Cowboy couture rides back to Jackson Hole this September

(Jackson, Wyo.) - The 24th annual Western Design Conference (WDC) rides into Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Sept. 8 – 11, 2016, announced WDC Director Allison Merritt. The one-of-a-kind pieces on display reflect a high degree of sophistication, creativity and craftsmanship – often with an innovative use of distinctly Western materials. Another aspect that makes the experience special for visitors, explains Merritt in a video capturing the excitement of the WDC, is the direct interaction with the artists for a deeper understanding of their influences and process. “These are artists creating at the highest levels of contemporary craft,” said Merritt. But beyond the remarkable workmanship, “sometimes it’s hearing the artist’s personal heartfelt story behind a particular piece that gives it deeper meaning to the buyer, so that when they take it home, it is so much more than just a beautiful object.” Taking place at the Snow King Sports & Events Center in Jackson, the Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale is the only event of its kind – the preeminent exhibition and sale of Western functional art from furniture and accessories to fashion and jewelry. The event has also become a cornerstone of the annual Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. Each year the WDC selects a new panel of five nationally recognized judges, awarding artists over $19,000 for excellence in design. “It is with the generosity of local sponsors and art enthusiasts that the WDC is able to offer the opportunity to vie for tens of thousands of dollars in cash prizes annually. The Exhibit + Sale truly unites buyers and artists, taking no percentage of sales,” says Merritt, who continues to grow the event in new directions – including adding a Designer Show House and Retail Row in 2015 – while drawing record-breaking numbers of visitors. Kicking off the Western Design Conference is the Opening Preview Party, a highly anticipated night for visitors and locals alike that last year drew more than 1,500 guests. The party begins at 6 p.m. with no shortage of visual entertainment. The work of juried artists and their booths are open for shopping while guests enjoy signature cocktails and delicious catered fare. For this year’s party, the WDC has added more open bars and will feature six food stations with culinary creations by Café Genevieve. Returning to the WDC is the Western Design Conference Fashion Show presented by Ward + Blake Architects, showcasing innovative couture collections by top fashion designers incorporating Western spirit and tradition into their work. Models strut the catwalk in an energetic performance that surpasses a typical runway event. VIP tickets for the Opening Preview Party sell out quickly, but can be purchased in advance here: Also returning this year will be a fresh new Designer Show House, featuring six professionally designed rooms by Jackson Hole interior designers demonstrating how to incorporate fine Western design into home interiors. The Designer Show House will be on display through Sunday along with the annual Exhibit + Sale, the WDC’s three-day main event, showcasing the juried museum-quality art by the more than 130 Western-inspired artists. Also featured this year, a bigger-than-ever Retail Row – an entire wing of the Snow King Events Center where guests can shop everything from boots to jewelry to décor and fashion. Artists interested in participating in the Western Design Conference can apply here: *Feature Photo: h/t Western Design Conference / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news