For the last 50 years, people in the Flathead Valley, be they visitor or local, have gathered in the shade of the trees at Kalispell’s Depot Park and spent a whole weekend celebrating art and the people who create it.
The Hockaday Museum of Art’s Arts in the Park celebration takes place July 13-15 this year, and as the museum’s main fundraiser for the year, the event continues to hold its importance.
“It’s our biggest fundraiser, and for this year it’s especially important because we’re heading into our 50th anniversary,” Tracy Johnson, executive director at the Hockaday, said.
About 100 artisans and fine artists are selected via a jury to participate in Arts in the Park, a process that lets attendees know each booth they visit was vetted for professionalism and quality.
It’s also an effective way to keep the event fresh and interesting, with new artists introducing their work to the local market every year.
“We’ve got quite a few new vendors — and some returning — from all over the Northwest United States,” Johnson said.
Arts in the Park shuts down part of Center Street in Kalispell for the weekend, giving the event a festival feel; given the popularity of Friday evening, Johnson said this year the event will stay open until 7 p.m. on July 13.
The event is popular not only for the opportunity to engage with arts and crafts and the folks who make them, but also for the general ambiance. While perusing booths in the shade of mature trees, attendees are treated to live music all weekend long.
Musicians and bands scheduled to play the weekend include Greg Grant, David Walburn, the North Valley Music School, Don Beans, Dan Dubuque, Ed and Ron, Will and Heidi, Brent Jameson Duo, Cathi and Merle, Kaz-Uke-Eees, Music with Bella, Big Sky Hot Club, La Nota Blues and Jazz, Tra le Gael, Jamie Wyman and Jeremy Quick, and the Tropical Montana Marimba Ensemble.
A full music schedule is available on the Hockaday’s website.
Attendees are also welcome to visit the 2018 Premium Wine and Beer Garden, a lovely spot to enjoy a good drink while taking in the scene. Glacier Sun Winery will host the wine and beer garden this year, with beverages from Kalispell Brewing Company as well.
Along with a chilled beverage, there are also many various food options available. This year’s lineup of deliciousness includes Amazing Crepes, Carl’s Corn Dogs, Glacier Shave Ice, Glacier Skate Academy’s lemonade, Jo Mama’s Snack Attack, Mountain Berry Bowls, Mudman Food Truck, Porteus BBQ, Sweet Pickin’s Kettle Corn, Sweet Traditions, and Sweet Peaks Ice Cream.
Daily admittance is $3, with children 6 and under getting in free. For $5, an attendee can gain unlimited access to the event all weekend long, as well as free admission to the Hockaday Museum during the weekend.
Johnson said the museum is launching into a membership drive to celebrate the 50th anniversary, hoping to bring total membership to 1,000 people.
“We’re trying to push that,” she said.
Membership to the Hockaday has its perks, she noted. With varying levels of giving, a member can have free admission, discounts at the gift shop, a quarterly print publication, regular updates, eligibility to participate in member art shows, free greeting cards, free guest admission, one complimentary pavilion rental (worth $250) and a complimentary facility rental (worth $500).
Member dues also support the museum’s continued success, much like Arts in the Park. By coming together to enjoy a summer weekend, the Flathead’s residents and visitors also support the museum’s mission, which is to preserve Montana’s artistic legacy, as well as that of Glacier National Park.
It’s a mission Johnson believes hundreds of people want to see succeed.
“We really want to get to 1,000 members,” she said.
For more information on Arts in the Park and the Hockaday, visit www.hockadaymuseum.org or call (406) 755-5268.