Local artists among those with works in Park City Kimball Arts Festival
The Park City Kimball Arts Festival, which will run Friday through Sunday on Main Street, will showcase 220 artists from around the country.
Ten of the artists are from Park City and surrounding Summit County — ceramicist Bruce Larrabee, printer Fred Montague; jewelers Michael McRae, Dori Pratt and Ron Butkovich; painters Anna Leigh Moore and Renee Mox Hall; and photographers Richard D. Pick, Patrick Brandenburg and Tom Horton.
McRae, who has had his works included in the festival two previous times, said this event is one of the most organized large-scale art events in the United States.
“I do shows all over the country, and some of the hardest things to do is loading your stuff in and loading your stuff out,” McRae said. “And I have never encountered such a professional, well-organized group as I have with the organizers from the Kimball Art Center.”
Pick, who is also a three-timer, said his first year was a little overwhelming but recalls it as a special experience.
“I remember trying to figure out all the logistics — setting up the tent, putting in the lights and then getting my artwork,” he said. “But once you’re all set up, you can see why people from all over the country want to come experience it.”
Montague remembered his first of five outings at the festival. It was in 1988, and he lived in Indiana at the time.
“I applied with my handmade books that I print and bind myself,” he said. “Doing the festival was reasonably easy because I could rent a canopy from Modern Display and not have to pack my own on the plane.” Montague moved to Utah to teach at the University of Utah in 1992, and has since been juried into the festival four times.
Each year he participates, Montague not only delves into his images, but also does all the matting and packaging of the prints himself.
“All my stuff is flatwork of original drawings, woodcut or letterpress prints, so the task for me is to make sure I have enough inventory to sell,” he said. “There is something about doing everything myself. Then I think back to all the hundreds of mats I’ve cut and prints I have mounted. I really enjoy it, and I think if it got to the point where I didn’t like doing that, then it would be time to look for a new creative outlet.”
McRae, who said he works 10 hours a day to make enough rings, necklaces, cuffs, buckles and earrings for the festival, traveled a winding road to metalsmithing. His first form of expression was photography, which he did for 30 years.
“I was mostly a commercial photographer, and I was always shooting other people’s layouts and designs,” he said. “I shot a lot of jewelry for Ari Diamonds and Morgan Jewelers, and that was interesting to me. So I started making my own jewelry.”
McRae showed both photography and jewelry during his first year at the arts festival.
“Then it came down to picking my poison, so I chose metal,” he said.
The jeweler said his involvement with the arts festival has forced him to hone his craft.
“This show, just by its nature, makes you better,” he said. “It’s critical to step up your game because the level of art and craft that is present at the Park City Kimball Arts Festival is extremely high.”
“Although the festival is the Kimball Art Center’s biggest fundraiser, it’s also one of the most difficult shows in the country to get in,” he said. “And if you don’t continue to improve your art, you won’t get into next year’s festival.”
Participating in the festival is also a way for the artists to get feedback from the public, McRae said.
“To have a show like this is a bonus, because you have a vehicle to get your art out there,” he said. “And while it’s nice to sell pieces, it’s also nice to get back confirmation that we’re on the right path.”
Judging when a piece of art is good enough to be in the festival is something Pick has learned over the years.
“You take these raw images and work on them in a digital dark room,” he said. “Over time you get a feel of how the image will be able to move the viewer around it just the way you want. It’s just something that you come to know.”
The Park City Kimball Arts Festival will run from Friday to Sunday on Main Street. For information, visit parkcitykimballartsfestival.org.
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