Art, Friendship, and 30A Nostalgia: Inside Grayton Beach’s SHACKS Gallery

Jul 11, 2024 | Businesses, Communities, Events, Music Scene, Walton & Beyond

Owners of SHACKS, Kasey Caldwell and Autumn Johnson

By Kerri Parker

In the heart of Grayton Beach, where the spirit of 30A’s bohemian past still lingers, a vibrant new art gallery has thrown open its doors.

Nestled in a sprawling space that feels more like a creative playground than a gallery, this new hotspot is a nostalgic nod to the era when 30A was a well-kept secret. Featuring an eclectic mix of works from dozens of artists, the art community has a new haven for unfiltered artistic retail sales in Walton County, Florida.

Art displayed at Shacks

Working artists and owners of SHACKS in Grayton Beach are two pals with more than a decade of friendship. Kasey Caldwell and Autumn Johnson met in Nashville through an artist  cooperative, AKA artist coop. Art coops are a collaborative organization where artists come together to share resources, ideas, and opportunities for the mutual benefit of all members. The pair became close friends. Knowing Autumn had dreams of ditching Nashville for Gulf waters and white sandy beaches, Kasey planted a seed; extolling the virtues of her hometown. “If she had to move, I wanted to be able to visit her when I came home,” says Kasey. Autumn took the bait and off she went to the beaches of South Walton.

Art on walls at SHACK

As luck would have it, a quintessential artist coop on Scenic 30A, the Artists at Gulf Place, had an available space/shack available. Without pause, the two jumped on the opportunity. They knew the mastermind behind the Artists at Gulf Place was beloved local and artist Dwight Ward. The two didn’t hesitate to join forces even though Kasey had not moved back to Florida yet. 

Display in SHACK

Fast forward through a very successful run at Gulf Place, the two were derailed when the majority of Gulf Place commercial spaces, including Artists at Gulf Place, was sold to Alvin’s Island conglomerate. One by one, leases were not being renewed throughout the development. The writing was on the wall. “We wanted a lease, we asked for a lease, but we just couldn’t get a response. So, we started looking for a space to no avail. Defeated, I turned to my neighbor and friend who is also a real estate agent,” explains Kasey. 

Thanks to her savvy realtor neighbor, Taryn Steeno, the fortunate friends and business partners had a deal in less than 48 hours! Once again, the perfect space had become available. Not a shack, rather a large retail multi-level space in bustling Mystic Porte at Grayton Beach. 

“Autumn and I  were so grateful the owners wanted a specific merchant mix. They wanted us as much as we wanted to be in this space. Thankfully, it is important to them that the art community is represented,” says Kasey. 

Art displayed at Shacks

The SHACKS in Grayton Beach opened in late March 2024, in just 41 days with over 40 artists represented.

Because Autumn and Kasey have been immersed in the local art community and participate in art festivals all over the country, they knew who to bring into their new gallery. “We have two rooms of art on the first floor and four rooms upstairs, including a recording studio for a new podcast called Half Truths & Outright Lies,” says Kasey. The podcast hosts are seasoned local musicians, John Reinlie and Jared Reynolds, who will launch their first episode on July 12. The first episode features long-time local artist Eileen West. The series will include stories about locals who have helped pave the way for a uniquely creative community.

Hand Crafted hats at SHACK

On Friday, July 12 at 5 p.m., SHACKS is hosting a party to celebrate the art and life of Franko “Washboard” Jackson, one of  Walton County’s earliest artists and musicians.

Franko and his wife, Eileen West, were early advocates of the arts. With their encouragement, many of today’s coveted local artists –  from members of the cherished local band Dread Clampitt, painters Justin Gaffrey, Billie Gaffrey, to restaurateur and live music supporter Chef Jim Richard –  all have blossomed and nurtured the art and cultural scene of South Walton as a direct influence of Eileen and Franko. 

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The SHACKS in Grayton Beach is located at 14 Clayton Lane, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459.

Click to follow their channels: Facebook for Workshops and Events, Instagram and Podcast.

For more details, check out their Website.


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