Shedding Light on the Working Forest

Opening Reception, April 4, 7 - 8:30pm

at the Warren H. Corning Visitor Center


The exhibit will be on display starting April 4 through the beginning of June.

Free for members, with admission for nonomembers.


The Holden Arboretum will host the traveling exhibition Shedding Light on the Working Forest, which celebrates the landscape of the working forest and the voices of those who have honed skills into a livelihood there.


Shedding Light draws on the artistic friendship of a painter, Kathleen Kolb, and a poet, Verandah Porche, who are committed to subjects that have been largely overlooked by the arts.  Kolb evokes what is solid, luminous, yet ephemeral in the scenes she gathers and painstakingly paints. She talks about how a moment of “emotional ignition” kindles a work of art. As a writing partner, Porche befriends, questions and listens, to unearth and preserve the poetry embedded in lived experience. She calls this process “finding the verse in conversation.”


Despite public concern about climate change and sustainability, many people are unaware of what actual work goes on in the forest around them. Vital ecosystem services provided by the forest are often poorly understood.  Shedding Light portrays the unseen work of loggers, foresters, mill operators, artisans and others through the eyes of a skilled artist. Those portrayed describe and reflect on their experience, serving as ambassadors to the public.  Though the public relies on the working forest, skilled labor is rarely portrayed or deeply valued. The voices of the loggers, sawyers, and others who work in the forest are often absent from conversations about interdependence and care of the planet. The project provides diverse opportunities for the public to consider their own relationship to the forest.


Holden Forests and Gardens strives to promote the beauty and importance of trees and other woody plants to create vibrant green communities and native forests within the Great Lakes region. Through the Sherwin Institute for Woodland Management, it provides educational opportunities for owners of property from small urban lots to rural woodlots of 10-15 acres to increase their knowledge of how to properly care for, manage, and utilize their trees for environmental, ecological, social, and economic benefits.


Sponsored by the Stony Point Foundation, Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund, Windham Foundation International Paper Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and Vermont Art Council, Vermont Arts Endowment Fund, a fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, the A. Johnson Lumber Co. as well as a number of anonymous donors.