Kimball Art Center unveils its new 9,000-square-foot home in Park City
VIP tours start March 17
The Kimball Art Center will make a significant mark on it’s 45-year history when it unveils its new space at the Yard next week.
The 9,000-square-foot refurbished venue, located at 1251 Kearns Blvd., a few hundred yards west from the nonprofit’s former space, will include four exhibit halls, four rooms set aside for art classes and a cafe, said Executive Director Aldy Milliken.
“The idea with this space is you have a rough exterior that’s like a warehouse of corten steel and as you go inside, you come into a really nice and very well-defined art space,” Milliken said during a virtual tour. “Once inside, the first thing they see is art on the beautiful walls, because it’s intentional not to have the front desk right there. We want people to feel like people own or belong in the space.”
The Kimball Art Center will celebrate a kickoff for members on Wednesday, March 17, then host VIP tours, curated by Milliken and exhibit curator Nancy Stoaks, for donors and supporters Thursday through Saturday. Registration for those tours costs $20 for adults and $10 for children. Reservations for opening weekend tours can be made at kimballartcenter.org.
Social distancing and mask wearing will be required of visitors, students and staff on-site, and tours will be led by front-desk staff, Milliken said.
“(They) will have art degrees, and they will be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about art, the art world and exhibitions,” he said. “That’s important, because we want them to give our visitors good and informative tours and information about the exhibits themselves.”
The center will begin offering family-focused educational experiences on Saturday, March 20, and then open for free, timed-entry visits to the public beginning Tuesday, March 23.
From that point, the Kimball Art Center will be open Tuesday through Sunday, which is more of a traditional art-space schedule, according to Milliken, who was named executive director last summer.
“We wanted to give people the opportunities to come visit on the weekends, when they aren’t working,” he said.
The opening exhibit, “When Evening Has Passed and Tomorrow Comes,” explores
the work of four vanguard artists — Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, Nicola López, Cauleen Smith and Saya Woolfalk — and will take up all four gallery spaces, Milliken said.
“The ceiling heights are 14 to 15 feet high, and things are well lit, so you get a sense of a serious art space in these rooms,” Milliken said. “There are different ways to handle the space, so artists can work with us in different ways. We see the exhibition program as telling stories, and the different shapes in the architecture helps define what we do in the interior.”
This is a change from the Kimball Art Center’s former space at 1401 Kearns Blvd.
“The challenge with our other space was it just had one big room for exhibits, and you had to build something up, or just deal with that one big room,” Milliken said. “With this new building, we have rooms with nice volumes that can be used for videos and different types of installation exhibits.”
Gallery One is ideal for hosting artists talks, cocktail-party events and other public activities, he said.
“We can do art-forward events in this intimate area and adhere to COVID-19 protocols,” Milliken said. “While it would be nice to do larger events for 500 people, experiencing art is a personal thing. So smaller groups are perfect for this sort of thing.”
The Kimball Art Center’s art classes will be held in rooms specifically set aside for education, according to Milliken.
Those areas include a room with outdoor access, a ceramics room and another area that houses a kiln.
“I see all the rooms as being multi-purpose, but since we’re all on the same floor, and so close together, we can be more flexible in how we use them during the different seasons,” he said.
There is a specific philosophy regarding the Kimball Art Center’s education and exhibition spaces, Milliken said.
“The education areas wrap around the exhibition program area, and that’s why there is a lot of space dedicated to education,” he said. “Our exhibition programs are the hub and our education programs radiate out into the community like spokes of a wheel or rays of the sun.”
Milliken hopes residents who visit the Kimball Art Center will find inspiration in the exhibits and then try their hand at creating their own art.
“I would like them to learn how to appreciate the artistic process,” he said.
The new venue will also include a cafe and a donor recognition wall.
“We had 400 donors in 2020, and we have a place where their names will be on display,” he said.
Milliken views this new space as a declaration of the nonprofit’s commitment to the arts and culture district Park City wants to build in Bonanza Park. The center is envisioned as one of two anchors of the district along with the Sundance Institute.
“We’ll be here for five years while we develop the district, so it isn’t temporary in our minds,” he said. “We are committed to bringing high-level, international, quality, locally focused, contemporary culture to our education and exhibition programs.”
Milliken knows many Park City residents and visitors have stopped by the Yard for parties, bike swaps and Sundance Film Festival events, and said it is the perfect place for the Kimball Art Center’s new vision.
“Now they get to see the space in a new form that is so beautiful and surprising, which I think is also part of how we should experience art,” he said. “Let’s be surprised. Let’s be challenged.”
Where: 1251 Kearns Blvd.
When: 4-8 p.m. March 18-21
Cost: $20 for adults, and $10 for children
When: Tuesdays through Sundays, starting March 23
Cost: Free, but registration and scheduling required
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