Unique property inspires local artist By Colin Anderson
For nearly three decades, you could find the works of artist Lori Salisbury in galleries across Colorado and Oregon, and at major art shows in New York City and Los Angeles. Today, the bulk of her art is located on a rural property above Jewel Lake, near Sagle.
She’s spent the last five years renovating and fixing up a dilapidated cabin and outbuildings, with the goal of being inspired by her surroundings and sharing the space with other artists and creative types. “The cabin was actually pretty scary at first,” she recalled. “There were bats living in it, the roof was falling out, puddles on the floor, but there was so much character here I just couldn’t’ tear it down.”
Lori’s journey with art began at the age of 7. Her grandparents owned a shop in downtown Pocatello and lived above it. “My grandmother was always painting, and she got me going. I knew right then I wanted to be an artist,” she shared.
Lori’s passion continued through high school, and she thought art school was the next step. She attended an orientation at the school and quickly decided that the rules and structure were not in tune with her own creativity. She moved to Colorado to be inspired by nature. By 21 she was teaching her own classes, and shortly thereafter she opened her first gallery. She would operate as a professional artist and run multiple galleries over the next 25 years, but when her kids grew up and went out on their own, it was time for a new challenge. She bought a camper and lived a nomadic life around the West, with stops in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and various communities around Oregon. The camper eventually found its way to the panhandle, and when she discovered the property and 20 acres, she knew she had found her happy place.
Despite having minimal experience in building and remodel, Lori has transformed the old cabin from uninhabitable to a living piece of art. It’s taken her five years to get to this point, and the property now includes a main home, a guest cabin, and an additional artist space, as well as a beautiful garden. Lori lived in the camper the first two years of the remodel and had no running water or electricity. “It’s amazing though, the more I clean it up, the more I’ve fallen in love with it, the home feels like it’s alive and breathing again.”
Now that her space is livable, Lori is beginning once again to focus on her artwork. She paints and sculpts on property, with the peaceful and natural setting providing the backdrop and inspiration. Connecting with nature is evident in her works, which all tie together. “My work tells the story of the importance of the balance of nature and how important it is to watch over and protect it so it will be here for the future generations. This is the thing that I am most passionate about,” Lori said.
Lori dreams of eventually opening up a gallery in Sandpoint but, in the meantime, is happy displaying her art around town, and also bringing others to the property for their own inspiration. While the cabins are small (one doesn’t even have power), people from all over are eager to book a few nights to escape from their normal routines and find peace and inspiration in the quiet of the property. “I’ve had guests tell me that just spending a couple of nights out here has changed their lives forever. That has transformed me and makes me want to put even more effort into my own art.”
While she’s not there yet, Lori plans on eventually hosting retreats or art classes at the property. Whether it’s an 8-foot-tall bronze sculpture, 100-foot-wide wall painting, or one of her many canvas pieces, Lori hopes to inspire others to see the beauty of nature around them and to keep it wild. “The spirit of Mother Earth and the Creator of it all can be seen and felt in all my pieces. I’m always completely fascinated by the great mystery of it all, and my creativity reflects a unique experience and expression not common in the world.”
You can see Lori’s collection on her website, LoriSalisburyGallery.com.