Organizers ask ‘Who’s Art?’ as they revive An Art Party

William “Kranny” Kranstover, right, and his daughter Malia Denali are two of the organizers of Who’s Art — An Art Party scheduled for Tuesday, March 26, at The Cabin. The free event for ages 21 and older continues a 40-year tradition of gathering local painters, sculptors, musicians, writers and poets who share their original works with the community and their peers. Other organizers include painter Bob Peek, Egyptian Theatre Manager Randy Barton and painter Kimberley Gray.
Park Record file photo by David Jackson

Art lovers and artists are invited to see, hear and showcase locally created work at the Who’s Art — An Art Party gathering this Tuesday.

The event, which will officially start at 7 p.m., will be held at the downstairs floor of The Cabin, 427 Main St. Admission is free for adults ages 21 and older, and there will be a cash bar.

Who’s Art continues a 40-year tradition of gathering local painters, sculptors, musicians, writers and poets who share their original works with the community and their peers, said co-organizers William “Kranny” Kranstover and Bob Peek.

“It’s not just for visual artists,” Kranstover said. “It’s for musicians and performers as well, and that’s something I want to emphasize.”

Roger Fuller put on some skates, and I forget if he was dressed in drag or naked.” 
William ‘Kranny’ Kranstover,
Who’s Art — An Art Party co-organizer

Artists who want to participate don’t need to register for the event, Kranstover said.

“They can just show up at 6:30 to set up an easel or small table, and the doors open at 7,” he said. “We like to have them limit their display to one or two pieces of work, and we’ll have the musicians and writers perform one or two works.”

Peek suggests artists bring their most recent or interesting works.

“This is more of an idea where people bring something they’re working on that is headed towards the finish line,” he said. “So you wouldn’t want to bring our whole collection.”

Who’s Art is also designed to give artists and creatives who aren’t officially represented by an art gallery or record label a venue to display and perform, according to Kranstover.

“The two biggest challenges for artists is availability of a forum to display their work and the opportunity to be constructively critiqued by their peers,” he said. “This creates a place where an artist can communicate with other artists and communicate with the community. And these are artists who have their art in the closet and are afraid to take it out or they don’t have any place to show.”

The event is also not designed to be a commercial venture where the artists sell their works, Kranstover said.

“Of course, they can make a deal in the alleyway, you know,” he said with a laugh.

The origins of Who’s Art started in the late 1980s, Peek said.

“I think it was somewhere in 1988,” said Peek. “It was a place where we could get together and show visual art, hear stories and songs and watch videos. It’s a creative outlet to show anything that anybody has put together to show off.”

One of the first venues was the Wasatch Brew Pub, which is now called Top of Main, Peek said.

“(Sculptor) Michael Begue was one of the brewers and so was Scott Becker,” he said. “Scott, could talk his way into anywhere, and he talked with the then-owner Greg Schirf, who let us do it there.”

The event continued regularly for three or four years at venues that included the Elk’s Lodge and Harry O’s, which is now the Marquis, Kranstover said.

“We would set up at any place we could find at the time, and we held it once a month,” he said. “We used to have some crazy stuff going on. One time (artist) Roger Fuller put on some skates, and I forget if he was dressed in drag or naked.” 

Who’s Art — An Art Party organizers are grateful to The Cabin General Manager Junior Richard for providing the venue for Tuesday’s local artists showcase.
Park Record file photo by Tanzi Propst

Other participating artists included landscape painter Allison Melville and sculptor Zafod Beatlebrox, who once showed up in a skirt made of hubcaps, Peek said.

“There was a whole crew of people who became friends,” he said. “We kind of had our own art colony for a while. And it was really wonderful.”

Who’s Art is where Kranstover and Peek started their long-lasting friendship.

“We knew each other but not as artists,” he said. “That’s what I really enjoyed because it was all about people showing up with their pieces and then talking with them. So with this you may find out there are people out there who you don’t know were artists, and they may even be your next-door neighbors.”

After running regularly for a few years, organizers — including Egyptian Theatre manager Randy Barton — decided to cut down on the frequency, Kranstover said.

“The problem was it got exhausting, but it’s popped up a couple of times since,” he said. “I think the last time Randy and I did one was in 2018.”

Joining Barton, Peek and Kranstover as organizers this year include Kimberley Gray and Kranstover’s daughter, Malia Denali.

“They have the energy to make this a more regular thing,” Kranstover said.

Kranstover is also grateful for Junior Richard, manager of The Cabin.

“He stepped up, and that’s really great for us,” he said. “Park City has a big creative community — visual artists, writers and musicians — and the market these days is people coming into town to buy art for their homes. So, we’ve lost a little bit of the local flavor of what this community used to be. This is why Who’s Art is such a fun event.”

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