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Artists Make Sales During Smaller, Smoky Arts Fest

Ben Lasseter/KPCW

For a weekend of pandemic precautions and unfavorable outdoor conditions, the Kimball Arts Festival still brought in big, enthusiastic crowds.

Some artists reported robust sales. Others reported mixed success but were largely just happy to be back.

Just under 200 artists came to Park City from around the country for the Kimball Arts Festival in its 52nd year.

Will Armstrong from Santa Fe, New Mexico’s pen and quill drawings depict rural and urban scenes. He said in his fifth year in town now, he’s always had fun and done well in sales, including this year.

“My themes tend to resonate with the people here in Park City, and it just seems like I do fairly well here at the show. In fact, two years ago when I got married, it was the weekend after our wedding, and I still came. I sold every piece in my booth that year, so it made it worthwhile.”

This year, smoky skies and reduced festival capacity may have sales less certain. Armstrong said he was pleased with his numbers, but others he knew were below past years’ sales.

“I’ve been lucky enough to feel pretty good about my end result. I was talking to some friends of mine that have pretty consistent numbers at this show; they say that they are way down. They’ve done well enough, but they were a little disappointed.”

Daryl Thetford of Chattanooga, Tennessee said Friday and Saturday were slower than usual at his booth. But on Sunday, enough people came around that he had come out about even, compared to his previous five years at the festival.

Meanwhile, plenty of artists reported great showings and sales.

A knife-maker from Montana said he had already well surpassed previous years by Sunday.

Festival events manager Hillary Gilson said all the artists she’d heard from reported having good weekends.

“I’ve been only hearing really, really positive feedback from all the artists and the patrons. From what I’ve been hearing from artists, they’ve been having record sales. Everyone’s just so excited to get back and connect with their community and connect with different artists after the past year and a half.”

The festival was held in an online format last year. Gilson said she’d heard attendees say they were especially grateful this year to have one of Park City’s biggest events back.

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