The festival began in 2005 at the St. Christopher’s Mission and has since expanded across the small town of Bluff.
This year, organizers had a goal of centralizing the market at the Bluff Community Center with the artist market, “make and take” art projects, and food trucks.
The highlight of the festival will be a mural project with Whitehorse High School art students and featured artist, Gilmore Scott.
“The Honor our Home Mural presents a fantastic opportunity for local youth to learn the artistic process, while creating a welcoming message for visitors from around the world.
“The project uses the expertise of renowned artist Gilmore Scott and art teacher Georgiana Simpson to harness the inspired work of culturally influenced imagery from Whitehorse High School students,” says Festival Co-Chair Kirsten Ewing.
Gilmore Scott describes his art as, “My images and subjects are interpretations of how I view my culture, my Dine (Navajo) heritage.
“My subjects are the high southwest desert landscapes, traditional basket, our traditional hogan homes. Gilmore’s style of combining his heritage with a bold color palette will be a perfect match for the mural, themed “Honor our Home.”
The public is invited to participate in the mural project, which will take place throughout the three-day weekend.
The full schedule of events for the festival can be found online at www.bluffartsfestival.org.
Many events are free and open to the public, like riverside storytelling on Friday night and the Sun Salutation & Strum yoga walk on Sunday morning.
Workshops, like plein air painting and Dutch oven cooking, require pre-registration and varied fees.
The winner of the Ellen Meloy Desert Writer’s Fund, Michael Branch, will be the honored guest of the riverside storytelling.
With the help of Utah Poet Laureate David Lee, Branch will lead a discussion of “what it means to live in the desert.”
This outdoor evening event has always honored the late Bluff author, Ellen Meloy, and this year, community members will gather to also honor the recent passing of long-time Bluff residents, Gene and Mary Foushee.
The Piñon Pickers will headline the live music event at Cow Canyon Trading Post Saturday night. The Piñon, AZ band is a community of medical professionals and musicians dedicated to creating feel good Americana folk music. This event is free and open to the public.
For those looking forward to Bluff’s annual winter solstice burn, local artist Joe Pachak invites Festival attendees to help him construct this year’s sculpture of a standing bear over the Festival weekend.
The 2017 Bluff Arts Festival is sponsored by Twin Rocks Trading Post, Resolute Energy, San Juan Credit Union, Cow Canyon Trading Post, Recapture Lodge, and the San Juan Record, with support from the Utah Humanities Council and San Juan County Office of Economic Development.