Amy Roberts: It takes all types of thinkers to pull off the Park City Kimball Arts Festival
August 1, 2018
Editor's note: Amy Roberts is the senior director of marketing and communications for the Kimball Art Center.
Every Sunday night, just before I sit down to pound out this column, I first glance at my calendar to prepare me for the week ahead. It startled me a bit when I noticed August had plans to appear by midweek. After all, August is pretty much the end of summer. Which means ski season is right around the corner. So basically I should start this column by writing, "Happy New Year."
Summers always go fast in the mountains. But this one in particular should get a speeding ticket. Most years, if my garden produces more than a dozen tomatoes before a frost, I consider it a bumper crop. This year, I haven't even planted them yet.
Like most people in this town, my summers are measured by the number of Silly Sundays, live music, al fresco dinners, parades, softball games, hikes, days on the lake and mountain bike rides I can cram in between snowfalls. Given that June and August snowstorms aren't exactly unheard of, there's an almost desperate urgency not to waste a single ray of sunshine. And while I didn't waste them, I'm not sure I can account for them either. If I had to write a "What I did on my summer vacation" essay, there would be little more than a confused face emoji and a question mark on the paper.
I’ve attended Arts Fest every year for the last 20 or so I’ve lived here; but always on the consumer side. Being on the planning side is a far different experience.”
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Much of this is because I took a new job last February, working for the Kimball Art Center. After a few months of learning the ropes, I left town in May for an extended, pre-planned vacation. When I returned, there was a lot of making up for that break.
The making up quickly morphed into ceaseless planning, promoting, and organizing a massive deadline intensive project — the Park City Kimball Arts Festival. (Shameless plug: it begins this Friday night. Visit ParkCityKimballArtsFestival.org to learn more.)
I've attended Arts Fest every year for the last 20 or so I've lived here; but always on the consumer side. Being on the planning side is a far different experience.
There are binders 300-plus pages thick, filled with details so minute, I wouldn't be surprised if our operations team knows the exact time, down to the second, each participating artist was born. And their shoe size. There are precise load-in times (also down to the second), drawn to scale renderings ensuring every square inch of Main Street is thoughtfully used, and the ice order is placed down to the cube. It would not surprise me if everyone on this team moonlights as a forensic scientist.
It's an interesting experiment — to mix these hyper detail-oriented people with the creative minds at the Kimball. Creatives tend to be big-picture thinkers, far more inclined to express themselves using a paintbrush than binders filled with Excel spreadsheets. And the detail people tend to have little use for a paintbrush, unless it doubles as a tape measure.
But somehow, despite these drastic differences in event planning approach, this group complements each other. It must be similar to the relationship between a contractor and an interior designer. The contractor might be intensely focused on pouring the foundation for a home, knowing the rest of the house hinges on getting that step right. But the designer believes the color scheme is the home's most critical feature because it's what a buyer will notice first. And somehow, they're both right.
We've been in the thick of Arts Fest planning — both big picture and tiny details — for months. And this weekend, it will all pay off.
Arts Fest benefits both our community and local businesses — the event brings over $20 million to the state in one weekend. But even more important is the weekend's direct benefit to local students. The money raised from Arts Fest helps fund art education programs in our public schools — a curriculum proven to increase confidence, build creative problem solving skills, and result in both academic and social success. Because as important as the detailed thinkers are, it's equally as important for people to use their imaginations to get the job done.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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