Saturday, July 20, 2019
Loos with Views Aim to Deter Vandalism
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Susan Giannettino took this picture of the delightful artwork inside an outhouse along the Salmon River east of Stanley.
 
Saturday, June 29, 2019
 

Loos with Views Aim to Deter Vandalism

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTOS BY SUSAN GIANNETTINO and IDAHO FISH AND GAME

The newest venue for perusing art is—ahem—in the toilet.

 
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Nicolette Maw’s moose inhabits the Harrops Bridge restroom along the Teton River.
 

Consider the outhouse tour of fine art the Pee and See Tour.

The pretty privies can be found at boating and fishing access points along the Salmon River between Challis and North Fork and along the Teton River in Eastern Idaho.

Hailey resident Susan Giannettino recently stepped into one enroute to a hiking and biking vacation in North Idaho and was amazed to find art, rather than graffiti, on the walls. She found the art so engaging that nothing would do but for Giannettino to summon her husband for a look.

"I was just happy because it looked as if they had just been cleaned. And then I looked inside and saw they were even better than I could have imagined!" said Giannettino.

 
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Helen Seay’s sandhill crane can be found in the Teton Creek restroom.
 

The pretty privies are part of Idaho Fish and Game’s bid to deter vandalism.

“Typical outhouse artwork is not usually a good thing for us. It takes a lot of time and money to fix vandalism problems and cover them up,” said Darin Schneider, recreation site maintenance foreman for Idaho Fish and Game. “Plus, the wildlife murals showcase the talent of local artists.”

Each restroom is painted with a unique scene meant to represent the beauty and wildlife of the surrounding area.

Artists Helen Seay and Nicolette Maw were commissioned by non-government organizations in the Teton Valley to create the wildlife murals there with paint and blank restroom walls supplied by Idaho Fish and Game.

 
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Helen Seay’s artwork graces the Bates Bridge restroom along the Teton River in Eastern Idaho.
 

Those answering nature’s call can see the artwork inside as they approach the outhouses.

With donations supplied by such partners as Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Teton County, Friends of the Teton River, Teton Regional Land Trust and others, the art projects cost the same as it would to paint the walls white again, said Schneider.

The art projects along the Salmon River began with Idaho Fish and Game employee Caryll McConnell. She gathered together 14 students to paint a mural on the exterior of a restroom at Kid’s Creek Pond in Salmon following complaints that the building was unsightly.

Next up was a bull elk and wildflowers painted by members of the Lemhi Art Guild of Salmon on the exterior walls of a restroom at Elk Bend boating area. They enhanced the interior with bold caricatures of sockeye and Chinook salmon.

 
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This exterior pond at Kid’s Pond near Salmon launched the idea of using art to beautify outhouses.
 

Summer boaters and steelhead anglers will enjoy a sunrise over the Bitterroot Mountains at the Carmen Bridge four miles north of Salmon.  And additional bathrooms at Lemhi Hole, Bobcat Gulch and Red Rock have been transformed with woodpeckers, raccoons, mountain lions, a skunk, rattlesnake, black bear, bighorn ram, osprey and kingfisher.

Idaho Fish and Game approached the Challis Arts Council with the idea of beautifying the outhouses in the Challis area.

McConnell said she hopes the original works of art will promote a sense of pride and ownership in the facilities.

“It’s been rewarding and fun, a win-win approach for everyone,” she added.

 

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