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If we are alienated from nature, then we are alienated from ourselves. — Linda Saccoccio (Artist)


I found a / weed / that had a // mirror in it / and that / mirror // looked in at / a mirror / in // me that / had a / weed in it. — A.R. Ammons (Poet)

September 21 - 23, 2019

3-days of Relaxation, Reflection, and Creativity

in the Red Wing Bluffs

About the Red Wing Zen Project

The Red Wing Zen Project (RWZP) is an interdisciplinary art project that seeks to reconnect people to Nature through shinrin yoku or forest bathing, a Japanese practice of immersing oneself in the forest, where the focus is on connection and relationship. Because of our culture’s ever-growing reliance and focus on technology, of being plugged-in, we have come to see ourselves as separate from Nature versus within and a part of Nature.

The Red Wing Zen Project wishes to thank ArtReach for serving as the host organization for the workshop and exhibition.


This activity is made possible by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council in cooperation with a private foundation.

A 3-day Arts Workshop in Nature on the Red Wing Bluffs

The 3-day immersive outdoor arts workshop will be held September 21-23 within the City of Red Wing.  Days 1 & 2 will begin with shinrin yoku or forest bathing, a Japanese practice of immersing oneself in the forest, coming back into the body, freeing the mind of everyday concerns. Thus we reconnect with Nature and our native creative abilities. Forest walks will be casual (not hiking) and accessible on the Sumac Trail in Red Wing. All arts materials will be supplied. Participants may use their phones to record inspirational images/moments. We will then collect participant images to be used as a slide show as part of the exhibition.

Cost: $25 for 3-days of Relaxation, Reflection, and Creativity

This workshop is open to anyone—arts experience NOT a prerequisite.

Full-time workshop participation limited to 15

(organizers may allow some part-time participation or add additional workshops depending on interest)

To register, contact Christopher Burawa at or at 931-266-7555


Day 1 (September 21, 9AM to 3PM): Forest bathing and creative writing workshop with Christopher Burawa

Participants will meet up at the Sumac Trailhead, located at the end of Sumac Drive (at the T-intersection of Red Oak Avenue & Sumac Drive). There is no parking lot but street parking is permitted.













Forest bathing is not hiking. We will move slowly through the forest trail for approximately 1.5 hours, concentrating on our breath and focusing on our senses, observing, and periodically gathering to share what we have noticed. At the summit of the bluff we will begin a guided workshop to create a haibun, a Japanese hybrid literary form made up of a one-paragraph prose reflection (the theme of which does not have to be about the forest bathing experience) and a haiku poem. Please pack a lunch or snacks.

Day 2 (September 22, 9AM to 3PM): Forest bathing at Sumac Trailhead followed by studio work with Richard Stephens @ ArtReach

Participants will meet up at the Sumac Trailhead and begin the second workshop with forest bathing, gathering items on the ground to bring with them to ArtReach (436 W 3rd St, Red Wing). Richard Stephens will guide the workshop participants in sumi-e painting at ArtReach after the walk. Please pack a lunch or snacks.



Day 3 (September 23, 5PM to 7PM): Exhibition, reading, and reception @ ArtReach

Participants will meet up at ArtReach at 5PM to set up their artwork with Richard Stephens for the reading and exhibition. This pop-up exhibition will be followed by a Q&A with attendees followed by a reception. If a workshop participant cannot attend the event, Christopher Burawa will read her/his haibun at the reading. Workshop participants can take their artwork and haibun home with them at the end of the event.


What exactly is shinrin yoku or forest bathing?

The term shinrin yoku is Japanese for "forest bathing," and describes what forests do when we walk through them as the trees shower themselves with phytoncides. Phytoncides are chemically similar to essential oils produced by plants and are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and prevent plants from rotting.  When humans inhale phytoncides, they prompt the human body to produce Natural Killer (NK) cells, which are special white blood cells that can detect cancerous and infected cells in our bodies. Forest Bathing, however, has much more subtle and immediate benefits and aids in reducing stress (specifically cortisol), increases cognitive function, and promotes creativity.

What makes forest bathing different from a walk in the woods?

In forest bathing, participants are guided through sensory invitations that will allow them to connect with nature in their own way. There is a specific sequence to the invitations but it is entirely up to the participant to act on any invitation. If during our time in the forest, your body wants to do something else than follow the invitation, please feel free to do so. There is no right way or wrong way to engage with nature during our time together. After each invitation we will meet up and form a a circle to share what we noticed during the invitation. Participants will be asked to speak spontaneously and from the heart and also to listen to each other with their hearts. Silence is also a form of sharing so no one should feel obliged to speak.

