Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ketchum Arts Festival celebrates the valley’s artists

Community event is a summer treasure

Express Staff Writer

The Ketchum Arts Festival will take place in Sun Valley’s Festival Meadow from July 11-13. Express file photo

The Ketchum Arts Festival is a celebrated valley arts and crafts show, one that area artists and a few invited from out of the valley always look forward to attending. The festival—now in its ninth year—will take place Friday, July 11, through Sunday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Sun Valley Festival Meadow on Sun Valley Road.

"This year there will be more out-of-area Idaho artists," said festival organizer Dianne Taylor. "We invited more guest artists this year and a few more out of the Wood River Valley. If someone is from out of state, it's because at one time they lived here. Those participants have been grandfathered in because they were locals at some point."

The festival will feature more than 100 booths. It will have a change in layout from last year's circular set-up to a grid formation. In addition, the festival will have free booth space for area nonprofit groups and educational organizations such as The Community School, which will display and sell students' artwork. It is the festival's mission to promote community involvement and give opportunities for these types of organizations to interact with festival attendees.

At noon every day, the event will feature live music by performers including Aaron Baker, Four Stroke Bus, Peter Boice, Bruce Innes, The Kim Stocking Band, Rick Hoel and Public Radio. Varda and Dr. Heart will perform children's theater off stage throughout the festival.

Taylor said the festival's steering committee likes to invite out-of-area Idaho artists who feature items not necessarily found in the Wood River Valley. This year the festival will feature Fish Eye Photography by Patrick Clayton from Driggs, who specializes in underwater photographs of trout.

"We have things besides arts and crafts, such as the Saucy Sisters from Pocatello, who make award-winning homemade mustards," Taylor said. "We do have incredible people, such as photographer Barbara Kline and artists Melissa and Christopher Brown."

The success of the Ketchum Arts Festival has come despite the faltering economy and a downward trend in artist-managed festivals. Since most artists live in the area, gas costs remain low and there is no need for hotel rooms.

"The Crafts Report magazine reported that in the 21st century, there are very few artist-run festivals and they are dying out," Taylor said. "When a festival is successful, a promoter comes and takes it over."

Keeping a sense of community is important to the festival, which is organized by fewer than eight people who spend many hours making it come together. In order to keep the festival alive for the future, the festival hopes more area artists join the steering committee.

"We counted 8,000 people last year," Taylor said. "It's also the same weekend as (the Allen & Co. conference), and they do come over. One year Tom Brokaw bought his wife a ring, and the nannies always bring the kids over."

There will be lots of activities for children, which include "Paint It Yourself Ceramics" by Local Color's Lynn Holt, games by the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, hula hoops and more.

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