The Art Fair Jackson Hole is back for its 53rd year this weekend, bringing hundreds of artists to Miller Park as part of the Art Association of Jackson Hole’s largest fundraiser of the year.

Over the past half century the event has grown into a two-weekend affair, taking place over the course of three days in both July and August. Each year a jury hand-picks 300 artists from the Rocky Mountain region to attend the fairs. About a third of those artists are first- timers.

“It helps keep the offerings fresh, while maintaining the quality and breadth of creativity that we’re known for,” said Kirsten Corbett, the Art Association’s director of marketing and communications.

Corbett also noted that the fair has grown into much more than an art fair. In recent summers the Art Association has placed greater emphasis on additional festival-like activities for attendees to enjoy between perusing and purchasing unique pieces of art.

“We’ve kept an eye towards offering a great entertainment lineup for all from the family band Micah and Me to the addition of outdoor yoga during the afternoon,” Corbett said.

Micah and Me is a Portland, Oregon, family band made up of three stay-at-home dads known for playing upbeat covers of kids’ classics and instigating dance parties.

The band will host a dance party at 10 a.m. Saturday and ukulele lessons at 10 a.m. Sunday in the Kids Zone. Some free ukuleles will be available — you’re also encouraged to bring any you may have at home.

The Art Association has also teamed up with other nonprofits, including Dancers’ Workshop, Grand Teton Music Festival, the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the Teton Raptor Center, to put on performances all weekend and offer free kids activities, including face painting, bike-powered spin art and a hand-drawn photo booth.

With all the new additions to the fair, the Art Association is also taking away one thing from the weekend festivities: plastic.

This year the Art Association is introducing a reusable cup program so people can rent or buy a steel tumbler (or bring their own) to fill up on water or cocktails from Jackson Hole Still Works.

That means the Art Association will not be selling plastic water bottles. Instead there will be water filling stations made possible by a grant through the town of Jackson’s zero waste initiative, The Road to Zero Waste.

Fittingly, sustainability is also at the heart of this fair’s Emerging Artist practice.

Every summer the Art Association chooses an up-and-coming artist to sponsor for each fair. The Emerging Artist for the July fair is Emory Cooper, a six-year Jackson resident and collage artist.

Cooper began collaging as an art student at Keene State College when her mom told her she had to finally get rid of the stack of old magazines she had been hoarding in her room back home in Connecticut.

Back then her collegiate studio spaces allowed her to make large collages — sometimes as big as 11-feet wide — inspired by her summers spent in the Tetons.

The scale of her work has dramatically shrunk since she moved into a small cabin in town, but her pieces have kept the same bright palette and rich texture that combine to create what she calls a “beautiful, organized chaos of ripped paper.”

“I love repurposing people’s old magazines,” Cooper said, noting that one man’s trash is another woman’s treasure.

Especially around spring cleaning time, Cooper puts out feelers to people she knows in Jackson to let them know she will gladly save them a trip to the recycling center. Sometimes she’ll take a trip to the center herself to scour the stacks there. She even goes as far as to reuse canvases, finding old ones at thrift stores and collaging over them.

Cooper will be selling original works, prints and cards of her landscape works at the Art Fair. For animal lovers out there, Cooper can also be commissioned to make collage portraits of pets.

In addition to fine artists like Cooper, the Art Fair will feature ceramists, furniture makers, clothing designers and more.

The fair will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Entrance to the fair costs $5 for non-Art Association members and is free for members. Entrance fees support Art Association education and outreach programs. Entrance for kids younger than 10 is free. 

Contact Julie Kukral via 732-7062 or entertainment@jhnewsandguide.com.

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