The legendary summer of 1969 gave the world its first glimpse of many iconic moments, from the moon landing to Woodstock. Change was in the air, inspiring cultural shifts that resonate today. That summer-of-’69 energy even made its way to then-small-town Park City, sparking new forms of creative expression and celebration.
“It started when a group of local artists literally removed doors off their hinges and leaned them outside on Main Street,” explains Robin Marrouche, former executive director and current board member at Kimball Art Center. “They hung their wares on the doors, and it became so popular and big that they eventually needed more organization to keep it going.” That’s when Bill Kimball stepped in. He founded Kimball Art Center in 1976, starting what would become Park City’s flagship visual arts organization in a dilapidated garage. That same year, cultural advocate Tina Lewis became the Center’s first executive director and began running festival operations. Flash-forward to 2019: a humble artists’ revolution has turned into the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, drawing around 50,000 people to Park City each summer for Utah’s longest-running event of its kind.
The Festival at 50
“The two biggest annual events in Park City are the Sundance Film Festival and the Arts Festival,” says current Executive Director Jory Macomber. “It’s clear that the arts are in the DNA of Park City, and the Arts Festival is a big part of that.” As he gears up to preside over his second Festival, Macomber and his staff are eager to celebrate the 50-year milestone with the community.
The Arts Festival has grown into a boon for the local economy, with an estimated impact of $23M. It also happens to be Kimball Art Center’s primary fundraiser, with proceeds going to fund community events and programs, including free art classes in public schools. “Our exhibitions and galleries are always free and open to the public,” explains Macomber. “Accessibility is one of our core values, and we need this fundraiser to provide these programs. Also, we don’t take a percentage of art sales. The artists sold over $1M last year, and they get to keep that. So, we wouldn’t be able to do this without the help of the city, our sponsors—especially our title sponsor, Intermountain Park City Hospital—and many dedicated volunteers.”
As in previous years, the festival will feature more than 220 artists, food trucks and artisanal tastings, a beer garden, live music, and activities for kids along a one-mile stretch of Historic Main Street. There will also be special 50th-anniversary perks, like these new and expanded offerings:
Free the Fest:
This year, admission will be free to primary residents of Summit County for the entire duration of the festival to thank locals for 50 years of support.
Kimball on Main:
The former site of Kimball Art Center on the corner of Heber Ave and Main will be the site of the annual “Art Starts Here” gala, VIP lounge, and other events.
Goal Zero Partnership:
Solar-powered generators will reduce the festival’s carbon footprint.
Brushes and Brunch:
Join a festival artist for a brunch to learn more about them and their work.
Bill Kimball passed away in 2005, but the evolution of the Festival stands as a lasting legacy, fulfilling his vision of providing “the opportunity for each person to expand his interest in the arts.” To learn more about how you can join the festivities and become part of that evolution, visit parkcitykimballartsfestival.org.
Dates: August 2–4, 2019
Location: Historic Main Street
Admission (3-day pass): Adults $15, Kids 6–17 $6, Kids 5 and under free.
Transportation, etc.: Avoid traffic by walking, biking, or riding free Summit County buses to Main Street. For parking information and other details, see “How to Fest” on the festival website.
Prepare for summer mountain weather—rain or shine. Sunscreen, hats, and plenty of water are essential.
Attend in the morning for cooler temps and smaller crowds.
Reserve tickets in advance; adult tickets are only $12 online.
Bring the kids. The Kimball Art Center team has put a lot of thought into programming a special kids’ area and making the festival family-friendly.
Look for the “Studio on Main” space, where you can create your own works of art.
Get to know the artists, and buy something you love.
Meet the Artists
Park City Kimball Arts Festival features 13 different media categories: ceramics, drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, metalwork, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, wood, and—new in 2019—digital art. Artists are chosen by a panel of 12 jurors, who focus on quality, design, and technique. The roster includes Arts Festival veterans and newcomers alike, and visitors will find a variety of styles and price points. Here are just a few “Best in Show” winners from recent Festivals, to give you an idea of what to expect as you stroll through the booths this summer.
Best in Show Winner 2015–2018
Salt Lake City, UT
Woodblock Prints, Drawings, and Pastels
Best in Show Winner 2015 & 2017
Best in Show Winner 2017 & 2018
Bozenna & Lukasz Bogucki
Glenn Valley, CA
Best in Show Winners 2014, 2016,
2017 & 2018
Park City, UT
Best in Show Winner 2018