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An Artistic Enclave: Park City, Utah

When most people think of Park City, Utah, skiing or the prestigious Sundance Film Festival comes to mind. 
In addition to fine film, Park City also offers beautiful art, photography, jewelry, clothing, performing arts, and culinary delights—all imaginative and unique in their own right. 
For a combination of both the indoor and outdoor beauty of Park City, consider utilizing a luxury home exchange option.  It’s perfect for primetime winter when affordable accommodations are difficult to come by, or any other time of year.
Following is just a taste of what Park City has to offer year-round artistically:
One of the best ways to see what the mountain getaway has to offer is to take the Park City Gallery Stroll the last Friday of every month from 6:00-8:00 in the evening.   Light refreshments are served, and it’s a great way for art lovers to connect.
Voted one of the top 20 summer festivals in the United States by Smithsonian Magazine, the Park City Kimball Arts Festival takes place normally in August on historic Main Street.  Pleasantly, Main Street is closed off to motor traffic leaving the festival goers a leisurely pedestrian zone in which to browse while looking at creations including glassware, ceramics, photography, and art from over 200 artisans.  There is a children’s corner which includes face painting and other fun.
Painting of a more serious genre may be found at JGO Gallery.  JGO focuses on contemporary art with a western theme from mostly regional artists.  For instance, in a painting by Sherri Belassen, there is the traditional western theme of a horse, but within the borders of the horse is thinned paint flowing downward.  A sort of pleasant churning is the result.  Another artist featured is Fillip Vogelpohl, who is a Boise, Idaho based.  An expert glassblower, Mr. Vogelpohl taught at Dale Chihuly’s school.  One can see Mr. Vogelpohl’s beautiful glass sculpture upon entry into JGO Gallery.  In addition to paintings, JGO Gallery features art jewelry and “curiosities” in the “WonderBox.” Within the WonderBox are eclectic pieces such as intricate spider webs under glass, robots made from antique parts, daguerreotype-appearing photographs with images of deceased loved ones, and insects with mechanical parts.  The art jewelry featured includes pieces made from knitted copper wire and architectural materials.
A must-see photography gallery in Park City is Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery.  Photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen, who originally studied field biology, has photographed natural images for 40 years and has worked for National Geographic Magazine.  The images are so vibrant upon entry into the gallery, it is difficult to conceive that Mr. Mangelsen has not enhanced the images in some way, but Mr. Mangelesen, a purist, refuses to do so instead using Fuji crystal archive film to convey what his keen eye observes.   
A unique feature of the gallery is that it offers its customers the images in several different formats including giclée, a very high resolution print.  Glen Bateman, an art consultant at Mangelsen Images, stated that the gallery offers personalized service to help the customer determine what would look best in his space.  Large images and tri-images (image broken down into 3 panels) are currently very popular in mountain-themed homes.
Performing Arts
Every summer in the cool, alpine evenings the Deer Valley Music Festival (Deer Valley is near Park City)
takes place showcasing both classics and pops with the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera.  In addition to Deer Valley’s impressive, outdoor amphitheater (bring a picnic lunch with you), there are other venues throughout Park City and Deer Valley, including private homes used as salons.  Park City and Deer Valley homes are on the whole very impressive with large windows showcasing mountain vistas.  Owners of these homes are sophisticated and warm; attending an event in such an inviting setting is a great way to see the more intimate side of the Park City/Deer Valley area.
An interesting event in the autumn is the Beethoven Festival.  A tradition since 1984, the colorful, fall landscape is a great backdrop to the drama of Beethoven.
Year-round, live entertainment can be found at The Egyptian Theatre.  Opened on Christmas day 1926, the theatre reflects the Egyptian décor of the time which was made popular by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. This season’s eclectic lineup includes the successful, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Young Frankenstein,” the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, standup comedy, “Macbeth,” and The Village People.  
Included in Park City’s artistic enclave are unique clothiers.  Of particular interest is Burns Cowboy Shop.  Founded in 1876 in Salina, Utah, it is the oldest family-owned western retailer in the world. 

