Arts & Entertainment

Making Art in Glacier National Park

Park’s 2019 Artist-in-Residence Program announces lineup of artists ready to spend a month being inspired by Glacier

When wandering through the wilds of Glacier National Park, it so often feels as though everywhere you look is a perfect vista, a view so spectacular and heart-filling that you want to capture that moment.

Most of us will then pull out our phones and snap a photo to be shared with our family and friends. And then there are some of us who like to take a little more time to record their memories, who use the inspiration of this incredible place to fuel their artistic pursuits.

Last week, Glacier Park announced that three artists would get the chance of a lifetime to spend uninterrupted time in the park to feel inspired and to create in the 2019 Artist-in-Residence Program.

This year, the artists taking part are Amory Abbott, Chad Farnes, and Nic Fischer, with the first round of residency taking place June 3 to June 28.

The program gives the artists this opportunity while also reaping the benefits of their work. Artists work to their hearts’ content while in the park and then engage with the public through outreach programs to discuss their experiences as artists in residence and what they’ve made.

These public presentations can be demonstrations, talks, exploratory walks, or performances, and the park can also use digital images of the work in park publications and websites for education and outreach.

Fischer, a painter, said he was thrilled to be selected for the program, and intends to paint from the summit of Mount Edwards, overlooking the Sperry Glacier and the rebuilding project of the Sperry Chalet.

“I thought it would be a good convenient time to do a painting with the chalet in the painting,” Fischer said. “And the chalet, you can walk to it from where the artist resident’s cabin is.”

Fischer’s work, which typically combines field studies and satellite imagery to illustrate backcountry exploration with expansive landscapes, will take place from Sept. 3 through 28 in the park.

“I’m really excited to do it; I think it’s going to be a lot of work,” he said.

In Salt Lake City, Farnes, an artist and school counselor, is getting ready for his month in Glacier Park and his unique artistic medium. As an artist who uses tape — such as duct or painter’s — to create mosaic-like photo-realistic images, Farnes said he plans to use his skills to interact with other park visitors using a “tape by numbers” idea, similar to paint by numbers.

“I got involved because I’m really passionate about national parks and public land conservation,” Farnes said. “I wanted to find a way to combine my love of art with national parks.”

By using his pieces to create a connection with the audience, Farnes said he hopes people will connect both to the place and to the art.

“Art is oftentimes not interactive enough,” Farnes said.

Farnes takes over the artist cabin from July 8 to Aug. 2.

Abbott, who kicks off the residency program, brings charcoal landscape experience to the artist’s cabin, and uses local history, regional folklore, and global ecological concerns to show how we can have a deeper experience with the land around us.

Through workshops, material demonstrations, and campfire stories, Abbott intends to work with park guests to find these deeper connections to the ground, and how to find ethical paths forward as caretakers of this place.

For Farnes, in Utah, the experience offers the chance to come back to Montana and explore more of Glacier Park, getting inspired all along the way.

“I’m just really excited about it; I went to Glacier one time and was just really moved by how incredible it is,” Farnes said. “It’s a beautiful place and I’m really excited to spend a month up there.”

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