the public. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, and some activities require a small fee. Parking, including accessible parking, will be available on-site.
The Flutterby Festival weekend is presented with support from the St. Joe Community Foundation, Watersound® Town Center and from the Florida Department of State Division of Arts and Culture. Additional sponsorships available, email Gabby Callaway at email@example.com for details.
Artists and food trucks interested in participating in the Flutterby Festival may submit an application online through Oct. 29, 2022. Volunteers are needed to help create all the fun! Please visit CulturalArtsAlliance.com/volunteer to sign up.
For more information on the AIPS program, the Flutterby Festival, and the CAA, please visit CulturalArtsAlliance.com or call 850-622-5970.