Digital Graffiti: A night of lights and bites

Projection art exhibition pairs nicely with local cuisine

By Michelle Farnham
May 20, 2023

ALYS BEACH – The stark white architecture of Alys Beach is a stunning sight during the daylight hours, but at night, it transitions into a blank artist’s canvas unlike anything you’ve seen before. The site of the 16th annual Digital Graffiti Festival May 19 and 20, guests strolled the streets of this idyllic beach town, viewing projection artwork while enjoying locally sourced food and drinks.

Friday night was an all-inclusive experience, offering small plates like prime steak from Seagar’s; herb cavatelli with lamb shoulder and a cucumber yogurt soup from Roux 30A; and fried rice with green apple kimchi and carrot gazpacho by The Citizen.

Bites among the lights

Marrow Private Chefs was an early stop along the exhibition path.

“Tonight we’re serving oxtail marmalade and grits. It only took us three days to cook the oxtail for you,” laughed Marrow Executive Chef Richard McCord.

Idyll Hound Proper, the gastropub expected to open at 30Avenue this July, got a jumpstart on festival season, deep frying Bahamian-style Divide N’ Conch Fritters on-demand, by the light of a headlamp.

“These fritters are from our chef, Nick Walton – he’s an island guy – and are infused with our double IPA Divide and Conch’r and served with spiced mango chutney,” said Dan Tinghitella, CEO of No Reservations Restaurant Group.

There was plenty to sip on as well, from such purveyors as Good Clean Wine, Castle & Key Distillery, Lugo’s Craft Spirits and Herradura Tequila. Santa Rosa Beach-based Distillery 98 shook up “Lights, Camera, Action,” featuring their Dune Laker Vodka, lemon, blackberry and bay leaf syrup.

Glow on!

Among the 50 digital artists represented from around the world, Seaside Neighborhood School and Seacoast Collegiate High School got in on the action, presenting compilation works titled “Who Are We, Digitally?” and “Our Personal Digital Brand.” Each student and their parents were given a ticket to Saturday evening’s exhibit. Robyn Wallace, the school’s art teacher, spoke about the young artists’ process.

“A lot of this was a self-reflective piece,” explained Wallace. “Our fifth- and sixth-graders really dug into logos and then they had to think about themselves and how they would represent themselves digitally. They used primarily Google Drawing.

“For the seventh- through 10th-graders, we did a self portrait and the back images are photographs they’ve taken either off their social media or that represent themselves, and then they had to recreate themselves using Google Drawing as well. This was their first experience with anything digital. It was an opportunity to dig in and determine how they could change shapes and manipulate them to represent themselves.”

Ticketholders wrapped up the evening with an after-party at Caliza Restaurant, featuring a light show across the iconic pool.

Catch video of the inaugural Digital Graffiti livestream here.

Photos by Michelle Farnham

Caliza Restaurant
Caliza Restaurant hosted the after-party.