Since the Summer of ’69: the Park City Arts Festival

PARK CITY, Utah — The Kimball Art Center is hosting its 53rd annual Arts Festival from August 5-7 on a cordoned-off Main Street to show off a diverse and intentional collection of artists of various disciplines, from ceramics and woodworking to mixed media and painting. The award-winning Arts Fest is a beloved weekend of locals and visitors from all over the country.

“The Arts Festival has actually been around longer than the Kimball Art Center,” said Arts Festival Director Hillary Gilson. “It was started by a group of vagabond artists back in 1969, who were just looking for a way to display their art outside of the gallery scene. It started as a community-driven event that celebrated art outside of environments like galleries or museums, where some people didn’t feel comfortable. The Arts Festival continues in trying to break down those barriers around art accessibility and be inclusive.”

Everything must go! Liquidation sale. Photo: Kimball Art Center.

This year there will be around 200 jury-selected artists from over 30 states and a handful of international participants. Of those 200, 30% are first-time artists that have never participated in the Kimball Arts Festival before, about 7% are local artists from Summit County and Wasatch County, and 5% are emerging artists that are classified as showing their art in five or fewer gallery exhibits, arts festivals, or museums.

“COVID is still around and a concern,” she said. “We have the same layout as last year, which was a strategic change to create more space between the booths to have more airflow. It ended up being a better experience for the people on the street for the artists opening up and ended up putting more art on the street.”

A new addition to the artists’ booths are ribbons inspired by the ones that adorn Park City’s historic homes. The ribbons will indicate first-time artists, emerging artists, local artists, etc., “to help attendees navigate their way through the festival with instant information.”

Locals’ Night kicks off the festival weekend on Friday, August 5. On Locals’ Night, Summit County residents can enter the festival for free with proof of residence (license, utility bill, etc.) Locals must register online in advance for Friday to enter free of charge. Young Artists’ Academy members will be the feature of a live art-making event Friday evening; the products of this event will be available for purchase through a weekend-long silent auction at the information booth.

Photo: Claire Wiley.

Tickets are available in advance online as well as in person at Entry Gates positioned along Main Street. However, day-of pricing increases from advance purchase pricing.

Specialty VIP passes are available for purchase, which includes:

  • Unlimited weekend access to the festival.
  • Guided spirit, beer, and wine tastings are scheduled throughout the weekend.
  • A skybox view of all the action on Main Street, complete with an air-conditioned lounge to relax and refresh during the festival.
  • An annual Red level membership to the Kimball Art Center and the passholder’s name listed as a Kimball Art Center donor.

New to the festival this year for VIP passholders only is Arts After Dark, produced by the Park City Song Summit includes an after-hours dance party on Friday night and an exclusive Wyatt Pike performance and interview from executive director Ben Anderson on Saturday evening.

“We really wanted to focus on music as another art form this year,” said Gilson. “It’s one of the earliest art forms that brought people and communities together, and we wanted to tie it into the weekend in a bigger way.”

Interactive art-making stations, like clay throwing and drawing, will be sprinkled throughout the festival with ties to artist-in-residence Nancy E. Rivera, More Than A Thousand Words, and future exhibition Wonderland. The Creation Station is open to people of all ages and skillsets to participate in art-making.

Photo: Claire Wiley.

Mountain Town Music and Vacasa provide the soundtrack to the weekend with two different stages, one at the Food Truck Roundup and the Spirit Garden area on Heber Ave.

Opportunity drawings are available all weekend long at the information booth. Buy one ticket for $5 or 5 for $20 (in-person or online). Local sponsors like Armada Skis, Vacasa, and Old Town Cellars donated items for the prize baskets.

Keep Park City green by using free Park City transit, walking, or riding bikes to the 7th Avenue bike valet sponsored by Bahnhof Sport. Parking is limited.

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