BELFAST — On Friday evening, June 3, Waterfall Arts opens its doors to celebrate the launch of the new solo exhibition from artist Karen Olson, “The Embrace: Forest Bathing, Interconnectedness, and Interpersonal Relationships.”

“Self-portrait” by Hope artist Karen Olson. Photo by Karen Olson

Olson, who lives in Hope, is a lens-based artist working at the intersection of human emotion and the natural world. In her figurative and nature-inspired work, she uses concept-based projects to explore the human-nature connection and its role in fostering mental health and communication. Olson seeks an open dialog with subjects such as grief, trauma, empathy and forest bathing. She illustrates these multi-sensory experiences with two and three-dimensional works.

On the night of the exhibition opening, the community art center also hosts its season kickoff from 5 to 8 p.m. with a wide array of activities for all people to enjoy, including an immersive All Ages Art Happening — “Stories Aglow: A Night of Shadow Puppet Theatre” — on the front lawn. All four of the building’s community studios (printmaking, ceramics, photography darkroom, and glassblowing) will be open with artists and demonstrations, and the Life Drawing group will have a pop-up exhibit and live model for drop-in figure drawing. Coastal Mountains Land Trust will unveil its new partnership with Waterfall Arts, Art Gone WILD, and Belfast Community Radio will open its production studios for tours and broadcasting. Uproot Pie Company will be selling wood-fired pizzas and Marshall Wharf Brewing Company will provide the beer. The event is free and all are welcome.

In addition to the exhibition, Olson is teaching two workshops: “Creative Editing for Photography” ($55-$75) on Thursday, June 9, and “Paper Sculpture Techniques” ($105-$150) on Thursday, June 16. In “Creative Editing for Photography,” participants will learn to edit using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. In “Paper Sculpture Techniques,” participants will use Japanese and Korean papers and techniques to achieve ethereal sculptural forms.

Both workshop offerings — like many of Waterfall Arts programs — are made accessible and as affordable as possible using a tiered-pricing structure. Scholarships are also available. More information and registration for the workshops can be found on the Waterfall Arts website.

On Saturday, June 18, at 10 a.m. at the Head of the Tide Trail in Belfast, Waterfall Arts and Coastal Mountains Land Trust partner for an Artist Talk with Olson. Olson will share her experiences and processes behind her exhibition “The Embrace.” She will speak about how she interacts with the forest, engaging all the senses, allowing herself to become fully immersed and part of the conversation. She will offer prompts to express your own experience creatively and artistically. The event is free and all ages are welcome.

To learn more about the artist, visit For more information about Coastal Mountains Land Trust and the Head of Tide Trail, visit

Launched in 2000, Waterfall Arts is a community arts center that offers resources to arts enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. The public is welcome to engage in the arts through classes, exhibitions, art events, performances, public art projects, open studios (in clay, glass, print, and darkroom photography) and more. For more information, visit, call 207-338-2222 , or contact Chris Battaglia at

Collage of images and paper sculpture by artist Karen Olson, among the works exhibiting at Waterfall Arts in the summer exhibition “The Embrace.”