Recognized as one of Northwest Florida’s premier fine art shows, the Festival of the Arts, produced by MKAF, is one of the most anticipated cultural events of the year on the Emerald Coast. This year’s 28th annual event will kick off on Friday, Oct 27 evening with a Kick-Off Reception at Henderson Beach Resort. The Festival weekend follows on Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29 at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin.
An oil painter since childhood, Roger van Lieshout, a native of Winnipeg, has worked as a professional artist full-time for 14 years. Originally trained in renewal resources at the Saskatchewan Institute for Arts and Sciences in Saskatoon, Canada, he then completed his undergraduate degree at University of Manitoba.
The winning piece is a 36” x 36” oil on canvas entitled Flamboyant. The word to describe a flock of flamingos, it is aptly named. This vibrant, whimsical piece evokes both the color, beauty, and spirit of Florida living.
“Flamingos are often seen as gangly and funny but look more closely and their grace and beauty become evident, “Roger van Lieshout says.
A previous Festival of the Arts exhibiting artist, this is van Lieshout’s first MKAF Poster Art Content win.
“I am most honored to have Flamboyant chosen to help represent the 2023 MKAF Festival of the Arts,” van Lieshout says. “The organizing committee and volunteers work hard to produce one of Florida’s premier art events, and the location is a fantastic place to spend a memorable day. Last year’s turnout was fantastic and having the opportunity to visit with both locals and visitors is always the best part of the fun. The 2023 Festival is bound to be as good if not better than last year!”
As the annual Poster Art Contest winners, van Lieshout will receive a cash prize of $500. The winning artwork will be used to promote the 28th Annual Festival of the Arts by being prominently showcased on the official Festival poster, program guide, t-shirt, in the Festival marketing campaign, on the MKAF website, across MKAF’s social media channels, and more.
A fan of Picasso, Mira, and Nieto, van Lieshout draws inspiration from the Sunshine State. “My inspiration comes largely from stories and observations of people, places, and wildlife that make me happy, laugh or stop me cold and make me think about what I’m seeing,” he explains. “We are incredibly fortunate to live in a beautiful place surrounded by largely wonderful people and natural beauty and in a fantastic country with privileges and rights that are the envy of the world. These things inspire me every day and make me thankful.”