Though the shop offers custom-made saddles and hats, its main creations are elaborate cowboy boots.  Handmade and labor-intensive, there is a very low markup with cowboy boots ranging from $200 to $3,500 within the shop; however, any customized order is possible.
Manager of Burns Cowboy Shop, Ingrid Hallberg, is from Sweden and is a fashion designer by training.  Working primarily in New York, she is now pleased to manage a shop specializing in western design.  When I asked Ms. Hallberg how she thought Burns Cowboy Shop was different than Ralph Lauren who also implements aspects of western style, she stated that whereas Ralph Lauren comes from the world of fashion and reaches toward western design, Burns Cowboy Shop comes from the world of western design and reaches toward the world of fashion.  The authenticity of such a tradition is difficult to replicate.    To the sophisticated European consumer, Ms. Hallberg would like to emphasize that a pair of cowboy boots purchased at Burns Cowboy Shop can be worn in Europe and not be as a “masquerade costume,” sitting in the closet.
Another shop on Main Street worth visiting is Gorsuch, Ltd.  There are various designers in the store including Michael Kors and Cindy Goble.  An unusually beautiful shrug by Cindy Goble was on display when I was pleased to enter the shop.   Thickly-woven with various shades of blue and with what appeared to be black, rabbit fur trim, it was finished fabulously with a retro, rhinestone pin—truly an individual piece. With such treasures alluring even the most casual of browsers, you’re sure to walk out with something distinctive.  Gorsuch offers not only clothing, but unique housewares including alpine-themed china and lovely, geode coasters.  If you’re gift shopping, you’re bound to find something for that someone who has everything. 
With a legacy of over 30 years, O.C. Tanner was founded in Salt Lake City by a gentleman (O.C. Tanner) wanting to bring fine jewelry to the Intermountain West.  Close to the 2002 Winter Olympics, O.C. Tanner opened a store in Park City.  With partners such as Patek Philippe, who some argue makes the finest timepiece in the world, O.C. Tanner has reached the top echelon of jewelers.  Interestingly, O.C. Tanner donated all of the metal for the victory medals in the 2002 Winter Olympics, in addition to a whole line of jewelry created for the Olympic year.  Enthusiastic sales associate Liz Wood believes that O.C. Tanner can compete with any jeweler in the world, and indeed the atmosphere of the store was elegant and fashionable.

Culinary Delights
With distinctive dining as varied as the sophisticated tourists who visit, Park City was chosen as a “Grub Crawl” site by Bon Appétit magazine in the summer of 2014.  Foodies “crawled” from restaurant to restaurant to enjoy a diverse dining experience.  One of the restaurants chosen for the “crawl” was Shabu.  Shabu’s menu consists of “freestyle Asian” cuisine.  With a superb sake menu, Shabu has a whimsical “saketini bar,” and 15 kinds of cold sake.
Another restaurant featured in the 2014 Grub Crawl was Zoom.  Founded by Robert Redford, Zoom is housed in a retired railway station and features American cuisine.  An especially lovely time to go is in the summer when the outdoor plaza is available for diners.
Though most of Park City dining is exclusive and refined, one can find a casual and welcoming atmosphere in Atticus, a coffeehouse and bookstore.  Upon entering, one can find what appear to be mostly locals with their computers.  There is outside bar seating facing not only Main Street, but also metal wind sculptures.  Delightfully, the sleeve on the paper coffee cups has a photo of magisterial-looking Gregory Peck with the following:  “Shoot all the bluejays you like but remember . . . It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”  Also donning the shop is a photo of Gregory Peck looking very lawyerly and bird mobiles hanging from the ceiling.  They serve a good, strong latte, and the coffee cake has a nice consistency and is a generous portion.
The world-famous Sundance Film Festival takes place every January in Park City and the surrounding area.  At the busiest time of year, accommodations are at premium desirability.  Why not consider a luxury home exchange through IVHE?  IVHE has several properties available; early booking is strongly encouraged.   
Close to the same time as the Sundance Film Festival, is the underground Slamdance Film Festival in Park City.  Declaring itself, “Anarchy in Utah,” Slamdance was founded when some filmmakers were not accepted into the Sundance Film Festival.  So if your tastes run toward the underground, give it a look.
As varied as Park City’s seasons, the alpine retreat’s artistic offerings are sophisticated, whimsical, and sure to please even the most discerning critic.
To enjoy what Park City has to offer, see luxury home exchange options in Park City and Utah; stay in accommodations as lush and sophisticated as the mountain retreat itself.  See how it works on             Thank you to Sona Schmidt-Harris


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