- The Park City Arts Festival, which fills Main Street the first weekend of August, attracts artists and arts lovers to the town every year (Image courtesy Latham Jenkins/Park City Chamber & Visitors Bureau).
Park City, Utah, was born to be Salt Lake City’s naughty younger sibling—the one that stays out late, sips cocktails and has fun.
The city sprang from the government’s efforts to bring outsiders to Utah in order to lessen the Mormon hold on the region during the Civil War. After troops struck silver in the mountains, a hard-working, fast-living mining culture developed.
Today, skiing, hiking, biking and equestrian enthusiasts call Park City home. So do artists and the Sundance Film Festival. The unspoiled landscape and year-round recreation attract residents intent on making Park City the arts and culture epicenter of the Rockies. A walk along Main Street shows their successes.
Get your bearings at Kimball Art Center (638 Park Ave., 435- 649-8882), just off Main, at Heber Avenue. The Kimball is the hub for the town’s visual arts, organizer of the Park City Gallery Association and host to monthly gallery strolls. Every August it sponsors the juried Park City Kimball Arts Festival. Director Pam Crowe-Weisberg calls it “the longest-running event of its kind in the West.”
The nonprofit Kimball, reinvented frequently since 1976, offers lectures, classes and exhibits. “We recognize and nurture talented local artists, and offer residents and tourists a wider view of national and international art,” Crowe-Weisberg says.
“The Kimball has been instrumental in supporting local artists,” agrees potter and gallery owner Bruce Larrabee. He credits the organization and its cooperation with the Park City Artist Association (he’s a past president) with attracting artists and galleries. The arts festival boosted Park City before the town became a summer destination, Larrabee says, and today “there are more galleries than ever.” Browse the Kimball’s exhibits, grab a map and head up Main Street.
At Lanny Barnard Gallery (577 Main, 435-658-3130), Barnard’s designer jewelry and painted landscapes and portraits flood the space with color. Just steps away, Christina Meyer’s Dancing Hands Gallery (591 Main, 435-649-1414) showcases decorative and sculptural glass and ceramics by such artists as Randy Strong, Gary Zack and Natalie Blake, and functional pieces and tapestries.
Nine artists began Artworks Park City (461 Main, 435-649-4462) in 1983; Bruce Larrabee became sole owner in 2005. The gallery offers glass, fiber, wood and clay crafts by local and national artists.
One block up, Main Street Marketplace (333 Main) houses several galleries. At Park City Colors (435-655-3331), owner Renee Mox Hall’s watercolors, acrylics and giclees cover the walls. Chris St. Jeor’s rock and metal sculptures capture the athletic lifestyle central to Park City. “I focus on complementary works representing the best in the region,” says Mox Hall. Across the corridor, Felix Saez’s Stone Art Gallery (435- 647-0227) displays his paintings and relief work on stone, along with pastels, wood, sculpture and ceramics. Lucky visitors may watch Saez or other artists in its studio. Growing up in the area had a strong effect on Saez’s art; the land and especially horses fascinated the self-taught artist, who cites Michelangelo as an inspiration.
Drop into Terzian Galleries (309 Main, 435-649-4927), where owner Karen Terzian creates an engaging atmosphere through colorful contemporary art. Elegant sculpted bronze horses and striking glass accompany Dave Newman’s “Western Pop” collages and mixed media.
Meyer Gallery (305 Main, 435-649-8160), which once was a First Bank of Utah, showcases “contemporary collector-quality paintings and bronze sculpture, including Carol Alleman’s natural-form sculptures,” says Susan Meyer. Her parents started the gallery in 1965.
Mountain Trails Gallery (301 Main, 435-615-8748) features the work of former owner Vic Payne, whose sculpted bronze “Hunter Becomes the Hunted” stands outside Morning Ray Cafe (255 Main).
Cross Main Street and head back along the other side. Thomas Anthony Gallery (340 Main, 435- 645-8078) elegantly displays paintings and sculpture by international artists and talented local ones.
Old Town Gallery (444 Main, 800-891-7085) is the only dealer in the Western Rockies for original antique maps and prints, says owner Mitch Pretner, and also features contemporary paintings and sculpture. Steps away, three spacious floors at Phoenix Gallery (508 Main, 435-649-1006) display glassworks, sculpture, woodworks and paintings.
“I exhibit work that I would display in my own home,” says Linda Lee, owner of Montgomery Lee Fine Art (608 Main, 435-655-3264). Most of the gallery’s bronze sculptures and hand-turned wood pieces are by Western artists.
At Silver Queen Fine Art (632 Main, 435-649-6555), see Tim Cotterill’s bronze frogs, Nano Lopez’s sculpted “Nanomals,” and paintings. The gallery carries gold and silver jewelry by director Denise Walz, who moved to Park City from Alaska after visiting a friend and “falling in love with the town.”
Appropriately, your final stop is CODA (804 Main, 435-655-3803), an eclectic mix of colorful metal sculptures, inventive woodworks, brilliant glass, paintings and painted furniture. The gallery enjoys having a “friendly atmosphere,” says staff member Jen Schumacher. It represents many artists also in CODA’s New York City and Palm Desert, Calif., galleries, she says, but the Park City location gladly displays more Utah artists’ works.
Main Street’s Western charm is authentic; many historic buildings remain. For a double treat, make a return trip to the gently sloping street at night, when tiny white lights sparkle among the restaurants and bars that keep the galleries company along this vibrant thoroughfare.