IDAHO FALLS, Idaho—The BLM Idaho Falls District has announced its selection of professional artist Scott Switzer as the District’s 2018 Artist in Residence. Switzer’s residency will focus on artistic interpretation of the South Fork of the Snake River—the first time the Idaho Falls District is employing the Artist in Residency program to focus on this branch of the Snake River.
The Artist-in-Residence program invites artists to spend a week absorbing their surroundings, creating art in response to the experience, and then sharing their vision and technique with visitors. The program also promotes awareness of exceptional places found on public lands.
“We were impressed by the quality of artists who applied this year,” said Idaho Falls District Manager Mary D’Aversa. “The variety and creativity of the mediums submitted were inspiring and it was hard to select just one artist. The boldness of Scott’s work set him apart. Nature and art have been interwoven since the first marks were made by humans. We would love to host another artist in eastern Idaho in the future.”
An Idaho resident, Switzer is passionate about his public lands and even slept in a tree stand to capture the beauty of a great horned owl. This experience will provide him an opportunity to celebrate public lands and give back to the agencies that manage those resources for future generations. Photos of Scott’s work are available online at: www.scottswitzer.com.
Artists are selected on the basis of both artistic merit and public outreach proposals. Their presentations provide opportunities for learning and dialogue about the value of preserving public lands. Participants donate digital copies of completed artwork to the BLM for future use in posters, exhibitions and interpretive programs.
Background: South Fork of the Snake River
The South Fork of the Snake River flows for 66 miles across southeastern Idaho, through high mountain valleys, canyons and flood plains to its confluence with the Henrys Fork of the Snake near the Menan Buttes. Flowing northwest from Palisades Dam in Swan Valley, the river runs for the first 9 miles through a narrow channel, then widens and flows around several island complexes.
Fall Creek cascades into the river just upstream from the Swan Valley Bridge. Downstream of Conant launch, the river leaves Highway 26 and enters a scenic canyon. The impressive canyon scenery continues downstream until near Heise Hot Springs, where the cliffs give way to a level flood plain.
The South Fork supports the largest riparian cottonwood gallery forest in the West and is one of the most unique, diverse ecosystems in Idaho. It is home to 126 bird species, including 21 raptors, meriting a "National Important Bird Area" designation. The river also supports the largest native cutthroat fishery outside of Yellowstone National Park. The corridor serves as habitat for an impressive array of other wildlife including moose, deer, elk, mountain goats, mountain lions, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, river otters, beavers, foxes and mink.