For years, Grayton Beach visitors have seen several pieces of art hung along the 80’ of fence line perpendicular to the shops and restaurants of Hotz Avenue. But, when the iconic restaurant, The Red Bar, unexpectedly caught fire in February 2019, many of the pieces were lost.
“I asked Joyce Levey (owner of the fence) where the ‘Grayton Beach. Nice Dogs, Strange People’ sign was and she said in her back yard. She rescued the sign from the fire,” said Allen French, co-organizer of the Grayt Wall of Art. “I asked her if we could re-hang it and she agreed. When we were hanging it, I mentioned, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we got some local artists to donate some art to hang on the wall?’ She agreed, so I started reaching out to local artists.”
Best described as a free outdoor art gallery, the Wall has become a great example of a community coming together.
The Grayt Wall of Art, as it has been affectionately named, has had a truly organic beginning and growth.
Art from co-organizer, Allen French, well-recognized names like Justin Gaffrey, Allison Wickey, Kathleen Broaderick, and even a burgeoning young artist, Finn Townsend, age 3 are displayed. Other artists featured include Kayla Burleson, Deborah Pittman, Julia Kate Mace, Donna Burgess, Matt Lyons, Victoria Hughes, Dana Carley Spradlin, Debbie Bowman-Cornett, Clint Eagar, Brooks Roberts, Lee Clark, and Sean Merideth.
“It’s funkiness, laid back attitude, a fantastic tree canopy, a beautiful Dune Lake, and the nicest beach on Earth,” said Allen.
“Artists have embraced the Wall and have been so generous with their donations of art and Joyce has been so generous to allow her fence to become the Grayt Wall of Art.”
There has been such an overwhelming response from the local art community, that the Wall is basically full. Allen plans to add plaques listing artist information so people can reach out to them.
“I hope this will help the artists sell more art and help our local art community to thrive,” adds Allen. “Art brings people together. The Grayt Wall provides a chance for locals, tourists, adults and children to experience art, touch art, photograph art, take selfies with art and enjoy art, all for free.”
And, that all sounds pretty Grayt.
JESSICA ROBERTS is a Santa Rosa Beach writer and event producer. When not working or writing, you’ll find her out on the water or traveling somewhere new.