Arts in the Park Turns 45

By Beacon Staff

The traditional gift for a 45th anniversary is a sapphire, but Kalispell’s Hockaday Museum of Art has decided to give the public something else for this auspicious occasion: an upgraded Arts in the Park event, complete with a new layout, more music and the addition of beer and wine.

Arts in the Park, one of the area’s oldest traditions with 45 annual shows so far, takes place from July 19 through July 21 in Depot Park in Kalispell. Proceeds from the show are a major boon for the Hockaday, a nonprofit museum that hosts a permanent exhibit of Glacier National Park art, as well as popular rotating exhibits.

The Hockaday is also home to the Discovery Gallery, which provides all sorts of classes and instruction for kids.

Money from Arts in the Park keeps the museum moving, Liz Moss, the Hockaday’s executive director, said.

“It’s our largest fundraiser of the year,” she said. “It’s going to support all museum programs and activities and keeps the lights on.”

And, instead of resting on its laurels and the event’s long history, the Hockaday wants to keep it interesting and fresh for the public that has supported it for almost five decades.

With that in mind, there are some changes to Arts in the Park this year. The most basic is the layout, which has been shifted to allow for about 10 more booths than last year, Moss said, totaling about 115 when including food vendors.

Patrons have enjoyed live music in the past, but this year, the Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation is responsible for the lineup, Moss noted, which means there will be a wide variety of tunes for everyone to enjoy.

“It’s going to be at a reasonable level, where people can sit around and enjoy the music,” Moss said.

Featured performers include Greg Grant, Shyamali and Karl Jazz Duet, Lucas Mace, Jack O Shamrocks Duet, Barnyard Riot, Merle Robinson, Nick Spear, Matt Brua, Donnie and Kleist Duet, Nathan Eyre, Andre Floyd, Lee Zimmerman, Lee and Wayo Duet, Tra Le Gael and Dan Dubuque.

There is also something new just for the weekend’s youngest patrons, with the addition of the Kids’ Fun Zone, which will have fun activities such as a bungee trampoline.

Dan Dubuque rocks the Charango while performing at Depot Park in Kalispell during Arts in the Park last year. – File photo by Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon

And, for those 21 and older, there’s the new addition of a beer and wine garden, which is a first for the 45-year-old festival. Moss said the Kalispell City Council’s decision to allow alcohol in parks for permitted occasions adds a new take on this year’s festival.

The event’s beer and wine will come from a partnership with Brannigan’s Pub, which is located just across the street from the event. Moss said Brannigan’s staff will provide the cold beer and perhaps guide patrons through a wine-tasting table.

Of course, the main draw to the festival are the creations from the artisans and craftspeople featured in over 100 booths. The event is juried, meaning artists had to receive museum approval to be able to show their wares, which Moss said ensures attendees that the works will be high quality.

The local and visiting artists and craftspeople featured during the weekend have a variety of backgrounds and work in various media, including oil and acrylic painting, fused-glass jewelry, photography, metal works, pottery, fabrics, wood, found objects and more.

Daily admission to the show is $3, and a weekend button costs $5. The weekend button also provides unlimited access to the museum during the festival.

Moss said the museum staff always looks forward to the event, because it offers a chance to interact with artists and the community, all while enjoying the Flathead summer season.

“It’s a venue that’s well-tried and well-tested after so many years; we still try to keep it fresh and interesting for the public,” Moss said. “And where can you find a better deal for $5 for the entire weekend?”

For more information on Arts in the Park, visit www.hockadaymuseum.org or call 406-755-5268.

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