From Home Furnishing Business
Western Design Conference Exhibit Slated for September
2023 by HFBusiness Staff in Business Strategy, Designer Weekly, Industry
Television shows “Yellowstone,” “1883” and “1923” are proving the enduring popularity of the West’s distinctive style with audiences ranging far beyond the region. The news comes as no surprise to Allison Merritt, executive director of the annual Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale.
Merritt just completed the process of selecting, with a jury of experts, the artisans from across the country whose work will be showcased at this year’s event, slated for September 7-10, 2023, at the Snow King Events Center in Jackson, Wyoming.
“The West is having a national moment, with everything from fashion to décor finding inspiration in the rich history and traditions,” says Merritt. “In our 31st year, we’re accustomed to the amazing range of artists working in traditional craft methods – every year with more states represented – but it’s really fun to see the awareness spread.”
Filled with museum-quality handcrafted functional art ranging from cutting-edge contemporary to ultra-traditional, the Western Design Exhibit + Sale unites artists, makers, travelers and buyers with a shared passion for the ways of the West and the finest examples of American craft it inspires, all coming together in a setting that encourages hands-on experiences accompanied by the exchange of stories behind the creations.
The Western Design Conference has something for everyone, whether an international collector of bespoke furniture, a local seeking design inspiration for their mountain home, or a visitor in search of the perfect earrings or custom hat to remember their trip to Jackson.
Kicking off the four-day celebration is the Opening Preview Party on Thursday, September 7, a soiree to see and be seen. Guests don boots and ensembles with Western flair, enjoying cocktails and catered bites while shopping the showroom before gathering around the stage for a live auction, where roughly 10 unique pieces, ranging from furniture to jewelry, are auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Following the auction, exciting Western-inspired couture from 16 different designers hits the runway in a live fashion show as models strut to the music in hats, chaps, dresses, coats, cloaks, boots, bags and more, all available for purchase.
Another highlight of the event is the Designer Show House, an impressive true-to-scale house constructed on the Exhibit + Sale showroom floor and featuring individual, professionally designed rooms by talented design firms for guests to explore and find inspiration.
“Artitude Adjustment” happy hours are offered each day at 2 p.m. with complimentary cocktails for guests to sip while shopping. And at the Design Excellence Awards ceremony on Friday, September 8, judges will reveal their winning picks from a variety of categories with artists taking home cash prizes totaling over $20,000.
Tickets are $30 for an Exhibit + Sale day-pass, allowing admission from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and including daily happy hour; VIP entry and reserved seating at the Opening Preview Party + Fashion Show is available for $175 per person, and general admission for opening night is $100, all including an open bar and catering from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Celebrating 31 years in 2023, the annual Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale is a four-day, multimillion-dollar event that brings together craftspeople, collectors, interior designers, architects, and fashion designers with a love of the West. The Western Design Conference was founded in Cody, Wyoming, to promote contemporary artists working in historical American craft methods.
The Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale moved to Jackson Hole in 2007, where Executive Director Allison Merritt continues the strong commitment to Western arts in Wyoming while expanding the reach of the show. Additional information, including schedules and tickets, is available at westerndesignconference.com and on Facebook and Instagram.