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Free evening exhibition tour is Thursday

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Check-out stand Candy

Brittany Powell Parich, "Checkout" (detail), 2019, acrylic on MDF.

KETCHUM — The Sun Valley Center for the Arts will host a free evening tour of the visual arts exhibition associated with its current Big Idea Project, “Marketplaces: From Open Air to Online,” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the center’s museum, 191 Fifth St. E., Ketchum. Visitors to the museum are invited to enjoy a glass of wine and take a guided tour of the exhibition with museum curators.

The exhibition will feature five contemporary artists whose work explores themes that are central to the Big Idea: Conrad Bakker, Chad Erpelding, Brittany Powell Parich, Brendan O’Connell and Mark R. Smith.

What does the marketplace look like in the 21st century? Over the last 25 years, there has been a radical transformation in the way Americans buy and sell goods and services. Motivated more and more by the perception of convenience, consumers are increasingly choosing to shop online from the comfort of their own homes or in big-box stores where they believe one-stop shopping will save time and money. As a result, small independently owned stores are facing serious challenges — leaving vacant storefronts along main streets. Even many chain stores have struggled; and giant malls, which were once hubs of social activity as well as commerce, lie empty.

These recent shifts are part of the continually evolving relationship to the idea of the marketplace, a commercial space that has taken myriad forms over human history — from open-air markets and ancient trade routes that linked far-flung parts of the globe to small shops owned by specialty retailers, enormous big-box stores and the online sites that comprise much of today’s retail market. What about buying and selling not just goods, but pieces of the companies that provide those goods? Not all Americans own stocks in companies, but the strength of indices like the Dow, the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 impact everyone.

While big-box stores and online shopping may be big business today, there has also been a simultaneous resurgence in farmers markets, a call to shop locally and reinvestment in the downtowns of small towns and cities across the U.S. This Big idea Project will shed light on the complex intersections of these marketplaces and, perhaps more importantly, how consumer choices shape society.

“Marketplaces: From Open Air to Online” will be on view through Nov. 8 at the center in Ketchum. For more information, call 208-726-9491 or go to sunvalleycenter.org.

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