Arts & Culture in Niceville
Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center
Niceville may be small in size but it is big on the arts. Niceville is home to the Mattie Kelly Fine and Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of Northwest Florida State College.
A $25 million-dollar, 12-acre performing arts and educational complex that hosts Broadway’s best touring shows, visiting artists, dance and opera companies, the Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center is the region’s premier venue for outstanding entertainment and cultural events.
The complex encompasses a 1,650 seat Mainstage theater which accommodates touring Broadway shows, the 195-seat, flexible Sprint Theater, an art wing with two galleries, a music wing, a visual arts building and the beautiful NWF State College amphitheater which accommodates up to 3,500 people.
The arts center is home of the Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts Division of NWF State College, providing an outstanding educational environment that rivals that of many large universities. Through this division, students pursue studies in art, dance, music, humanities and theater that lead to associates’ and bachelor’s degrees.
Several college performing groups offer public performances at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, such as the Soundsations Showchoir, Dance Ensemble, Jazz Band, Madrigal Singers, Northwest Florida Symphony Youth orchestra and more.
The Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center Galleries
The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries consist of two adjoined galleries which together showcase approximately 20 different international, national and regional exhibitions annually. The Galleries also host workshops and lectures related to exhibitions.
The beautiful and expansive McIlroy Gallery features an 18-foot ceiling constructed with screened windows, allowing in defused natural light. The gallery features exhibitions, lectures and presentations by guest artists.
The other exhibit area is the Holzhauer Gallery which was named after famed artist Emil Holzhauer who donated a multi-million dollar permanent collection of his works to NWF State College. When not displaying other works, the Holzhauer Gallery displays parts of this collection as well as the college’s Sublette Collection of New Guinea Sculpture and Masks or the L.R. Davis Flint Glass Collection.
The Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra
The Mainstage Theater at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center is the home venue of the region’s premier professional symphony, the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra at Northwest Florida State College.
The Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra (NFSO) was established in 1987 by Northwest Florida State College. The NFSO is a professional orchestra offering the highest quality of standard and new orchestral repertoire. Through the artistry of its professional musicians, dynamic performance venues, and exhilarating performances, the NFSO has become one of the most important musical organizations along the Gulf Coast region.
The Northwest Florida Symphony Chorale performs with the orchestra twice each year.
The NFSO Guild supports the orchestra and hosts an annual concerto competition for area youth. The NFSO and NFSO Guild also support the Northwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra and Junior Orchestra of Northwest Florida State College, the region’s only youth orchestra programs.