The 54th Kimball Arts Festival is an open-air three-day celebration and appreciation of the artistic process and creation. The anticipated annual event is one of the top-ranked art festivals in the country and a favorite summer activity of Summit County residents and visitors. The festival connects artists and collectors and promotes opportunities for local and emerging artists. A jury selection of nearly 200 artists representing 13 mediums, interactive education programs, and live music culminate August 4-6 for an unforgettable weekend. There are diverse opportunities to enjoy the happenings, like free admittance on Local's Night and enhanced VIP and Weekender Pass perks.
Where: Park City Main Street
- Friday, August 4 (Locals Night), 5 pm – 9 pm
- Saturday, August 5, 10 am – 8 pm
- Sunday, August 6, 10 am – 6 pm
Prices for tickets purchased online (prices increase for at-the-gate ticket purchases):
- Friday is free for Summit County residents, second homeowners, and Main Street employees.
- Day pass $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 6 – 17
- Weekender Pass $99
- VIP Pass $299
Purchase tickets on the website to avoid lines and price increases at the gate.
Daily tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 6 – 17.
Friday night is Local's Night, which means Park City and Summit County residents, second homeowners, and all Main Street employees can pre-register to receive free admission! The free admission is a nod of appreciation to the Park City community.
"Friday night is such a special moment for Park City locals to come and gather and get the first glance," Meisha explains. "And what's also fascinating is that the artists will comment, Park City's Friday night is one of the best Friday nights in all of the festivals they go to because of our community.
Every facet of the Kimball Arts Festival embodies the organizing institution, the Kimball Art Center's mission to connect, inspire, and educate through art.
"Kimball Arts Festival is one of our most successful and celebrated programs. It's a primary pillar of our organization," explains Meisha Ross, Kimball Art Center's Marketing and Communication Consultant. "The festival's success is directly related to the organization's success and vice versa."
The funds generated from the Festival support Kimball Art Center's robust agenda and exhibits. "Every cent of net revenue directly supports the Kimball Art Center's year-round programming. That includes the Young Artist Academy, art education that we provide for Utah schools, the summer camps, and of course, our workshops," explains the Arts Festival Director, Hillary Gilson.
In the 54 years since the inception of the Arts Festival, the core values remain steadfast. Steep the community, vendors, and attendees in a diverse experience of art. The festival achieves diversity in artistic medium with the assistance of a jury. Every applicant goes through a competitive process to ensure a variety of mediums and expressions.
"We have a jury of art professionals; collectors, practicing artists, educators, curators, people that have a deep appreciation for art, not just contemporary art, but art in general. We have a panel of jurors that go through a double-blind process. They do not see any names or any additional information about the artists. It's just the artist's statement and the works," explains Hillary.
The jury plays a critical role in the competitive process. Each year upwards of 2000 artists apply. The festival only has space for 180 to 200. At least ten artists from the Wasatch Back earn a coveted spot. Additionally, the festival allots places for emerging artists.
What makes the Kimball Arts Festival a prized event in the artistic world? It's the Park City community and the appreciation the festival planning team demonstrates.
"Artists love coming to our arts festival. Not only do we bring in amazing art collectors, but our community is made up of incredible art collectors," Hillary states. "We pride ourselves in bringing in the best artists and then treating those artists like they are the VIPs of the festival because that's what they are."
The diversity in art parallels the diversity in attendees. The event is for everyone, which enhances the festive atmosphere. "It's not just for the people purchasing something for $5,000. It's for people getting prints or their first original piece of work." The Kimball Arts Festival is for anyone excited and interested in art.
What to Expect
"This is a not to be missed summer event in Park City. There's something for everyone. Whether it is your first time at an arts festival or your one-millionth time at an arts festival - we strive to create a fun, artistic, and creative environment for everyone who attends," Hillary exclaims.
Diversity is a vital facet of the festival, featuring thirteen mediums; ceramics, digital art, drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, metalwork, mixed media painting, photography printmaking, sculpture, and wood. Attention to detail creates a platform for every artist to shine, which includes careful consideration and planning for mapping vendor locations.
"There is an artistic and scientific side of it, where we curate everything," Hillary explains. "You'll notice that when you walk the street. When we map everything, we ensure there aren't two artists with the same mediums next to each other in booths." The result, artists don't have to compete for the spotlight.
