The Kimball Art Center and Park City Visual Arts
To many outside Utah, Park City is known for its winter activities and events. While skiing and movies have become synonymous with the city, there exists a less well-known aspect of the town that is equally valuable. Park City is home to a vibrant visual arts community.
Organizations such as the Park City Professional Artists Association, Park City Gallery Association and Spiro Arts all help foster visual art in the city. However, the Kimball Art Center, at 638 Park Avenue, might be considered the very hub of all the action.
Every August, the Kimball Art Center produces the Park City Kimball Arts Festival. Entering its 41st year, the Arts Festival is Park City’s premiere summer festival. With over 800 artists vying for 220 spots on Park City’s historic Main Street, the Festival contains some of the best art from around the country.
However, the Kimball makes an equally important impact in Park City throughout the year with its exhibitions, education programs and events.
With three galleries housed in the historic building, the Kimball plays host to international, national and local artists and exhibitions throughout the year.
Kimball Art Center Exhibitions Director Erin Linder sees the Kimball as an institution with clear responsibilities to the community. “As a community art center, we have the ability to show a diverse array of artists, styles and media,” she said. “We have the responsibility to bring in exhibitions and artists that expose the community to art that they might not otherwise have access to.”
Throughout the past six months the Kimball has succeeded in creating this diversity of art and styles. With Danny Lyon’s exhibition, Bikeriders, the art center ventured into the realm of documentary photography. Then, Miss America 1953 displayed the dresses of Neva Langley Fickling that she wore during her title-winning year. Most recently, the Kimball featured Nathan Sawaya’s, The Art of the Brick® consisting of life-size sculptures made of LEGO® bricks.
“It’s exciting that we can present such a wide range of art in our three gallery spaces,” Linder said. “From bikers, to beauty queens, to bricks, we have programmed art that has engaged all ages and backgrounds.”
Yet, the Kimball’s service to the community does not just come with the arrival of new exhibitions. The art education programs at the Kimball Art Center are unparalleled in the Wasatch Back.
Much of the art education at the Kimball is dependent on quality exhibition programming. Education Director Jenny Diersen said that there is a critical relationship between exhibitions and education. “We can’t provide our tours and teacher resources if there is no exhibition,” Diersen said. “I need artists’ input to develop lesson plans and programs that blend with their work.”
With each exhibition the Kimball offers free school tours and art activities for children at public schools, private schools and after school programs. This co-dependence between exhibitions and education allows for a greater art experience for all children who attend.
In addition to the tours, Diersen assembles a teacher resources packet called A.R.T.S., or academic resources for teachers and students. The free packets are available on the Kimball’s website and are also sent out to public, private and home schools across the Wasatch Front and Back. Through these efforts the Kimball serves as a leading art resource for not only the Park City community, but also the entire Wasatch.
While the Kimball serves as an education and cultural resource, it also provides events and facilitates continual practical use of it space. The art center frequently creates its own events in conjunction with exhibition openings and education opportunities.
One example includes the art center’s monthly art talks sponsored by Summit Sotheby’s International Realty. The talks provide the public with free insights into the world of art, ranging from talks about documentary photography to home décor.
Today’s Kimball Art Center offers a diverse array of art related options for the Park City community. While, Park City has an established reputation for winter fun, this city may soon be known for more than that.