This summer, defeat the heat—and avoid the parent-kid screen-time scuffle—with a triple-pronged approach to artistic immersion: creative hands-on classes, a kids-centric guide to area arts festivals, and a self-navigated tour of Park City’s public art. Ta-da! A Renaissance kid is born.
Step 1: Let Them Get Dirty
Park City’s art-scene matriarch, the Kimball Art Center (1401 Kearns Blvd, 435.649.8882), offers more than 87 classes for tots, children, and teens including the popular week-long glass mosaic camp led by Katherine England. Teens may opt for a wheel-thrown ceramics class or tots can get their hands on pinch pots at Kimball Clay. Or the entire clan can get together for a Friday or Saturday family class. Combine individual classes for a week-long day camp or as a one-time or once-a-week commitment.
There is nothing intimidating about a blank canvas at The Paint Mixer (738 Main St, 435.604.0820). Here, an artist-teacher helps all ages delve into the forgiving realm of acrylics in a step-by-step class themed around an image—from kid-favorites Elephant and So Despicable (yes, minions) to the Van Gogh–esque Starry Twilight. The final result need not mimic the model image. As owner Jill Johnson says, “It’s fun art, not fine art.” Young artists, ages 5 to 14, flock to Wildlife Wednesdays ($30 per child, age 12 and under; $35 for age 13 and older) as well as the skateboard-painting class. A week-long camp and open studio (sans instructor) are also on tap for this summer.
The shelves at Paint Fusion Park City (1635 W Redstone Center Dr, 435.575.6463), formerly known as Color Me Mine, brim with unfired pottery just begging to be transformed into brightly hued, glazed pieces. Small fries tend to gravitate to the party animals: petite $13 figures such as the popular dog and turtle. Or they may opt to paint a mug or platter as a gift for Grandma. All-day studio fees are $6 for kids and $10 for adults; however, the adult fee is waived if the accompanying grown-up is not creating a piece. (Insider tip: Paint Fusion Park City also serves up a scrumptious ham and cheese crêpe.)
Get schooled in serious artistry or inner goofiness—or vintage flair—with the Park City School District’s (435.615.0215) wide palette of classes. Courses for tots to teens range from “Silly” Nathan Jarvis’s adventures in “cartoonapalooza” ($129 for five days of three-hour classes) to Jorge Rodriguez’s “Steampunk” art, using repurposed goods to create everything from top hats to goggles. Classes—and camps (in art and beyond)—are held at local schools.
Kids can get the feel of centering clay on a pottery wheel at the Art Studio at Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort (8841 N Alpine Loop Rd, Sundance, 801.225.4107, ext. 4535), where beading, pottery, painting, and printmaking classes are tailored to all ages and levels. Cost is $95 for a two-hour class (ages 7 and older) or $65 for a one-hour class (3- to 6-year-olds—no potter’s wheel involved). If the resort’s glassblowers are in residence, be sure to stick around after class to catch a glimpse as molten recycled glass is transformed into a vase or dinner plate.
Step 2: Revel in the Festival
Get in on the annual scavenger hunt at the 48th annual Kimball Arts Festival as a way to inspire children to engage one-on-one with some of the 220 artists, whose booths line Main Street August 4–6. Remember to return to the kids area for a prize out of the scavenger-hunt treasure chest, a stint at the clay jewelry-making station, or the ever-popular face painting. Admission is free for Summit County residents on Friday (5 to 9 p.m.). To avoid the crowds (this event is attended by more than 50,000 art lovers), try to make it to Main Street on the Sunday morning of the festival (gates open at 10 a.m.). A three-day wristband is $6 per child (ages 5 and under are free) and $12 for adults.
A nautical theme accompanies this year’s Art Yard, a canopied space ideal for getting wiggles out and creativity on, at Salt Lake City’s Utah Arts Festival, June 22–25 at Library Square. The yard features make-and-take art activity booths presented by local nonprofits, including Viking-inspired crafts courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Utah and the Utah Museum of Fine Art’s Japanese fish-printing project. Add some sonic fun to the mix by swinging by the instrument petting zoo to pull a bow across strings (under the gentle supervision of Summerhays Music Center instructors). Admission to the festival is free for children (age 12 and under), so consider a $3 splurge at the Mad Hatter booth to let your budding artisan make a sequined, feathered, and/or painted chapeau.
Step 3: Take the Show on the Road
Pack a picnic and set out on a self-guided tour of Park City’s public art. The wide range of pieces, scattered to every corner of town, range from the row of Muse sculptures at the Old Town Transit Center (558 Swede Alley) and abstract metalworks along the Rail Trail to brightly painted pianos (little ones are welcome to play them) and mural-filled tunnels. There are at least three works by famed guerrilla-graffiti artist Banksy in Park City; the easiest to find—of a cameraman picking a flower—is located on the south-facing wall of the Java Cow (402 Main St). Take the bus out to the Kimball Junction Transit Center
(1899 W Ute Blvd) to check out the interactive art display inside the center and the metal sculptures outside the center on the bus shelters. Or swing by the Park City Library (1255 Park Ave) or the Kimball Art Center (1401 Kearns Blvd) to check out their free-admission art exhibitions. A map of Park City’s public art installations is available at the Public Art Advisory Board's website.
Just 30 minutes down Parley’s Canyon is the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (410 Campus Center Dr, Salt Lake City, 801.581.7332), Utah’s state art museum where you’ll find exhibits from around the world spanning more than 5,000 years. On August 26, the UMFA reopens after a year-long remodel closure with a weekend of free events including art viewing, art making, behind-the-scenes tours, dance, and films. When you go, check out a Family Backpack filled with lots of tidbits to encourage kids to explore the museum like games, workbooks, and touchable textile samples. This fall, the UMFA will also restart its popular free-admission “Third Saturday” family activity days, highlighted by an art project corresponding with a current exhibit. October’s Third Saturday mask-making activity, for example, parlays nicely into a trot over to the new exhibition of African works.