Fall Arts Festival: A Colorful Celebration Cover

Fall Arts Festival: A Colorful Celebration

A cowboy and his trusted steed lean rakishly away from an identified threat. His stirrup shatters the glassy sheeny of Jackson Lake, and the cragged crest of Mount Moran looms in the background.

The high-drama, large-scale canvas, “13 Minutes from Eternity” by acclaimed cowboy artist Bill Schenck, epitomizes the color and character of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival for which it has been selected this year’s signature painting and limited-edition poster. The honor is a homecoming of sorts for the artist, famed for his photorealism-meets-pop art style; Schenck was picked as featured artist of the very first Fall Arts Festival back in 1985.  “It’s like getting reinvited to be the host of the Oscars after a 30-year hiatus,” Schenck said in a Jackson Hole News&Guide article.

A fortnight-long affair starting September 9, the Fall Arts Festival stands as a preeminent event on the western art circuit, a long-standing celebration of all the artistic bravura indigenous to the Tetons and its surrounds. The 31st annual event promises as much festive punch as its predecessors, with more than 50 public events staged through September 20. Whether pairing art and appetites or peering into Western history, Fall Arts offers a window on the eclectic culture coursing through the Rocky Mountain West. Read on for our curated calendar of not-to-miss events.


For 28 years running, the National Museum of Wildlife Art has staged a September showcase of Western art, starting with a jewelry and artisan luncheon on September 9 and culminating in the Wild 100 Show & Sale on September 18. Wild 100 welcomes work by 100 of the country’s leading wildlife and landscape artists, all of which is available for bidding during the festive evening event.


Luring scholars, artists, architects, collectors and designers, the Western Design Conference toasts interior design, art and fashion during its long weekend run at the Snow King Center. The conference opens with a preview party and fashion show on September 10, and continues September 11 through 13 with the Exhibit Sale featuring singular designs by more than 130 artists from across the country.


A smorgasbord of fine art and fine fare, the self-guided Palates & Palettes Gallery Walk wends its way through more than 30 downtown art galleries and businesses on the evening of September 11. Every venue pairs its Fall Arts exhibit with hors d’oeuvres by a local chef, making for a free, fun free-for-all for all.


On September 12, the historic Snake River Ranch and Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch swing open their doors to visitors, offering a rare look at the alive-and-well ranching heritage in Jackson Hole.


A match made in creative heaven: a juried art fair and gourmet tasting. Town Square comes alive September 13 with Taste of the Tetons, a pedestrian sampler of signature bites by valley chefs, restaurants and caterers. Just beyond the antler arches, Takin’ It to the Streets encircles Town Square with booths housing wares by 40 local artists.


A peer of Coeur d’Alene and Scottsdale, the Jackson Hole Art Auction sends coveted Western works by contemporary artists and deceased masters to the live auction block. Drawing collectors from around the world, this year’s auction spans two days, with a small curated sale on September 18 and the main auction on September 19.


Saturday, September 19

20th Annual Jackson Hole Quick Draw Art Sale and Auction

On your mark, get set, paint: On September 19, the Quick Draw Art Sale and Auction challenges brave local and regional artists to start and finish a work of art in only 90 morning minutes with hungry collectors hovering around the alfresco event on Town Square.  All pieces made on site are then sold on the spot at a rowdy live auction. Adding to the excitement: Bill Schenck’s featured painting, “13 Minutes from Eternity,” will be sold for a surely handsome sum.

Equine Healing Cover

Equine Healing

“When I bestride him, I soar; I am a hawk.” William Shakespeare understood the powerful relationship between rider and horse, as he wrote in Henry V.

So too did a trio of Jackson women who in 1993 founded the Jackson Hole Therapeutic Riding Association. Starting with a couple of steeds and a handful of volunteers, the founders began healing with horses. Over the years, they built up their program and built their own arena on the Moose-Wilson Road. Now, the Therapeutic Riding Association offers equine-assisted therapeutic and educational activities for all ages of riders with disabilities regardless of economic status, from three-year-olds to septuagenarians.

