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Forest Service, Culture, and Community

Inspirations from the forest


When you enter a forest,
     what do you see?
When you are climbing a mountain,
     what do you hear?
When you are hiking through grasslands,
     what do you feel?

This exhibition explores the ways our national forests—timberlands, grasslands, mountains, and waterways—have served and continue to serve as inspirations to those who create works of art.

No matter who you are, or where you live, you can be inspired by your environment. Many of the artists and writers featured in this exhibition have drawn from their experiences in the outdoors to transform natural materials into splendid objects of beauty.

As you walk through the exhibition, focus on how artists and writers

  • draw inspiration from the world of nature,
  • tell a story through poetry, art, and music, and
  • learn from the past and share their traditions.

This exhibition, Inspirations from the Forest, was produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.