Summer Art Fellows 2018

Art Fellowship Highlights of 2018: Exhibits, Reflections and Art!

We are thrilled to share each fellow’s artwork and their passion for deep ecology, exploring how we communicate and advocate for the plants. Poems, charcoal, photography and pure magic come to life through space and time when we allow art to consume the day. UpS’ Deep Ecology Artists in Residence Fellowship Program participants for summer 2018 included Jesse Lovasco (herbalist/artist from Vermont), Audra Phillips (artist and midwife from Ohio), and Sara Haley (art teacher from Florida).

Jesse Lovasco



Poems come from the dome in the ceiling of my head
having it slightly opened so air seeps in, but not rain.
No soggy words, but crisp and unexpected metaphors
instead of answers to prayers, questions about flowers.
Not just any flowers but those from medicinal plants.
How to capture them with color,
execute the lines, stimulate memory.
How to make it stick so that walking in the field
one recognizes wild ginger, goldenseal, ginseng.
There are hundreds of plants that never reach our tongue
in speech or by the spoonful. only hope
that the purpose of my stay is to say something ancient in a new way
for the children of my children and anyone who will listen.

Audra Philips


Photo by Audra PhillipsThe Sanctuary holds a special place in my heart. I first visited 20 years ago, when a friend invited me to sit in on a class taught by Rebecca Wood and Paul Strauss. I remember driving down McCumber Rd and feeling a change in the air and a sweet energy emanating from the woods. Over the weekend on the land, we learned about Paul’s incredible reverence for the plants and land, and his vision and hard work to create the Sanctuary. We experienced the beauty and magical spirit of the place. I have been drawn back to the land and surrounding community many times since that first visit. It always feels like a return to home and seeing the plants is like greeting old friends. Over the years, I have also come to realize the richness and diversity of plant life at the Sanctuary, make it a truly unique place in the world.

I have a simple question that I would like to explore during an artist residency at the Sanctuary. What, how, or why does the land at the Sanctuary feel different? I wonder is it the abundance of healing plants? Has the creation of a Sanctuary and the nurturing of the land by humans, created space for the energy of the forest to thrive? Or is it something else? I would like to ask the forest these questions and spend time listening. Listening and seeing what the forest wants to show me or would like me to hear, and allowing that to inspire the art.

Katherine Ziff

Katherine Ziff exhibitKatherine Ziff, a fellow from last year exhibited her experience at Wells (Albany) Public Library during the month of August titled: An Artist’s Reflections: United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary, Rutland OH – Paintings by Katherine Ziff


The art exhibited here is part of my work as the first United Plant Savers Deep Ecology Artist Fellow. For the last year, I have spent time walking the trails of the UpS Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland and making art in response to what I saw and experienced there. The scribbly looking drawings in this exhibit are blind contour drawings, in which I draw with my eyes on a plant, never looking at the paper or my pencil until I am done. This teaches me to really see all the details and contours of a plant and trains my eyes and hands to work together. The more colorful prints are touch drawings, an art modality originated by Deborah Koff-Chapin. Technically a monotype printmaking process in which you use your hands to create images, I experience touch drawing as a knowing of the heart. This work allowed me to experience the extraordinary energy of the UpS Botanical Sanctuary, where endangered medicinal plants flourish in the forests. The Sanctuary’s meadows, which express the beauty and generosity of nature, have been reclaimed from mining damage through tremendous and devoted human effort. You can see more of my UpS Fellowship work on the online journal that I kept called Learning from the Sanctuary