What does Conserving the Heart of Idaho mean to you? Payette Land Trust asked this of local artists and received a number of thoughtful submissions. In March one artist, Colleen Hanley-Prior, was chosen to paint the first Conserving the Heart of Idaho heart sculpture, a large fiberglass heart measuring 38 inches tall by 40 inches wide by 18 inches deep. 

The finished heart will be unveiled at PLT’s annual Conservation Days BBQ on June 18, and the heart will be on display throughout the McCall area for a 9-month exhibition period ending February 2023. 

The goal of the project is to promote awareness of conserving the natural beauty of West Central Idaho. PLT hopes the heart will engage, educate and inspire the community. The large heart, along with three smaller hearts, will be auctioned off in early 2023. If this year’s heart is well received PLT will call on more artists to decorate additional hearts next year. 

PLT board member Michael Eck is spearheading the project and first dreamed up the idea after seeing the Hearts in San Francisco event, a fundraiser for the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation. In San Francisco each year heart sculptures are decorated by different artists and installed at locations throughout the city. A similar exhibition was held in Coeur d’Alene where life-size painted moose were on display around town. Eck envisions a “where’s Waldo” type of exhibit where locals and visitors find the heart and snap a photo as it moves to different locations. 

Coming next week: An interview with the heart artist, Colleen Hanley-Prior.