Do I need to be an artist or have an artistic background to participate in the workshop?

Participants DO NOT have to be artists. In fact, this project's goal is to illustrate, through direct experience, that there is no mystery to the artistic experience. We are all innately creative. While individuals with previous artist training or backgrounds are welcome, the vision of this workshop is to bring everyone back into connection with Nature and to awaken artistic expression.

What is haibun and why is this form relevant to the project?

Haibun is a Japanese literary form developed by the great haiku poet, Matsuo Basho, to document his travels in his book, Narrow Travels to the Interior, which is an admixture of prose and haiku. Contemporary writers have gone beyond the travelogue and adapted the form for autobiographical prose, recording memories, documenting dreams, and to create short sketches of a person, place, event, or object. The haiku need not address the same theme of the prose and, in fact, creates an interesting tension or association for the prose.

What is sumi-e painting?

Within the Japanese painting tradition, sumi-e means "black ink painting" involving painting with a brush on white paper. This style emphasizes the beauty that can arise from a single brush stroke. The themes associated with sumi-e are typically drawn from nature.

Why was the Sumac Trail chosen for these arts activities?

The Sumac Trail was chosen because it is wide, is relatively level (i.e., is not steep and has no switchbacks) which allows for accessibility for individuals with wheelchairs or who have physical challenges, and is close to ArtReach, where the visual arts workshop will take place and the final exhibition. Also, one of the main focuses of this project is to illustrate that the Red Wing bluff trail system, within the city limits, allows for deep, immersive forest experiences.


It sounds as if we might be on our feet for long periods? What about individuals with physical limitations?

The forest bathing walk will run about 1.5 hours. Forest bathing allows individuals to sit down and reflect at any point during the workshop. The forest walk is not curated, meaning that there are places that the organizers have chosen for everyone to focus on. We will be slowly moving along the trail and will gather at several points for a few minutes solely to reflect on what we have experienced. For individuals who cannot stand for long periods or have difficulty sitting on the ground, please bring a camp or trail stool with you.

What should I bring with me to the outdoor workshops?

Whether there is fair or rainy weather, we highly recommend a broad-brimmed hat, water bottle, and sun screen. Rain is not a deterrent to forest bathing, so please bring a waterproof rain jacket or poncho. Even though the trail is relatively level, those with mobility issues might consider bringing trekking poles. Forest bathing requires standing or crouching and sitting on the ground; so please feel free to bring a camping or trail tri-leg stool, should performing these postures prove difficult or uncomfortable. Ticks and mosquitoes are always a factor in outdoor activities; therefore, you might consider bringing an insect repellent with DEET or an essential oil mixture in a spray bottle with lemon eucalyptus. We will also have these products on hand before the walk.

Will we have the workshops if there is bad weather?

The weather in September is historically dry and pleasant, with daytime temperatures in the upper 60s. That said, we will monitor the weather forecast for the two outdoor workshop days and will notify participants if the forecast is for severe weather. Rain will not necessarily be a determining factor in holding the workshops; a gentle or slow rain can be very enjoyable and beneficial. Please be prepared to bring a poncho or rain gear. In the event of a significant storm front, which includes thunder and winds, the workshops will be rescheduled. Should any individual be unable to attend a rescheduled event, her/his registration fee of $25 will be refunded.


Christopher Burawa is the author of The Small Mystery of Lapses, which won the 2006 Cleveland State University Press First Book Prize. He was born in Reykjavik, Iceland. He is a poet, translator, arts entrepreneur, ordained Zen Buddhist monk, and forest therapy guide in practicum. He received an M.A. in English Language and Literature with an emphasis on Old English prosody and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing with an emphasis in poetry from Arizona State University. Burawa’s poetry reflects his interests in the how nature, the sciences, contemplative practice, and mythology reflect our relationships to community and the world.


Richard Stephens is a renowned Minneapolis printmaker and instructor who explores regional landmarks in his work. He combines linocut, letterpress, hand-tinting, and sumi-e techniques to produce his prints, which tend to retain an immediate, sketch-like quality. Richard publishes artist books under his Super Session Press imprint ( often in collaboration with other artists and writers and produces an annual limited-edition calendar that also serves as a document of the artist’s most recent subject matter. His work is collected by the Minnesota Historical Society and, in recent years, has been included in the Fine Art Exhibition at the Minnesota State Fair. Richard is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and teaches printmaking at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis.

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