The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) is proud to announce an expansion of its programs and services with the addition of its Miramar Beach Creative Campus. The new Creative Campus will be an evolution and collaboration of the CAA’s Foster Gallery and J. Leon Gallery + Studio, which opened its doors in 2020 with the vision to be a high-end gallery attainable for everyone. The Miramar Beach Creative Campus will feature rotating exhibits, special exhibitions, multi-disciplinary classes, a ceramics studio, youth programs, special events and more in the 5,000 square foot space located at 13370 US Hwy. 98.
The opportunity for collaboration was presented when J. Leon Gallery + Studio owner Jason Lindblad decided to dedicate his talent as a visual artist full time but hoped to maintain J. Leon’s reputation as a cultural destination for artists and art buyers. Lindblad’s professional growth coincided with the CAA’s plan for an expansion of The Foster Gallery, an artist collective opened in 2016 that features CAA member artists and special exhibits. The outcome of discussions and strategic planning was the combination of the two concepts into the CAA’s Miramar Beach Creative Campus, which will allow the CAA to provide increased opportunities for artists and reach new audiences beyond Walton County.
“The CAA is grateful to have an opportunity to expand our support for artists and services and programs to the community,” said CAA Executive Director Jennifer Steele. “With an established Santa Rosa Beach Creative Campus at the Bayou Arts Center, the Watersound® Monarch Art Trail and other future opportunities to the east, and increased program offerings in northern Walton County, this growth helps us remove barriers while building opportunities for access to the Arts.”
The current Foster Gallery, located in Grand Boulevard since 2017, will close its doors on Oct. 1, after a final rotation of 16 artists and a special exhibition titled “Show Us Your Best,” featuring work by 43 artists. A closing celebration event will be held Wednesday, August 24th from 5:00 - 7:00 pm featuring live music, food, beverages, and an opportunity to meet the artists and purchase their work. Over the past six years, the gallery has provided opportunities for hundreds of artists, sold nearly half a million dollars of their work, and has provided the foundation for many to expand their careers and open their own businesses, including J. Leon Gallery + Studio.
"I am incredibly excited and grateful for the opportunity to see the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County grow and expand in this future endeavor. Sharing missions in the Arts, it is an honor to have their organization take the lead of our space with hopes of continuing to blossom a creative environment for the area into the future,” said J. Leon Gallery + Studio owner Jason Lindblad. “I am incredibly thankful for the support from the community to J.Leon Gallery + Studio, and for my relationship with the Foster Gallery and the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County. Much like their growth in the arts, I too will be continuing to pursue my passion in the arts of Illustration and Fine Arts. I am looking forward to their new creative vision flourishing with passion and flair- and wish them all the best with many successes to come."
While Lindblad will remain a creative advisor to the CAA for the curation of artists and special exhibitions, the CAA is currently conducting a search for a Program Manager who will lead the Miramar Beach Creative Campus gallery, programs, education and outreach. Interested applicants may submit their resume to email@example.com. Teaching artists are also encouraged to submit class proposals for the Miramar Beach Creative Campus, Santa Rosa Beach Creative Campus, and our Digital Creative Campus, which will be accepted year-round at CulturalArtsAlliance.com.
The CAA’s Miramar Beach Creative Campus will officially open September 4th, but minimal changes will be made initially. The CAA will work with existing artists in both galleries to ensure all artists feel welcomed, represented and supported during the transition. “The expansion, along with the addition of a Programs Manager and other future staff will enable the CAA to be more inclusive to artists without the existing requirement of working at the gallery,” said Steele. “We want our Creative Campuses to be centers for creativity that nurture the artistic process, allow artists the freedom to create, demonstrate, teach, exhibit and sell their work, and encourage their growth.”
For more information about the CAA and its facilities, events, programs, and employment and volunteer opportunities visit CulturalArtsAlliance.com.