This blog post begins with a compilation of notes, interviews and images for this story that ran in SoWal Life on July 1, 2017: http://southwalton.life/art-walks-30a/.

Please share your recollections and memories as we work to chronologically construct  historical timeline of the Scenic Highway 30A art scene. The goal is to present the past as familiar terrain through stories told, event dates, advertisements, images and works of art reveal in order to uncover the personalities of both anonymous and well known artists, collectors, galleries and the art events that shaped our current art scene.


“Thanks for writing about the 30A Art Market.  Fran and I meet at a famous mile’s long open air art market in Buenos Aires.  Every Weekend all the artists would come out and just set up in the street and sell their art, tango dancers dance in the street and musicians play music.  It’s amazing.  Well, all the shops were trying to come up with an alternative to the farmers market at the Shops at the Hub.  The plan to have them fell through for various reasons and Fran Allison and Myself thought that introducing an open air art market would e a win win for everyone. Especially since Fran and Allison and you had just gotten back from talking to the founder of Seaside about ways to introduce art back to the area.  This just seemed like perfect timing. Tom and Cameron Brown, the owners of The Shops at the Hub, were 100% on board.  This is zero cost to the artists which is amazing to have a space like that on 30A for artists to show their work.  Fran would have killed for a space like that when he first got to South Walton. We picked Wednesdays because everyone has had a chance to check into their condo and enjoy relaxing a few days and Wednesdays are a day that people are in town and we’re not competing all the other activities that happen on the weekends.  It was a happy day to do it that made sense.    Let me know if you need any other info Anne thank you so much for helping to promote this.  I attached our logo a the bottom.”

– Brooke Gonterak, June 27, 2014


“Tracy Lewis, Wendy Mignot, and I met on a rainly cold day in Feb 06 to discuss driving traffic to our galleries in Ruskin Park. PPl had to walk to our businesses through Seaside as there is no parking for those shops. The park is privately owned by the homeowners so we had to come up with something they would like to have in their front yards. An artwalk seemed to fill the bill. We agreed that once a month, on the first Friday, the galleries would create a new show, have wine and Hors d’oeuvres and get live music on the bandstand. The idea was to incorporate as many art forms as we could for opening night.The homeowners gave us a couple of months to see how it would work. The First Friday Art Walk in Ruskin Park was an enormous success from the first show. Several galleries refused to participate, refused to help cover expenses, and some even closed that fist night. The crowds filled all our galleries and spilled out into the park. Sales were through the roof. Apparently the time was right for something new and interesting to do in our quirky little community. By the next 1st Friday, all the galleries were open with special shows, some with champagne and smoked salmon, and the band had the park dancing. We had succeeded in driving sales in the off season and giving the locals a treat. The Art Walk became THE monthly event not to miss in SOWAL.”

– Eileen West, June 29, 2017

“First Friday Art Walk began in 2006, when Wendy Mignot, Eileen West and Tracy Lewis teamed up to bring more artistic awareness to Ruskin Place in Seaside, FL. The ladies created a fun night, once a month, full of art, music, creative collaborations, wine & dance. Encouraging locals and tourists alike to come out to enjoy a new type of event, bringing the art community and the merchants of Seaside and closer together. This monthly gathering created a platform here on 30a for more creative ventures to pop up and transform into fantastic festivities.”

– Amber Oglesby, June 30, 2017



“When I was growing up in Illinois there was a small open-air Art in the Park on a grassy park in the town square every year. When I became the Art of Living Director, I was tasked with creating an annual event program for WaterColor that would bring the community together but also bring people into the community. I could look down and see Cerulean Park from my office and it just kept calling my name! I thought about how inspiring and beautiful it would be to feature artists around the pond and how lovely it would be for people to encounter art in an organic and relaxed way while being in the community. The community had never had anything like it before so aren’t sure how people would respond but everyone migrated and stayed, there was such an amazing turnout the first year that the community was overjoyed to host and to see people appreciating the space and the local artistic talent. It’s grown and evolved every year now bringing artists and guests from all over the southeast and further!”

Hillary Fosdyck, June 30, 2017



5 years ago I started the Artists of 30a which consisted of a local artist/gallery map and an informational website. Friends and fellow artists Peggy Jones and Donnelle Clark helped me formulate a plan and get the local art community on board. Our goal was simple. We wanted to encourage and help promote professional 30a artists and galleries who are serious about promoting themselves. I’ve visited other art communities around the country, my favorite of which is Santa Fe, NM. When I visited these communities I noticed they usually have one thing in common… a map that helps visitors find the art galleries. As an artist and also owner of a local graphic design business I figured I needed to be the person to make this happen on 30A. It’s been a bigger project than I realized, but I’m pleased with the result. The first year we had 14 participating artists and galleries and now we have 45. 2 years ago, with the help of Lori Saczynski (wife of local artist Andy Saczynski) we decided to bring all the galleries and artists all over 30A and South Walton together the first Friday of each month and begin promoting the “30A Art Walk”. Seaside began the tradition and we thought all of South Walton ought to be a part of this since galleries and artists are popping up all over the place. We figured the existing art map was the first and most obvious way to help promote a 30A Art Walk, so we went for it. The 30A Art Walk still has growing to do, but I’ve been hearing good things. I know of several artists who have opened their homes on Art Walk Night and received a good amount of patrons into home studios that most do not know even exist. There are some really nice established galleries here and some really cool home studios. Artists and art businesses are coming in every year. We really have an art community that is growing like crazy. People who enjoy art need to find them and the 30A Art Walk is a great occasion to do so. That is what the Artistsof30A.com, the 30A Art Map and the 30A Art Walk are all about!

