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August and Park City go hand in hand. After all, that's when the popular Park City Art Festival is held.

But that's not the only reason. There are two other top-notch art exhibits held during August - "The Northwest Rendezvous (NWR) Artists' Sale and Exhibition" at the Kimball Art Center; and the "Masters Sale & Show" at the Saguaro Gallery.- For 14 years after the NWR was organized, the annual sale and exhibit took place in Helena, Mont. However, in 1992, the group decided to move the events to another location. Fortuitously, they chose Park City.

When interviewing Wally Grewe, managing director of NWR, I asked him why Park City was the committee's choice. The first two reasons he mentioned were: "the scenery and the close proximity to a major airport." Not far behind was the willingness of Kimball Art Center director Gary Sanders to house the show at KAC.

Grewe added that this annual sale and exhibit attract art collectors from all over the country. "Some of them combine this event with vacation plans, and the beautiful mountain resort of Park City is ideal for that."

Although the exhibit by the NWR group continues through Sept. 28, many of the events that are part of the annual "rendezvous" have already taken place. Included were a four-day wilderness "paint-out" (camp-out) for NWR members (see related story on today's Spectra cover); seminars and demonstrations; quick draw and auction; a fixed-price sale of major artworks in KAC's Main Gallery and "Little Jewels" in the Badami Gallery downstairs; and a reception and awards banquet.

Grewe pointed out that one highlight of the rendezvous is the quick-draw event. "This year it was held at the Homestead resort," he said. "The artists were given an hour and a half to complete their paintings."

He said the rules were "pretty lax." Some artists painted from models and some from the surrounding landscape; others completed small paintings they had blocked out before the quick-draw started.

"This event allows collectors and others to watch artists at work," Grewe said. Not only that, collectors had an opportunity to bid on the paintings at an auction that immediately followed the quick-draw event.

The title "Northwest Rendezvous" can be misleading. The original group of artists 16 years ago were from the Northwest and "had tie-ins with the mountain-men type crowd," Grewe said. However, over the years, artists from across the country who focused on a variety of subject matter joined the group.

At the present time, there are 38 members; and four of them are Utahns: Painters Gary Kapp (Provo), Jim Morgan (Mendon), and Jim Norton (Santaquin); and sculptor Ed Fraughton (West Jordan).

Grewe emphasized that it's not easy to become a member of this prestigious group of artists. Interested artists must submit slides. If they are approved, they are invited to exhibit as guests in two annual shows. Then they are eligible to become members, providing they get approval from the NWR group.

A walk through the two exhibits at KAC reveals the tremendous talent, originality and command of the mediums. I was particularly attracted to paintings by Kapp, Morgan, Norton, Harley Brown, Scott Christensen, Jim Daly (recipient of the 1993 People's Choice Award), Dan Gerhartz and Don Prechtel; pastels by Arlene Hooker-Fay and Ned Mueller; and sculptures by Fraughton and Veryl Goodnight.

The Kimball Art Center is at 638 Park Ave., Park City, 649-8882. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

- Thanks to David Lott, owner of the Saguaro Gallery, another quality exhibit of representational art runs concurrently with the NWR show. In fact, six of the 40 artists participating in his show have work at KAC.

The "Third Annual Masters Sale and Show" includes works by 40 top artists worldwide, including Carl Brenders from Belgium; Ken Ullberg, Sweden; David Shepherd, England; Dino Pareavano, South Africa; Wang Hongjian, China; and Robert Bateman and Harley Brown, Canada.

And, contrary to what many people might think, there is very little Western art. "Only six pieces can be found in this show of approximately 70 works," Lott pointed out. The show consists of a wide variety of genres by these modern masters: landscape, figurative, wildlife, Western, still life, Americana, nautical (ships and marine animals), automotive sculpture and prehistoric wildlife (African and North American).

Utah artists are also represented here: painters VaLoy Eaton, Robert Duncan and William Whitaker; and sculptors Steve Czerkas, Stanley Wanlass and Ed Fraughton.

While the exhibit attracts a number of local collectors, a lot of them come from outside the state.

For those collectors who are unable to attend, Lott provides colored snapshots of requested works. "About half of the sales generated from this show have been by people who didn't attend but have had snapshots mailed to them," he said.

When asked how he measures the show's success, Lott said that he measures it by a number of gauges. One, of course, is to make money; but that's certainly not the only reason. In fact, Lott said, "During the last two years I've only managed to cover costs and make a little profit."

Other gauges include "working with the artists, seeing their new work and putting the show together. Also the quality of art submitted, the number of viewers who see the show and the many positive comments that are made."

Approximately 13 artists with work in the exhibit are not gallery regulars. And only 15 percent of all participating artists are local.

Lott pointed out that this isn't characteristic of the gallery's usual offerings - where 40 percent is by local artists and the remaining 60 percent by artists who live out-of-state and out-of-country.

"I haven't specialized in Utah sculptors and painters, just the ones I feel are the best," Lott said.

The opening reception for the show was held last Friday night. However, the exhibit continues through Sept. 3. Saguaro Gallery is at 314 Main, Park City (645-7667). Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.