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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of August 13 - 19, 2003


‘The Whole Salmon’
explores a river
and its people

Express Arts Editor

As compounds go, water is about as simple as it gets—just two little hydrogen atoms stuck to a single oxygen atom. And yet, this stuff, of which we are mostly comprised, brings great complexity into the world.

In Idaho, for instance, an irreversible and complex series of events begins once the snow of winter begins to come off the Sawtooth Mountains and finds its way into the tiny channel that becomes the 406-mile-long Salmon River. The chain of events expands outwards into ecosystems, the realm of economics, and into social and cultural domains. And, of course, as the river affects us, so do we affect it.

In an effort to understand this relationship between river and humans, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts presents "The Whole Salmon." It is a multidisciplinary project opening Friday, Aug. 15, at the Center’s gallery.

Kristin Poole, artistic director of the Center, commissioned four artists from four different fields to present their perspectives on one of the largest wild rivers in the United States.

Visual artist Tony Foster, journalist and essayist Mark Trahant, photographer Terry Evans and composer Evan Ziporyn spent time along the river last summer and fall. Each was asked to explore different elements of the river. Through images, photographic and painted, words and music, the four create a composite understanding of this force of life cutting through the heart of Idaho.

Artistic director Poole commented on the project: "The Salmon River is not only a compelling physical presence, but it is also symbolic—exemplifying the contradictions and controversies that make up the American West in the 21st century. The river and its native fish have been the cause of both debate and celebration, taken for granted by some and scrutinized by others. We hoped that the focus on this resource would stimulate debate about how we honor and use the resources we have."

Watercolor artist Foster traveled the entire length of the river last summer, completing a painting each day. His mission was to create a geographic and topographic record of the river today.

Evans spent time with community members in the river towns of Stanley, Salmon and White Bird. She photographed them at work and play along the river.

Ziporyn, for his part, composed a piece of music in response to his experiences on the river. The piece, written in four movements, incorporates natural sounds recorded on the river.

Writer Trahant brought his Native American heritage to his contribution. Trahant, in essay form, explored his past relationship to the river as a Native American, as well as his perception of the current day relationship between the river and its people.

The exhibit will be in the Center gallery through Friday, Oct. 31. From there it will travel to Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and the Prichard Art Museum in Moscow, Idaho.

In conjunction with the visual, literal and audio components of the project, the Center will offer a range of lectures, classes and events throughout the two and one-half month show. First up will be a discussion by Terry Evans Tuesday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.