American West Art Show

The American West Art Show promotes and displays the work of artists throughout the West, but artists from Utah and sometimes Idaho have normally participated. This had been held each year during the Festival of the American West. Now it is held during the Fall Harvest Festival.

Artists are generally invited to participate, but in 2006, a general call for artists was sent via press release to appropriate press several months in advance. Interested artists were asked to send either a CD of their work, or to direct us to a website where their work could be seen or to send some post cards of their work. Most sent either CDs or directed us to their website.

Since the Fall Harvest Festival was only one day long, some of the artists did not like spending so much time setting up and taking down their work for only one day. Additionally, very few prints were sold relative to the Festival of the American West. If the Fall Harvest Festival increases its days to two or three, it might be more worth the artists' time and energy. Another idea was to make the show into a larger show by adding a juried exhibit for amateur and beginning professional artists and then to have the show run for a month or two. However, more people may see these works of art in a festival setting than even through several months of exhibit at the Welcome Center.

Current plans indicate that it will held at the Fall Harvest Festival in 2007.

Plans for 2007

  • Held at Fall Harvest Festival—but could continue longer or climax at this event
  • Once again send personal invitations to past participants, but also press releases to attract new artists. As the event gets shorter, we'll see the established professional artists stop coming, so it's important to find a time when the show could be up for longer.
  • Few artists make money selling their work at the show, so the show needs other incentives for coming, such as a jury. Then participating artists can put this credential on their resumes and in their portfolios.
  • Prize money needs to be secured. In 2006, there was a $500 award for "Favorite Artist" and a $500 award for "Favorite Art Work." If we had a jury in 2007, we would have to offer different prizes and perhaps reorganize our award scheme. For example, the "Favorite x" awards could each be $250, while a first, second and third place for art work could be $250, $150 and $100 respectively (= $1000 total).

Donors & Sponsors

Notes from Stephanie Gurr (who ran it in 2006)

Art Show

A successful art show takes a lot of work and time. First of all, you need to have at least 2 or 3 other people to assist you in accomplishing all of the tasks. When one person tries to take on a big project, such as the art show without any help, it can be quite overwhelming.

Steps to take in preparing for and carrying out a successful art show

  • Decide the best place to hold the art show—take into account the size, and the lighting.
  • The lighting is very important when displaying art—-make sure there is plenty of light throughout the whole room. If art is going to be displayed in corners, make sure there is enough light that hits in the corners.
  • Decide where the entry and exit points will be. Consider the best option for the flow of traffic.
  • Measure height and width of the area where the art will be displayed. Determine how many artists will be able to fit without being overcrowded. Consider 10–11 feet wide and 7-8 feet tall. This will depend upon the area chosen for the show.
  • Get a list of artists around Cache Valley and Salt Lake Areas.
  • Send out letters to as many artists as you want. You will send out more letters than you have space for to make sure that you have enough artists for a good show. Make sure you include a cut off date for the artist’s to submit samples of their works.
  • When the artist’s submit their work, send them a letter letting them know you received their work.
  • If the art show will be juried then they will choose the art work that will be displayed. If you are choosing the art work, decide upon the criteria that you are basing your decisions on.
  • When all the work has been submitted prior to the cut off date, then the choosing of the art work can begin. Sort through all of the samples, whether they are prints, on a CD or over e-mail and choose the designated number of artists based on the criteria that was chosen.
  • When the artist’s have been chosen, send out letters of acceptance and for those not chosen, send out letters of rejection.
  • For artist’s chosen it is helpful to get their e-mails for easy contact.
  • It is important to keep the entire list of artist’s up to date on the details of the show. E-mail or call them often to keep them updated on the show and what they need to do to prepare for the show and times, etc…
  • Have the artists come set up their art work the day before the art show. Make sure someone is there to unlock the building and assist the artist’s with setup. You can either designate spots for each of the artists and put their names where they are supposed to go or let the artist’s come on a first come first serve basis and pick their spots.
  • To get guests to meet the artists and to make all of the guests more aware of the art show, a suggestion would be to have a grand opening or something similar. Determine a time where more people would attend and make sure it is announced. During the 2006 art show, it wasn’t announced and so the artists were told to be there at a certain time and hardly anyone came in. This was not good because most of the artist’s came for the opening and they just stood there and visited with each other waiting for people to come and meet them and see their art.
  • If you decide to have a grand opening, make sure you set it up with the artists to see if they will be able to be there at a specific time.
  • You could have refreshments such as cookies and water or maybe some different kinds of breads. You could possible get some refreshments donated. For the 2006 show, Pepperidge Farm donated cookies.
  • A suggestion to get guests involved that was done at the 2006 show is to make slips of paper that has a place for guests to write their Favorite Artist and their Favorite Artwork. The favorite artwork does not have to be by their favorite artist. As guests enter, encourage them to participate and tell them about the contest so they can be aware while they are looking at the artwork and talking to the artists.
  • At the end of the show, tally up the votes for favorite artist and for favorite art work. After the 2006 festival, there was a supper and we had the awards ceremony during the supper. Whether or not there is a dinner at the end, give the winner’s awards/prizes/money or whatever the reward is.
  • Make sure that the area for the show is cleaned and locked up after all of the artists get their art out.
  • Send thank you cards to all artists.
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