– Aaron Sutton, June 28, 2017


“Hey, so 1998 i started volunteering fot Via Colori as an Artist then soon after worked the event along with Dana Akridge also a teacher at Seaside, this event drew over 100 artists and raised money for the school, the event was moved to Grand Boulevard after about 5 years because Seaside canceled it. We were only there for one year.  ok memories……. long tables with coffee griders to grid up our colored pastels to a powder to make paint rain storms that would come after finishing, some of us finished in a day others came the next day to finish. 2 day event sat. sun.drew over 1000 vistors, i actually had to meet at the TDC each year to market it, free to volunteer artists . 144 killer color pastels were provided along with breakfast and lunch that dads made Burgers or area restuarants donated for us. local artists were called on to be The Featured Artist and poster and tshirt made, they also were given a 10×10 spot to paint. SPONSORS !!!!! local businesses sponsored a “square’  that was chaulked out the night before, the amithearter was closed off Friday – Sunday we had to hire a cop to watch over at night. local businesses sponsored a square 10×10. 8×8 and 6×6 chaulked out with the names provide who sponsored, the cost was like $1000 10×10, $800 8×8 and $600 for 6×6 BUT its been awile I can really remember. Businesses some times requests their artist to represent them but could not advertise for them or themselves as an artist you could not bring your work to sell. This was a event held all around and had guide ines to follow, TRADE MARK EVENT, look it up. you did not have to be an artist , many students worked together, MEMORY!!!! the  students  by the end of the day would paint their bodies with the paint it was great and I have pictures in year books to show you. Featured Artits I can remember,,,, Me. students. Music played from local bands. Free to the public. Yes it rained, I made lemonade when this happened. Everyone by the end of the day was covered, so great! Big Sponsors… Buds, Trustmark, Davis Properties, Wendy, Shades, Cafe Thirty 30A, Modica, Perspicasty. Red Bar, Tommy Sholes Reality, Beaches Of South Walton, and so onThis was not a judged event ‘FUND RAISER” bylaws made it so you had to hold the event to raise money for a nonprofit group. I was asked to join The Board Of Directors at The Seaside Neighborhood School 2004 because of the work I did which landed me Art Teacher,  Im in 11 th year now. Best artic event ever here to have a community of professional artists, families spendind the day creating, many times I had to pull it together from being overwhelmed with the love support talent togetherness , people coming together asked for advice, anyone have any black left over, picture 100 beautiful local people , the tribe of Walton creating a masterpiece using a huge canvas, Big Memory!!!!! My daddy was building the Purple Building many years ago and I knew he would be there on Monday for work so on my square I wrote  ” HEY DADDY ITS ME YOUR LITTLE PUNKIN HAVE A GREAT DAY I LOVE YOU AND GIVE MOM A KISS FOR ME”  he freaking loved it and talked about it for years how much it meant to him. So how long did the work stay? weeks sometimes without rain. BEST EVENT EVER, could it happen again? Unfortunally not , parking spaces mean more now a days.”

– Notes from Billie Gaffrey, June 30, 2017


Lori Drew worked with Sunshine Shuttle and The Artists of 30A to include in the First Friday Art Work in the shuttle stops. “Sunshine has two beach access stops that would be perfect for artists to get exposure. First is on the west side in Blue Mountain Beach off Co. Hwy 83. The other is in Seagrove Beach just to the west of Cowgirl kitchen. A lot of foot traffic and trolley ridership. That would be two stops for sure we could utilize. I feel good about getting an OK from Ashley Grimes at the HUB. So if you still want to grab some easels and show your work this coming Friday, let me know which of the above mentioned stops you want to be at.  25 Central Square featured artists should plan on being at that location. (Gulf Place is only for existing Gulf Place artists.)” 

– Lori Drew to participating artists, July 3, 2017



In response to this post on June 28: “30A Friends. I’m writing a story for SoWal Life about the history of the original Art Walks along Scenic Highway 30A, leading to the present day. If you have a minute, please share your memories and photos here or private message me.” – Anne Hunter

“Late 70s and early 80s art classes at Santa Rosa Golf Club…for years a painting of a sailing ship painted by local John Sloat hung in SRB Club.Justin too with his bubble machine at Blue Mtn. ROy Dollar at Gumbys on the curve…..Bobby Johnson at Collaborations. Hilda McDonald opened a contemporary art gallery in Seaside on south side of 30A.” – Claire Bannerman

“If you can catch up with any of Doodle Harris’ family/friends you’ll get some colorful history. He’s the one who name Blue Mountain Beach and collected art from all over that area.” – Liz Cain

“I have an original piece of art work from Junie McGee. I think my mother bought at the old original Seagrove Market. Will have to check with her. Will message you a picture. Other old art work I have with 30A and South Walton attachments are by the late Dr. Bob Swinford whose wife Mickey had 1938 home on Eastern Lake. Her parents built Wesley House at Eden at Point Washington in 1897 and had 1903 land grant of 160 acres at Eastern Lake. So before 30A and after.” – Brenda Rees

“Miss all the kueoskz and blowing glass out in the open air.im sure there are photos out there i still have seaside paper from when i first moved there and they welcomed me.miss it.good photo of glass at night” -Tim O’Connell