Another way the Kimball Arts Festival honors artists is through the Best of Show awards, given to an artist in each of the 13 mediums. The 2023 Fest welcomes several exciting new prizes. "This year, we're introducing Best in Show awards for the Festival's Overall Artist, essentially the top dog of the whole festival, Best Local Artist, and Best Emerging Artist." Hillary is particularly excited about the awards honoring local and emerging artists and sees it as an opportunity to bolster careers.
The Best of Show awards come with a package of perks. One is automatic entry into Kimball Arts Festival for the following season (2023 winners earn a spot in the 2024 festival). The second is increased traffic and sales through accolades. This year awards presentations will happen Saturday instead of Sunday. The shift in timing is significant. "Those awards can really impact sales," Hillary explains.
"Education is obviously a huge pillar of the Kimball Art Center. And exhibitions as well. We draw on those exhibitions to program Art Education Activities throughout the streets," Hillary explains. "All of our education activities are directly tied to our exhibiting artists and current exhibition. This year that will be the third installment of our yearlong exhibition series Between Life and Land: Crisis. We're taking an environmental activist approach towards all the activities."
Educational programs are free enhancements for festival goers with the exception of a small fee to participate in wheel throwing and face painting.
Studio on Main, Heber Avenue offers the opportunity to create a cyanotype or botanical sun print with April Bojorquez and Matt Garcia of DesertArtLAB. Their work promotes Chicanx and Indigenous perspectives on food sovereignty, ecological practice, and climate change. Cayonotypes, or solar prints, are a sun-activated chemical process that produces images in various blues.
Studion on Main, Miner's Park programs alternate daily.
Friday features posters from the artist collective Dear Climate. Dear Climate addresses the climate crisis through posters, workshops, and guided meditations. Select a poster and meditate on the message it shares while coloring.
Saturday is an opportunity to try wheel throwing or hand building with clay. Kimball Art Center teachers will offer assistance and guidance.
Sunday is all about face painting by a skilled artist.
The Creation Station programs at the Town Lift Plaza intend to engage younger participants.
Call to Action Buttons – Use brush markers and Sharpies to create a pinned back button. This station encourages participants to speak up, use their voices, and ask questions like, "How will I make a difference?"
Experimental Paper Marbling – A meditative art experience station where participants explore Suminagashi ink printing.
Interactive Eco-Conscious Game – Embrace the community-building concept – it takes all of us to make a change. The game involves up-cycled materials, input from attendees about how to fight the climate crisis, and encourages contemplation about the human relationship to the land.
Educational Partnership Activities – Local environmental nonprofits will provide art-making activities and share their mission statement.
Creation Station Info Tent – Stop by for a Care for Your Kid Basket that includes water bottles, snacks, sunscreens, and kid-oriented goodies. Pick up a Scavenger Hunt guideline at the entrance gate, engage with artists to complete the mission and bring the Scavenger Hunt Clue Card to the Creation Station Info Tent to win a prize!
The Kimball Arts Festival embraces music as another medium of art that adds depth and enhances the experience. "The musical acts that we have booked are bands that help bring this festival together as we wrap up the night," Meisha explains. "The programming really does have the power to create a nightly encore for the festival."
The Arts Festival collaborates with Mountain Town Music to produce an unforgettable show.
This year the stage at Heber Avenue is larger, and bares a new name, the Main Stage, where artists will rotate throughout festival hours. Culminating with headliners jam band Fat Paw on Friday (7:15 – 9 pm), bluegrass band Pixie & The Party Grass Boys on Saturday (6:30 – 8 pm), and Indie space disco band Mitokandrea on Sunday (4:30 – 6 pm).
The second stage is at the top of Main Street in the Brew Pub parking lot and also dons a new name, the Wasatch Stage, featuring rotating artists during festival hours. Headliners include hip hop artists FreeMind Movement on Friday (7:30 – 9 pm), singer-songwriter Nathan Spense Revue on Saturday (6 – 8 pm), and Americana band Triggers & Slips on Sunday (4 – 6 pm).
Take public transit. Purchase tickets on the website (even the day of) to avoid at-the-gate price increases. Pick up a festival guide and a map to plot out the weekend. Stop by education booths for an interactive experience, check out live music, and most importantly, have fun!