A free walk in the woods with artwork

CEED fundraiser with exhibition opens this month

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Formations of beauty, imagination, and whimsy along a lush wooded half-mile trail, with an occasional bird peeking through the leaves will be on view along with lyrical poetry when the Center for Environmental Education and Discovery offers its free “Sculpture on the Trail” event on Saturday, Aug. 20.

For those so inclined, an opportunity to draw, paint, or write on a 10-foot “Y” creation by Dan Welden can be yours. Members from South Bay Art Association, CEED, and Inspiration Plus will be available for guidance.

Later in the afternoon, boogie to a jazz band with a contribution of $25 that benefits CEED.

And the artists’ work. Wow!

Welden is founder and board member of Inspiration Plus Foundation. He is the original pioneer of alternative printmaking since 1970 and has collaborated with the likes of Willem de Kooning and other art greats. He’s been hailed internationally with residencies in China, Belgium, Cuba, Peru, New Zealand and other countries. But the 16 other artists have heft, as do the poets. More about that later.

So how did this collaboration with CEED emerge?

CEED executive director Sally Wellinger was led to Welden by Melissa Greenberger, of the Long Island Community Foundation. Greenberger, in the past, has done pro bono legal work for CEED. Greenberger’s advice regarding an event? “You have to reach out to Dan Welden.”

So, Wellinger contacted him and set out to meet with the Sag Harbor artist in February.

“He has the coolest house and built it himself,” Wellinger recalled. “He has a spiral staircase and an anatomical heart in the center of his home by one of the artists we’re featuring, Rocio Snyder. Plus, there are sculptures on his grounds.”

Dazzled, it was a kind of Disneyland of art. “Everywhere you looked, there was something fabulous,” Wellinger said.

They talked, and a couple of weeks later, Welden got back to Wellinger.

Voila! Community sculpture on CEED’s nature trail took form. “We’re co-sponsoring the event with him,” said Wellinger, noting board member Jennifer Vorbach’s role. Mindy Kronenberg, who sits on the Inspiration Plus board, is curating the poetry.

Besides Welden’s sculpture, the half-mile trail will display works by well-known locals as well as others. The artists are Scott Bluedorn, Pam Brown, John Cino, Gregory Corn, John DiNaro, David Elze, Justin Greenwald, Michael Ince, Eliot Lable, Elyzabeth Meade, Katia Read, Cindy Roe, Rocio Snyder, Jay Sylvester, Tonito Valderrama, and John Wittenberg.

Participating poets are Nancy Keating, Daniel Kerr, Mindy Kronenberg, Mankh (Walter Harris III), Tom Stock, and Pramila Venkateswaran.

When the call went out for all the artists, Wellinger said that the response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. “The only people not able to make it, didn’t have enough lead time,” Wellinger said. “Mindy got a great response from the poets.”

“Sculpture on the Trail” is a free event, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at CEED, located at 287 South Country Road in Brookhaven hamlet. (The exhibit will remain on view at CEED through Sept. 18.) At 3:30 p.m., the band Natural Causes will play.

“It’s Carl Safina’s band,” said Wellinger of the well-known ecologist and author of several books about the human relationship with the natural world, in keeping with the environmental beauty of the day.

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