Visual Arts

Artists & Naturalists

by Patrick Nelson

Focusing on the “natural” interplay of the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains and the artistic process, the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation will host its second annual Art in Nature Party on June 19th at the Silver Lake Nature Center in Big Cottonwood Canyon near Brighton.

Foundation volunteers and local artists Susie Campbell and Cathy Dern helped organize this event, which aims to fulfill the nonprofit’s mission of “working to maintain and improve the environmental health of Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons through public education and stewardship,” by focusing on connecting the community with their beautiful backyard through learning about the artistic process.

Silver Lake is the perfect location for this party with a .7 mile, fully accessible boardwalk that encircles a beautiful alpine lake and wetlands. The approach to Art in Nature Party is to have the participating artists, many who have returned for a second year, painting on the boardwalk in three different areas while answering questions to the public about their work, their approach and how they view the area.

At last year’s event, a guided walk led visitors around the boardwalk through these three zones, co-led by an artist and a naturalist. While the naturalist focused on the wildflowers, observing the signs left behind by beaver, moose and mink, the artist focused on the process.

According to Dern, “It’s really great to create a fusion of two opposite perspectives, the art and the science. Ecologists frequently focus on the world one way, while artists another. The tour really fused both approaches . . . the accessibility of the artists while they are working really helps develop an understanding of the process in that it is not just about the end product.”

Along with the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation, last year’s event was sponsored by the US Forest Service, Solitude Mountain Resort and Tony Caputo’s who provided lunch for the artists. Carol Majeske, with Wasatch-Cache National Forest, participated in last year’s event and enjoyed the different perspective each artist brought to their work. “Their individual approach helped me appreciate an environment that I am out in every day even more. It’s great that they can impart this viewpoint on other people as we face user impact challenges that could be mitigated by this appreciation.”

Work produced at last year’s event will be hanging at Silver Lake through the 19th. This year’s event starts at 9AM on June 19th, with artists painting. The guided walk will begin at 11AM, meet at the Nature Center. Artists participating in this year’s event include:
Rob Adamson
Trent Alvey
Susie Campbell
Sheila Chambers
Cathy Dern
Carole Evans
Willamarie Huelskamp
John Hughes
Shirley McKay
Dottie Miles
Tom Mulder
Pilar Pobil
Kent Rich
Gretchen Reynolds
Trina Steffensen

For more information, please visit

Categories: Visual Arts

Tagged as: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *