Arts Festival deemed a success |

Arts Festival deemed a success

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

Not all of the numbers are in, but Kimball Art Center Executive Director Robin Marrouche has gathered enough data and feedback to deem the 41st annual Park City Kimball Arts Festival, which took place Aug. 6-8, a consummate success.

Marrouche had not received official statistics regarding attendee numbers and demographics as of press time, but said she was confident in the success of the festival on multiple levels.

"One of the highlights this year was how well the community collaborations worked together," she said in a phone interview on Monday. "The other thing that really stood out as being a success was our new programming."

The Kimball bolstered its offerings this year in order to boost tourism, adding more live music, film screenings, art-related panel discussions and partnerships with local restaurants.

There were many events going on in town and local entities joined forces to encourage people to spend the weekend in Park City, she said.

"Even though we all had different events going on, we were cross-marketing and we worked together to make Park City a really great tourist destination. Together we augmented the level of experience and offerings for our visitors and tourists, which in turn bears significant positive economic impact for the community," she said.

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One of the obvious indicators of the festival’s economic impact was the influx of traffic both on foot and in vehicles on Friday evening. Cars lined up to enter Park City via the I-80 exit at Kimball Junction and the city reported that 7,200 people utilized the bus system Friday night, Marrouche said.

Rather than advertising the opening night as a locals’ event, the Kimball advertised free admission around the state in an effort to boost tourism for hotels and restaurants.

Bob Kollar, director of special events for the Park City Chamber/Bureau, said he won’t receive official data until late September or early October, but projections show that overnight visitation numbers for the weekend are on par with last year.

Marrouche expects that, compared to last year’s festival, attendance data will reflect a decline in admission on Saturday due to the weather and an increase on Sunday. "We ended up holding our own," she said.

The Opening Night Gala and Art Auction netted a 25-percent increase in proceeds from last year, she noted. The event sold out at least a week in advance and the waitlist reached 40 names, she said. "That’s never happened before and it was pretty exciting."

The artists selected to take part in RELEVANT, the Kimball’s new artist-in-residence program developed in conjunction with Spiro Arts, auctioned off pieces at the gala and took home half of the proceeds.

"The exposure that they got was more than we’d even hoped for," Marrouche said, noting that some of the RELEVANT artists were commissioned by patrons to create more artwork.

"It far exceeded our expectations in so many ways," she said. "It was a magical program on every level and I can’t wait to do it again next year."

RELEVANT is one of many new programs aimed at building the national significance of the Arts Festival, Marrouche said. "With Spiro and the support from many other for-profit and not-for-profit community partners working in sync together, we collectively helped extend Park City’s reputation as an important summer arts destination," she said.

Marrouche said she hopes the success of the community collaboration will serve as an example to other communities. "Challenging economic times necessitate trying out innovative ideas, leveraging strengths and pooling resources," she said. "Arts Festival weekend was a shining example of a community working together toward a common goal. We should all be really proud of the results."