Long before French bohemian artists began lugging their easels and tubes of oil paint out into the bustling parks of Montmartre, art and parks have been engaged in an illicit romance. Across the world, when the weather warms up, artists emerge from their cluttered studios and gingerly transport paintings from climate-controlled galleries out into the sun-dappled open air. Though park painting today has been taken over by bobble-head caricature artists and spray-paint wielding teens, the art-in-the-park festival phenomenon shows no signs of waning. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Idaho parks in the summertime.
From Boise's Julia Davis Park all the way up to Coeur d'Alene's City Park, warm weather brings bumper to bumper stroller jams along tree-lined gravel pathways and endless booths filled with landscape paintings and polished jewelry. So if you're looking for that perfect gourd sculpture to adorn your game room, grab your checkbook and a fat slab of street meat, this is the official guide to Idaho's upcoming outdoor art festivals.
Art and Roses: June 7, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Boise
Co-sponsored by Idaho Centennial Art Group and the Boise Parks and Recreation Department, the 19th annual Art and Roses festival will be held in Julia Davis Park's Rose Garden. Though the event was cancelled last year due to the Ironman 70.3 race, this year's fest will bring out 75 local artists who live within 125 miles of Boise and work in traditional fine art mediums (no crafters). A percentage of sales will also go to support the rose garden.
The event will offer eats from Smoky Mountain Pizza and Pasta, TCBY Yogurt and Abe's kettle corn along with jams by the JB duo, Nancy Kelly and Beth Wilson, each performing two hour sets.
While spots for photographers and sculptors are filled this year, there are still a few openings for painters working in mediums like oil, acrylic, pastel or watercolor. For more info on securing your corner of the rose garden, call Marilyn Garrison at 208-938-5741.
Eagle Arts Faire: July 10-12. Fri., 2 p.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Eagle
Put on by the Eagle Arts Commission, the Eagle Arts Faire is a three-day throwdown with a juried fine art show, live music, kiddo art activities and a smattering of food and vino vendors. Saddled up next to the farmers market in Heritage Park, the faire boasts work from artists like glass-blower Zion Warne, bronze sculptor John Sandell and oil painter Brenda Kaye.
Though there is still space available for artists, participants are required to man their booths all three days and space runs high at $150. For more info, contact Melissa Brodt at Galerie Belle Ame at 208-921-0477, or visit eaglearts.org to download an application.
Ketchum Arts Festival: July 10-12. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Ketchum
The 10th annual Ketchum Arts Festival takes place in July. Applications are still being submitted, and the lineup isn't nailed down yet, but promises to offer over 100 artists not just of the visual kind, though they'll be there, too. Dancers, poets, chefs and brewmeisters will also be on hand to help turn the Festival Meadows area along Sun Valley Road into a big party. For more info, call or visit mountainangels.com.
Art on the Green: July 31-Aug. 2. Fri., noon-7 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Coeur d'Alene
Anything that lasts more than 40 years must have the right formula. This year is the 41st for Art on the Green, a festival in Coeur d'Alene that features a huge array of performances in everything from dance to jazz to bluegrass to theater. They're still shoring up performers, so visit artonthegreen.org or call 208-667-9346 for more information.
Sun Valley Center Arts and Crafts Festival: Aug. 7-9. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Ketchum
Another 40-something festival turns a year older as the Sun Valley Center Arts and Crafts Festival brightens up an August weekend. Everything from artist demonstrations to fine arts and crafts fill Ketchum's Atkinson Park as more than 130 artists hawk jewelry, woodwork, painting, photography, ceramics and more. Visit sunvalley.org for more info.
Plein Air Painters of Idaho Paint-out: Aug. 24-27, Stanley
For the sixth annual paint-out, the Plein Air Painters of Idaho will haul their gear out to Redfish Lake and let the Sawtooth Mountains and Stanley's scenic backdrop inspire their swirling brushes. The public is invited to come observe the artists' processes before the official reception and art sale begins at the Redfish Lake Lodge at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27.
Art in the Park: Sept. 11-13. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Boise
At last year's Art in the Park, put on by Boise Art Museum, close to 250,000 people descended on Julia Davis Park in downtown Boise to amble through art and artisan booths and jam to the sounds of Bank, Rebecca Scott, and Blaze and Kelly. With more than 260 artists on this year's roster, including a percentage of brand new artists, the 55th annual Art in the Park promises to be quite a spectacle--if you can manage to dodge the packs of roving strollers and dudes carrying their cats in babyslings.
Though artists, musical acts and raffle prizes are still being confirmed, this year's Art in the Park will undoubtedly be Idaho's late-summer art destination du jour. For more information or to download an application to participate in 2010's Art in the Park, visit boiseartmuseum.org.