At its core, the Association nurtures the natural connection between horse and rider. “At Jackson Hole Therapeutic Riding Association, we harness the unique bond between a horse and its rider to empower our students with confidence, strength, and independence,” the organization writes of its vision. “With limitless physical, psychological, and emotional benefits, therapeutic riding is a gift to everyone involved.”

The Association’s profound effect on the community will be celebrated and perpetuated tonight at its annual fundraiser, Stomping the Divots. A highlight of the summer social calendar, festivities begin at 5pm at the Melody Ranch Polo Fields with a polo match and a demonstration of therapeutic riding. Dinner by Bistro Catering and dancing to the Richard Brown Orchestra follows. And bountiful silent and live auctions offer plenty of enticing ways to support the nonprofit. Whether bidding on a Caribbean getaway or stomping grass patches back into place, patrons can have a great time while supporting a great cause tonight.

Moving Art Cover

Moving Art

Pure artistry alights on Jackson this Summer with the much-anticipated return of New York City Ballet. What began as an experiment six years ago has grown into an annual residency at Dancers’ Workshop. Every year, the world-renowned company sends a rotating troupe of dancers, musicians and choreographers West. The intrepid crew, aptly named New York City Ballet Moves, takes full advantage of their time in the Tetons by adventuring around the valley when they are not busy teaching master classes and performing open rehearsals.

This season, Moves presents a trio of pieces new to Jackson: “Pictures at an Exhibition,” a work choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky to a 1800s composition by Modest Mussorgsky, explores Wassily Kandinsky’s watercolor paintings as the inspiration for emotional movement; the pas de deux “A Place for Us,” choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, finds two charismatic dancers interacting with shifting patterns of light; and the late Jerome Robbins’ “A Suite of Dances” delights in the camaraderie of a male dancer and a cellist playing off of each other. Moves performs three times this weekend – Friday night, a Saturday matinee and Sunday evening finale – all in the Center Theater at the Center for the Arts. Only a few seats remain for each performance.

Double The Bounty Cover

Double the Bounty

Summer markets inspire a breezy routine attune to seasonal rhythms: Hopping on a cruiser, riding into town with grocery totes in tow, surveying the harvest on the first lap, pausing for a beverage, and then diving into decision making on lap two. Friend sightings pepper the excursion and the junket ends with a blanket unfurled on the grass and a pre-kitchen sampling of scores. It’s a routine many Jackson locals adopt twice weekly during the People’s Market on Wednesday evenings at the base of Snow King and the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings on Town Square.

Both markets feel like cornucopias of community by weaving live music and local philanthropy into the fresh mix. The People’s Market, staged from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays at Snow King through September 16, takes on a festive tone with food vendors dishing dinner, valley brewers pouring beers and local artists selling their wares against the core backdrop of produce provided by half a dozen local farmers. New to the Wednesday array is sweet treats by the Gros Ventre Fox and goat cheese made by Winter Winds Farm; beloved standbys include the jams, pies and pickles made by Roots Kitchen and Cannery as well as the cheese rounds of Larks Meadow Farms. Each week, two local nonprofits are featured at prominent booths, and come August, Bike-In Movies will screen outside après the market.

The Saturday market, as locals call it, envelopes Town Square in the bounty of the region from July 11 through September 26. Founded in 2000, the Farmers Market has become a local institution. Serious foodies show up at the start – 8am – while leisurely shoppers wander through the stalls until the noon closing. The market’s mission of giving back to the community extends beyond retail exposure to include a highlighted Chef of the Week – restauranteurs prepare and donate samples from their menu – and a Non-Profit of the Week, the benefactor of vendors’ 10% donation of total sales. All told, the Farmers Market has funneled more than $200,000 in donations to valley nonprofits.

This little JH piggy went to market… twice every week, all summer long.


