A lifelong nature enthusiast, artist and arts therapy advocate—one could say that the Firesoul-road was paved early on Emily Kohlenstein.
Currently serving as the Exhibitions Coordinator for the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Emily serves many curatorial roles for the arts center—working to ensure thematic consistency across all spaces, both inside and out.
On the Maryland Hall campus resides a beautiful green space, call the Founder’s Green. The centerpiece is a Sacred Place labyrinth that features an artist’s circle—a rotating gallery of sculptures framed by elm trees and benches. It is here that Emily envisions not only the current exhibitions, but also community programming—ways to creatively welcome and engage visitors and neighbors. Outdoor performances, yoga, canned good food drives, plein air painting, outreach and summer camp activities are some of the events Emily has piloted in this Sacred Place.
Between events, Emily delights in seeing people walking the labyrinth. All ages—young and old—participating in the ages-old act of “walking meditation”.
To Emily, the best part of her role as Firesoul involves the journals. Having the opportunity to read the handwritten entries that chronicle, first-hand, the effect that the space has on people who visit. It’s truly moving.
To us at Nature Sacred, we love seeing the confluence of nature and art—fused together in ways that encourage us step outside our everyday hustle and see the world differently. Even in small doses. From here, we emerge restored, maybe healed a little. Perhaps we leave with a new perspective, or see things through a different, refreshed lens.
My past experiences researching art as therapy at the Maryland Institute College of Art and my passion for being active and spending time outdoors all inspire my ideas for how to interact with the space.
Photo credit: Maureen Porto.