WINTHROP, Wash. – James DeSalvo wanted a unique and recognizable sign that tells people they’re at a Methow Valley Sport Trails Association trailhead.
Amanda Jackson wanted people in the Methow who love the outdoors to see more local art.
Their two visions are coming together this fall in the form of kiosks at trailheads in Winthrop and Mazama that will feature the work of two local artists.
DeSalvo is the trails association’s executive director, and Jackson is the Methow Arts Association executive director.
A collaboration between the two groups will complete two of the kiosks this fall, with plans for five more in the works.
The kiosks were designed and built by Seattle architect Mark Parker and Methow Valley contractor Deva Harris, who also volunteers for MVSTA.
“Where we came from is two posts in the ground and some two-by-fours – it just wasn’t interesting, so it became this invisible sign,” DeSalvo said, adding, “We needed an attractive design that was unique, but that also labeled and branded us, so that with just a glimpse of an eye you could see there was an access point” to the trails in the Methow Valley.
To give each kiosk its own special flair, the back of an attached bench will hold the creation of a local artist.
The hope is that the artwork and the attractive design of the kiosks will attract people to them, increasing the chances that they’ll read the postings about events, trail conditions or invasive weeds they may see on the trail. “We need to do a better job educating people about where we are and what we’re doing,” he said.
“It’s a different concept for a kiosk. We’re trying to draw people in so they can enjoy it more. To give them kind of an experience before they even hit the trail,” he said.
Jackson said she’s excited to see the kiosks once the artwork is installed, sometime this fall. Methow Arts put out a request to artists across the region and selected the designs of two Twisp artists for the benches of the two already-built kiosks.
Jessica Dietz is making bird wings out of copper that will fit into the kiosk at the Winthrop trailhead, near an ice skating rink, and Barry Stromberger is fashioning a piece with aspen boughs for the Mazama kiosk.
“These will provide a welcoming stop for hikers and skiers,” said Jackson.
Jackson said artists are excited about the project both because it’s an opportunity for more public art and because the kiosks will hold information not just about skiing and trails, but about local art. She said her organization plans to create a map to show all of the places in Okanogan County where people can go to see art, including galleries and outdoor art.