Background: In 2022 Payette Land Trust launched the Conserving the Heart of Idaho program. PLT board member, Michael Eck, first dreamed up the idea, specifically the BIG HEART, after seeing the Hearts in San Francisco event, a fundraiser for the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation. Eck’s idea took root and grew to include not only the BIG HEART, but also two smaller tabletop hearts painted by local high school students, and finally plans for the SweetHEART Party & Auction held February 2023; a community event to celebrate private land conservation and auction off the hearts.

2023 BIG HEART: Claire Remsberg was selected as the 2023 BIG HEART Artist: “My process is to start with random paint applied in interesting patterns, but without initial intention, using brushes, rags and spray bottles, and patterned using blowing techniques, gravity and various other interventions. Then the design is studied to find images that wish to be discovered, similar to finding pictures Rorschach inkblot tests. The artwork itself and the subconscious are the muses for the process. I see this as a community involvement project resulting in a visual collage.” 

New in 2023: Companion Heart: Heidi Messner was selected as the Companion Heart Artist. The Companion Heart is a smaller, tabletop sized heart. “Protecting Idaho” is my colorful art piece portraying the main water bodies in Idaho highlighted as the centerpiece of the heart,  which are the lifelines of our natural resources. We need to protect our waters to conserve what we have for future generations. I grew up in Idaho, work in the fisheries field and am a huge advocate for protecting our resources. This is something I am hugely passionate for and want to help spread awareness to others to help protect what we have to offer through artwork.”

The finished hearts will be unveiled at PLT’s annual Conservation Day BBQ, June 17, and the hearts will be on display throughout the McCall area for a 9-month exhibition period ending February 2024. Businesses in Valley and Adams County can contact PLT’s Community Outreach & Project Manager, Sonya Mapp, about hosting the BIG HEART and/or Companion Heart. 

The request for student heart art proposals will open in the fall.

The goal of the Conserving the Heart of Idaho 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 BIG HEART and the Companion Heart, along with Student Hearts, will be auctioned off at the SweetHEART Party & Auction in February 2024.  

Follow Payette_Land_Trust on Instagram for updates on Conserving the Heart of Idaho.