MKAF Outreach Makes History with Artist Residency Program


Recently, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) Community Outreach impacted 5,700 children in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. The original touring productions, “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 and 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.
Mattie Kelly Arts“We were delighted to be able to inspire and educate so many local youth through these live theatre performances,” says MKAF Education Director Melanie Moore. “This is a modality that is inherently engaging. 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 programming from 2018, in the first quarter of 2019, making it one of the most successful programs in the history of the organization.

“On behalf of the faculty and students at West DeFuniak Elementary, I would like to thank the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation for providing our children with the performance by the Atlantic Coast Theatre,” says Darlene Paul, principal, West DeFuniak Elementary School. “This is such an enriching experience for our student population. Your efforts are truly appreciated.”

The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable arts organization founded in 1995 to be Northwest Florida’s champion of cultural arts and arts education for all. Orlando-based Atlantic Coast Theatre (A.C.T.) For Youth is dedicated to bringing the art of theatre to children & families. The organization believes in the amazing imaginations of children and endeavors to create performances, workshops and educational programs that inspire and encourage discussion, thereby impacting the future. Since 1999 A.C.T. For Youth has given over 3500 performances of 38 productions to approximately 650,000 audience members in 19 U.S. states. ACT for Youth tours year-round bringing high quality theatre performances to children and families across the U.S. Each production is performed by highly skilled professional actors who have a dedication to arts education. For additional information, visit

For more information on MKAF Community Outreach programs or to join MKAF to receive added valued benefits, including preferred member pricing at special events, or to inquire about getting involved by volunteering or joining the Board of Directors, visit or call (850) 650-2226 and follow on Facebook.