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2017 Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Board of Directors

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The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF)—a not-for-profit charitable arts organization founded in 1995 to be Northwest Florida’s champion of cultural arts and arts education for all—recently kicked off its 22nd season with an Awards and Induction Ceremony.


MKAF applauded the following retiring board members for their dedicated service—Allison Tringas, Jeff Rink, Rebecca Job, Anita Skipper and Melissa Matern. Job will continue to serve as chair of the 2017 Friendraiser Committee.


More than 300 annual volunteers support the MKAF, but there is always one who stands out in the crowd. The Volunteer of the Year Award recognized Kent Peterson for contributing countless hours of volunteer service. Peterson demonstrated a true labor of love to this organization in making capital improvements.


The foundation’s most prestigious award, the Chairman’s Sterling Award, honors that special board member who exemplifies commitment, spirit and vision to the Foundation’s mission. Kathy Whidden of Emerald Coast Chiropractic was this year’s recipient, recognized for her countless hours and fundraising efforts as a testimony of her passion for the arts.


The 2016 MKAF Chairman Eric Navarre stated in his closing remarks: “Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Outreach presented 49 outreach residency programs and visited 25 schools and agencies. MKAF expanded outreach to include adults with special needs and the implementation of Warrior Arts, an initiative to bring therapeutic art benefits to those suffering from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury.”


MKAF Outreach is made possible from grants, private donations and event profits from more than 19 cultural and fundraising events, which attracted over 18,600 in attendees in 2016.


The gavel was passed to the 2017 Chairman Matt Dahman, who announced his fellow Executive Committee members—Vice Chairman Jackie Ely, treasurer Kevin Bowyer, secretary Heather Ruiz, Brian Beauchamp, Stacey Brady, Wayne Paul, and Kathy Whidden.


“I am honored to be a small part of the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s long history,” said Dahman. “I look forward to working with some of the best and brightest business leaders in the area in an effort to build on the success of 2016 and make 2017 our best year yet.”


Also installed—the 2017 elected board of directors Keri Atchley, Melinda Bowers, Jimmy Campbell, Lorraine Christian, Shantelle Dedicke, Donna Fox, Teresa Halverson, Kim Holley, Meloney Howell, Bill Lindsley, Pat Madden, Bill McQuillan, Dion Moniz, Stephen Smith, Elizabeth Spies and Alexis Tibbetts.


For more information on MKAF events, arts education programs or membership and volunteer opportunities, visit or call 850‑650‑2226 to get involved.

– Zandra Wolfgram
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