Music & Art in the Forest 2023

Join The Sustainability Project on Sunday, October 1st, from 10am – 2pm for our Annual “Music and Art in the Forest” Open House Celebration at the Emerson Brook Forest Center, 57 Emerson Brook Drive, in Gilsum.
This year’s event features local craft and art exhibits, as well as play and nature activities. The event begins with a welcome and Abenaki Blessing by Ko’asek Abenaki Chief Paul Bunnell. From 10:30-noon participants can choose to partake in several activities including: a slow moving sensory mindfulness exploration of the forest with certified Forest Therapy Guide, Brian Bishoff; learning about core routines for connecting with nature led by Lenoir Law and Valerie Piedmont; or sparking an imaginative flow of nature-based writing Diana Damato.
Throughout the day, participants are invited to share spontaneous music, poetry and movement, while we offer ongoing tours of TSP’s multi-purpose building under construction. The structure, inspired by nature, enables TSP to host an array of inclusive, multigenerational, nature-based programs, workshops and retreats. It will also house the museum quality artwork of Susan O’Hara as well as a rotating exhibit of local artists and nature-focused educational displays. Due to construction, our wheelchair accessible trails are limited but visitors are welcome to explore the Center’s gardens and trails as much as they are able.
Bring a picnic lunch for a noon time concert with Bruce Elliot on Sax. At the end of the day there will be a tour of the Clay Heads exhibit at Valerie’s nearby house, which is accessible by a ramp.
While there is no admission fee, donations to support The Sustainability Project’s endeavors are gratefully accepted. The Sustainability Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization, promotes a love of nature, environmental stewardship, caring communities and ways of living that deepen our understanding of the interconnected web of life. For more information email or call 603-209-7272.

The Sustainability Project is curating an extensive collection of sculptures by the late Susan O’Hara. Her remarkable body of work deserves widespread recognition and their journey to great visibility is beginning in the Emerson Brook Forest. 

  • Wave of Desire clay sculpture
Susan O'Hara

More about Sue…

I was born in Belgium and came to the U.S. at the age of 11. Art was always an important part of my life as I was growing up. My teen years were spent in New York City where I graduated from the High School of Music and Art with a major in sculpture, but it was not until many years later that my interest in clay sculpture really developed, and eventually progressed to stone and wire. Although mostly self-taught, my education as a clay sculptor has been a combination of local Art Center classes, where I learned different techniques of using and building with clay, some workshops and friendships that nurtured my creative urge. Over the years I have lived in different areas of the U.S. and with each move have met special people involved in the art scene, learning new techniques and inspirations for my art. Since coming to Florida in 2003 and participating in sculpture classes at the Hillsborough Community College in Ybor, has helped me to expand my knowledge even further, in clay, wire, stone carving, and other sculptural techniques, which has greatly improved my artistic expression. In 2012 I won a grant from the Hillsborough Arts Council to purchase a kiln, which has enabled me to make major changes and improvements in the final clay product by experimenting with stains and glazes.

Sculpting has always been my passion and clay my inspiration. The recently learned new techniques in sculpture produced a new start for my artistic expression. The sculptures I create interpret the human form in a primitive modern style and depend upon how I feel at the time of creation. The human body has always intrigued me and the suggestion of a face or body seems to appear whenever I work with clay, and with stone as well. It is amazing to me how the female torso can be transformed in so many different ways, depending upon how I feel when I sit down in my studio. Faces also intrigue me – faces of serenity, sadness, contemplation, and expectation – depending upon my mood at the time of creation. I am happiest when I can carve stone or manipulate clay into an effective expression of my mood and seeing the many ways my ideas develop into a sculpture.

For more information please email or call Valerie at 603-209-7272.