A Local Vibration The Contour Music Festival Cover

A Local Vibration: The Contour Music Festival

In phonetics, contour describes sounds which make an internal transition from one quality, place, or manner to another. For all of its acclaimed icons and Western cues Jackson Hole is a constantly evolving terminus of many cultural and creative interpretations. There are perhaps few better examples for the contours of Jackson’s diverse appeal than the valley’s embrace of music, arts and recreation. This June Jackson Hole welcomes its first downtown multi-venue cross-genre musical showcase the Contour Music Festival.

Contour Founder Jeff Stein [Right] and Festival Organizer Patrick Shehan [Left] discuss "Jackson's Festival" at TCCG's Cabin residence.

Contour Founder Jeff Stein [Right] and Festival Organizer Patrick Shehan [Left] discuss “Jackson’s Festival” at TCCG’s Cabin residence.

In this the inaugural year of what festival organizers Jeff Stein and Matt Donovan promise to be an annual celebration of art, music and culture, begins June 11th and boasts over 35 musical lineups. From the avant-garde lyricism of Hip-Hop trinity Deltron 3030 to the rebellious soul of Americana visionaries One Ton Pig, Contour aims to be the cross-interest non-genre specific virtuoso of mountain festivals.


“Contour is a different breed of Music Festival. We designed the Festival to offer a wide spectrum of music, art and culture. When Matt [Donovan] and I began talking about a Jackson festival over three years ago, we knew right away that we wanted to bring a unique cultural experience to jackson. Contour not only features an incredible line up of musical performances, but will offer a number of world-class art and performance exhibitions.”

– Jeff Stein


Kicking off with a veritable chef-d’oeuvre of late night shows, the festival sets its stride with the ragtime blues of Jackson 6 serenading show-goers at the newly expanded Silver Dollar Bar. If the syncopated beats of New Orleans traditional Jazz isn’t your thing, perhaps Patti Fiasco’s audacious fusion of rock and roll and two-step will suit your liking at the Town Square Tavern. No matter your musical inclination, Thursday night’s program extends to The Rose and Pinky G’s to include nearly a dozen genre-bending sets.

Stein has been developing the The Contour Festival for over 3 years.

Stein has been developing the The Contour Festival for over 3 years.

Following Contour’s late night initiation, festival fans can recoup at the opening of the Main Stage Friday afternoon at the Snow King Amphitheater. Setting the tone for the venue is the hi-fi amalgamation of The Polish Ambassador’s psy-fi funk electric rhythms coupled with the dynamic video landscapes of visual artist Liminus. For a little more bass-slapping, local group Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons returns to the Snow King ball field on Saturday, offering up a high-energy dose of Rocky Mountain flavored groove-funk. Rounding out the weekend’s main stage headliners is the Washington, D.C.-based electronic duo Thievery Corporation. Described by AllMusic as – “Dub, Lounge, Jazz and Hip-Hop thrown into a blender with latin ingredients” Thievery Corporation closes out the festival with its downtempo remixes of songs by such artists as Sarah McLachlan, and The Doors.


“The three words we’ve used to describe the Contour experience are: intimate, innovative and elevated. Contour is intimate in that it allows the audience to see amazing acts that normally attract thousands of people, all in a beautiful local setting with just with a few hundred people. Contour’s mission to bring innovative art, music and culture from other areas is as essential to this concept as sharing the unique culture of this place with the Artists and visitors. Elevated eludes to the one-of-kind landscape and outdoor playground that we are fortunate to share with one another.”

– Jeff Stein


Through its development the Contour Festival has attracted the enthusiasm of a wide variety of community-minded sponsors. Organizations such as The Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board, The National Museum of Wildlife Art and The Clear Creek Group were early proponents of the Festival’s vision. In partnership with Contour, The Clear Creek Group has set aside a handful properties – including the beautiful Three Bedroom Estate at Shooting Star and Granite Ridge Residences – for guests interested in an entirely unique experience at what is gearing up to be “Jackson’s Music Festival. Interested parties can get more information and book their stay by visiting The Clear Creek Group’s event highlight page, while general event information and Contour ticket sales can be found by visiting Contour’s website.