After experiencing months chockfull of events, outdoor excursions, farmers markets, and gorgeous weather, it’s easy to forget that the summer itself is only temporary. As the weather changes and the busloads of photo-snapping tourists begin to filter out, a different vibe begins to radiate through the streets, one that tends to sneak up on those around to witness it.
The autumn off-season is one of Jackson Hole’s best-kept secrets, and, to the number of locals and visitors who linger around after Labor Day, there is no greater reward than the annual Fall Arts Festival.
For the past thirty-three years, the Fall Arts Festival has been at the center of artistic celebration in the valley. Artists of a variety of mediums, from watercolor masters to bronze sculptors, flock to town in hoards, adding to the sprawling populous of artists who make their homes here year-round. In a way, this momentum harkens back to the age-old mountain man rendezvouses, where fur traders and ivory jewelers from across the West gathered in celebration of their craft.
The two-week extravaganza brims with an eclectic assortment of events stretching across every corner of the town, available to art supporters of every age.
The Art Association, a local non-profit, hosts “Takin’ It To The Streets”, a street fair featuring a hoard of local artists showcasing their talents and pieces. In the center of the Town Square, the QuickDraw features forty artists, each facing a blank canvass, who must create a completely original work of art in ninety-minutes or less. And at the Snow King Events Center, the Western Design Conference features an hour-long runway show highlighting fashion-forward designs from leading western-based artists.
With the amount of events offering during the Festival, a collective of savvy visitors have forgone planning vacations in the summer months for the sole purpose of being around for the full event every year.
“It’s incredible to see how many supporters of the arts that come from far afield just for the Fall Arts Festival,” says Amy Goicoechea, Director of Programs and Events at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
The Museum has been a key component in the Festival since the beginning, and hosts a number of unique events that help fund operations at the museum and in the community. Western Visions®, the Museum’s largest and longest-running fundraiser, features even more events that run in tandem with the Festival, including the popular Jewelry & Artisan Luncheon and unique art sale, featuring gorgeous sculptures and wildlife paintings.
“The Festival boasts an increasing number of platforms in which collectors can purchase art,” Goicoechea adds. “It’s an exciting time in Jackson an the perfect opportunity to host people from all over the country.”
Because the Fall Arts Festival has become ingrained into Jackson Hole’s culture, it’s hard to imagine it being as successful anywhere else. Support for the arts intensifies during those two weeks and spreads like wildfire, inspiring countless visitors and enriching the local community.
The off-season may fool some into believing there are strict on-seasons. But in a town as unique as Jackson Hole, it becomes evident that the thirst for artistic vibrancy is never quenched.