More than a million visitors every summer brave long drives, heat and high altitude desert sun every year for the breathtaking visual experience of the National Park System destinations around Moab. Those who wish to deepen their creative connection with the landscape are encouraged to spend some time this month sharing their inspiration with the 2016 Community Artist in the Parks.
Maddie Logowitz was named this year’s artist in March, and will be continuing her series of park visits this summer at Arches and Canyonlands national parks through the end of the summer. This month, visitors and community members are encouraged to join Maddie as she produces her art at Arches National Park on July 8 and July 12, and at Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park on July 15.
“We have an amazing artist community here that is inspired by love for the landscape we live in. The idea is (the Community Artist) can help forge that bridge between community and visitors,” said Karen Garthwait, Interpretation Supervisory Park Ranger at Arches National Park.
Since 2009, the parks have hosted eight community artists, all representing different mediums and artistic styles. Logowitz has spent years working in canyon country as a naturalist and with the United States Geological Survey, and is inspired by the beauty of the smaller details brought into high relief by the stark desert landscape, she said.
“I originally started in pen and ink because I love the old scientific illustrations and wanted to work in a similar style,” Logowitz said.
She also appreciates the medium’s portability, she said. “They’re small and hard to damage – you can throw your supplies into a backpack and carry them anywhere, including the backcountry.”
Visitors are encouraged to bring art supplies along and be prepared with water, sunscreen and maybe portable shade to join Logowitz at her viewpoints in creating art themselves, Garthwait said.
Many artists apply annually to represent the local community, and one of the attributes selectees share is their enthusiasm for sharing their process with the public, Garthwait said. Visitors have enjoyed Logowitz’ perspective as an artist with one foot in the sciences and another in the arts.
Logowitz enjoys connecting creatively with visitors, whether they are artists or simply curious passers-by, she said.
“My favorite part of working with the public is the strange cross-section of people I get to meet,” she said. “As an artist sitting and sketching on the trail, sometimes people ask a few questions and keep walking, but sometimes they spend a few hours with you and you really get to know them.”
Once, a woman told her that learning to draw a scientific sketch of a flower in 4th grade changed her life, and another time her visit to the park drew together two women who were far apart in age, but shared a love of art, and were able to connect for a moment on their separate long-term road trips around the US.
“In Moab, we’re always noticing the swells and ebbs of tourists in town, and its been really rewarding to find out some of the backstories of those people who pass through,” she said.
Many visitors seem to overbook themselves and not allow themselves a rest from the anxiety of everyday life, Logowitz said. She encourages visitors to keep their schedules clear and allow for some serendipity as they explore their vacation spot.
“In a place like the desert, you see and learn a lot more by slowing down and taking the time to notice the smaller details,” she said.
Visitors can create with the 2016 Community Artist in the Park, Maddie Logowitz
When and Where:
Arches National Park, July 8, 7:30 am – 8:30 am – Fiery Furnace Viewpoint, 1 pm – 2:30 pm – Arches Visitor Center; July 12, 7:30 am – 9:30 am – Courthouse Towers, 10 am – 12:30 pm – Arches Visitor Center;
Canyonlands National Park, July 15, 8 – 10 am – Visitor Center, 10:30 – 1:30 pm – Green River Overlook, 2 pm – 3 pm – Aztec Butte
Cost: Free, with park admission
For more information about Logowitz and the Community Artist in the Parks Program, visit www. Nps.gov/arch/getinvolved/communityartist