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MKAF Outreach Makes History with Two-Week Artist Residency Program

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Recently, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) Community Outreach impacted 5,700 children in Okaloosa and Walton counties. The original touring productions of The Snow Queen and The Reluctant Dragon by The Atlantic Coast Theatre (A.C.T.) for Youth were experienced by 20 school groups and Boys and Girls Clubs in the area.


Through the generosity of the Dugas Family Foundation and Keith & Laura Howard, this two-week artist residency program has enabled MKAF to deepen its outreach focus on offering meaningful arts-based learning to “at-risk” youth, Title 1 schools, and students in underserved or rural areas.


“We were delighted to be able to inspire and educate so many local youth through live theater, a modality that is inherently engaging,” says MKAF education director Melanie Moore. “We further appreciate how each A.C.T. production is accompanied by a study guide exploring state and national learning standards, underscoring our commitment to being a proactive education partner to our local school districts.”


This residency, as part of MKAF’s Community Outreach Arts Empower initiative, has helped MKAF exceed the total numbers of all other 2018 programming in the first quarter of 2019, making it one of the most successful programs in the history of the organization.


“This is such an enriching experience for our student population,” says West DeFuniak Elementary principal Darlene Paul.


The Atlantic Coast Theatre (A.C.T.) For Youth is dedicated to bringing the art of theater to children and families. A.C.T. believes in the amazing imaginations of children and endeavors to create performances, workshops and educational programs that inspire and encourage discussion.


Since 1999, the Orlando-based group has given over 3,500 performances of 38 productions to approximately 650,000 audience members in 19 states. A.C.T. for Youth tours year-round, and each production is performed by professional actors dedicated to arts education. Learn more at


For more information on MKAF Community Outreach programs, to join MKAF and receive added value benefits, or to inquire about getting involved by volunteering or joining the Board of Directors, call 850-650-2226 or visit

Shantelle Dedicke
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