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Gallery Stroll hits its stride

Dan BischoffOf the Record Staff
A large group crowds the Kimball Art Center during a gallery stroll this past summer.
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The Park City Gallery Stroll began as a "who/what?" leisurely walk to a "must see" promenade in three years.

When the Kimball Art Center formed the Park City Gallery Association a year ago, the stroll was able to showcase its potential. Last year about 80 people attended the festival, according to Susan Thomas, the public relations director of the Kimball. Now, Thomas said, about 250 people attend each month.

"I’m just really pleased," Thomas said. "I had no idea what we would see in results. "We all believed in and hoped it would make a difference."

It did.

"We are just thrilled and pleased that it worked so well," Thomas added. "I didn’t expect to see my event numbers triple, even more than that sometimes. We can almost say quadrupled. Tripled is conservative."

Some of the local galleries are seeing the benefits of the improved, more popular stroll.

"We definitely see more traffic during those specific hours," said Laura Alleman, manager of Images of Nature. "On average we see at least three times as many people during that time period."

Alleman has been keeping a close eye on the numbers of people coming in. She has seen a difference in the last year.

"The gallery stroll numbers are kind of interesting to see," Alleman said. "We have definitely seen an increase in traffic and a sizeable increase in traffic (in the last year)."

The event is starting to draw people from beyond Park City.

"Park City people are grabbing their friends and taking them to a gallery stroll. We are getting more people from Ogden to Provo coming too. Some will say ‘I’m from American Fork.’ It’s more up and down Wasatch Front," Thomas said.

Alleman agrees, "We see people from all parts of Summit County from Wasatch County and the Wasatch Front," she said.

The Terzian Gallery, a fairly new gallery to Park City, has also seen the benefits from the stroll.

"We’ve seen an increase in walk-through traffic in the stroll itself. Between a regular Friday and a gallery stroll there’s much more people. We’ve just noticed a significant number," said Emily Chaney, gallery manager.

Chaney has been involved with the Salt Lake gallery stroll and she thinks Park City’s stroll is almost up to par.

"We try to have new work up for that night, Chaney said. "We also have drinks and food. There’s more of an atmosphere, I think that’s why Salt Lake is so successful, and we are starting to get that feel in Park City of something new and an occasion. The stroll even brings in people from Salt Lake."

Images of Nature, along with other galleries, also plans new work and provide refreshments during the strolls. They will set out food and drinks and usually try to provide an author, artist or guest that people can talk with.

"It’s a destination event for people to come do this now," said Alleman. "I think there are some of the people who consistently come out. What I’ve seen is they use this as a great excuse to do something in town. It’s used as something they plan to go to."

As it is drawing in more visitors and becoming more of an event, many galleries are trying new things to keep art lovers in their gallery.

"A lot of the galleries will have a lot of the artists on hand so people can walk up and ask questions," Thomas said.

The larger numbers create an ambiance for Main Street that is good for all of Park City.

"I think the gallery strolls are good for Main Street in general," Alleman said. "They get their maps and walk up and down the street. It’s a benefit for all the stores and restaurants as well."

The larger crowds also add to the art event.

"The crowds are bigger and the events are more fun, and there are more people," Thomas said. A couple will come one month then come back with other people the next month.

"People love it and they are coming back and they are bringing friends. It’s such good exposure for all the galleries and for Park City to get the word out that Park City is an art destination," Thomas continued.

While most galleries are open daily and people have opportunities to peruse the photographs, paintings and sculptures throughout the month, this venue brings something special.

"People can do this just any day, but I think it’s really fun when there are 200 people in a 3-hour time," Thomas said. "There’s a fun air to it when they skip up and down Main Street. Hitting all of the galleries in one night really adds an extra flare to it."

The Park City Gallery Stroll will begin at the Kimball Art Center Oct. 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. Visitors will have an opportunity to peruse 23 participating galleries. As usual there will be hors d’oeuvres. The band Four Corners, sponsored by the Park City Jazz Foundation, will play from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Strollers can purchase a ticket/map for $5. For more information, call 649-8882. Everybody who buys a gallery stroll ticket will enter their names in a drawing for prizes donated by the local galleries.

Participating galleries:

Artworks Gallery Coda Gallery Crosby Collection David Whitten Gallery Images of Nature Iron Horse Gallery Julie Nester Gallery Kimball Art Center Lanny Barnard Gallery Meyer Gallery Mountain Trails Gallery Old Town Gallery Park City Colors Phoenix Gallery Stanfield Fine Art Stone Art Gallery Taminah Gallery / Montgomery Lee Fine Art Terzian Galleries The Redstone Gallery The Crosby Collection Wild Spirits Nature Photography Wilshire Galleries Windows to the World


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