South Walton, Florida is often described as an under-the-radar beach paradise thanks to its 26-mile sugar-white sand beach and 16 unique towns, each with their own aesthetic and experiential appeal. However, it could also be described as an under-the-radar art lover’s paradise. Although the area’s 16 beach towns are known to be home to internally acclaimed artists and galleries, their sandy shores are also home to a variety of unique public art offerings. As more and more of us eschew the traditional indoor museum experience, South Walton’s outdoor offerings provide a safe and exciting alternative.
Seaside, Florida’s Must See Murals
The beautiful town of Seaside boasts many attractions including a lively street art collection. One of their most striking murals celebrates Vincent Scully, the world-renowned architect and professor who was also known as the Father of New Urbanism, the design movement that gives Seaside and its neighboring towns their distinctive look and feel. Created by internationally acclaimed artist Gaia, the mural depicts Scully in front of an image of the Acropolis in an array of shades of cool purple. This mural is a must-see as it memorializes a central figure in Seaside and the country’s history. Located in the city square, the mural can easily be seen by cars passing by on Scenic Highway 30A or by beachgoers heading back to their villas.
The Nation’s Only Underwater Museum of Art
South Walton, Florida, is home to the Underwater Museum of Art (UMA), the country’s first and only permanent underwater sculpture garden, which opened in 2018 off the coast of Grayton Beach . While it is super visually appealing, the museum’s main purpose is to act as an artificial reef, enhancing the marine environment in the area. The sculptures quickly attract a wide variety of marine life and will, over time, metamorphize into a living reef. This eco-tourism attraction entices art lovers and divers, while providing a naturally social distanced experience for all to enjoy. A total of eight additional sculptures have been deployed on February 3, 2021. Learn more about the artists and their sculptures on their website.
Rosemary Beach’s Sculpture Garden With A Message
For the past three years, the picturesque neighborhood of Rosemary Beach has been transformed with a new art addition, the Rosemary Beach Sculpture Exhibition. The scrulptures are sourced from artists worldwide and then moved to adorn the neighborhood’s cobbstone streets and green spaces. This upcoming year’s exhibition is tied to the theme Exploring Environmental Interdependence Through Public Art. While the sculptures are not solely tied to this theme, visitors can expect to see art focused on sustainability and pandemic allowing, programming will include Opening Events; Educational Curriculum Development for K-12, Collegiate, and Adult Education classes; Leisure Group Tours; and, Children’s Activity Tours.
Grayton Beach’s Grayt Wall of Art
One of South Walton’s original beach neighborhoods, Grayton Beach is known for its relaxed atmosphere and funky vibes making it the perfect place for an impromptu wall of art. Local artists have donated their favorite pieces to create the Grayt Wall of Art in the heart of the neighborhood, transforming an everyday wooden fence into an inspiring experience. The gallery is constantly receiving new pieces so each trip feels like a brand new one. Expect to get the perfect Instagram shot here thanks to the vivid art and graffiti like installations.