One of Jackson’s signature events, the Fall Arts Festival, is a “go” this year, but, newsflash: It will look a little different.
The QuickDraw and auction will be smaller and will have a virtual option. Palettes and Palates is canceled, as are some of the other food-related events. Most galleries will be open but with appointment options and limited in-gallery events.
That’s the messaging from the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce this week as it tries to plan events in advance during an ever-changing set of circumstances relating to COVID-19.
Each fall, the Fall Arts Festival lures thousands of people to the valley. This year’s dates are Sept. 9-20. With tourism rates spiking as people escape virus-hit urban areas, it’s anyone’s guess what the traffic will look like in September.
The Western Visions Jewelry Show will still take place at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, on Sept. 9, but it will be outside in the sculpture garden, with items sold for set prices.
The Western Design Conference will start Sept. 10 as virtual-only. The Exhibit and Sale Sourcebook will be released that day for people “to source, commission and shop the best of the West,” according to the website.
The Western Visions paintings show and sale at the Wildlife Museum will begin Sept. 12, and the Takin’ it to the Streets art fair is set for Sept. 13.
Taste of the Tetons and Sips on the Square, two of the festival’s signature food-and-drink events, may rely on prepackaged items or partnerships with restaurants, said Britney Magleby, special events coordinator with the chamber.
The QuickDraw, scheduled for Sept. 19, will have artists painting in different spots for 90 minutes. People can watch live or via livestream. Immediately after, at 10:30 a.m., work will be auctioned through virtual bidding.
Magleby said attendance will be limited to accommodate social distancing, but the live virtual bidding will be a first and will bring many more people to the festival from all over the country.
The festival’s featured piece, Thomas Blackshear’s “Hunter’s Watch,” also will go under the hammer about halfway through the QuickDraw auction; that central piece has fetched in the neighborhood of $25,000 in recent years.
The closing Art Brunch is set for Sunday, Sept. 20. While some galleries typically offer food and mingling, this year each gallery will make its decision about that to do that may understandably be last-minute.
Most galleries will be open by appointment with some restricted walk-in availability. Some are not hosting Fall Arts events this year, but will still be open.
Visitors should check up on the events frequently at JacksonHoleChamber.com. The Jackson Hole News&Guide will insert its annual Fall Arts Festival special supplement in the Sept. 9 edition.