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Wild Goose Farm Shows the Power of Community-Centered Sustainability (And What it Means for You)

Jun 08, 2017 02:55AM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger

Gallery: Wild Goose Farm [15 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Erica L. Shames

 

Under the tutelage of David and Kathy Kristjanson-Gural, the Lewisburg-area community has participated in cutting-edge projects to demonstrate the viability of growing local, organic, affordable food sustainably on Wild Goose Farm, the couple’s homestead located six miles outside Lewisburg.

Through their experiences with food-related projects locally, and in Costa Rica and Western Massachusetts, the Kristjanson-Gurals utilized project-learning to teach the importance of sustainability. But their mission at Wild Goose Farm goes beyond.

This family-owned and -operated membership-organization is an experiment in learning and teaching about healthful and sustainable lifestyle practices, and shifting our consciousness from convenience to regeneration.   

“This struck us as a great remedy for the angst we feel about the fact that the planet and the climate are changing, and it doesn’t look like our leaders are going to do anything about it very soon,” said David, Professor of Economics and Senior Fellow, Social Justice College, Bucknell University.


How this plays out

Under the sustainability umbrella, activities on the farm have multifaceted objectives: support a transition to green living; undo consumerism and classism; connect with nature; integrate artistic expression; naturally support health and wellbeing; demonstrate social enterprise; empower young people; and learn together.

“The questions became: how can we move from a place of passive acceptance of a danger to actively doing something, however small, however seemingly insignificant” explained David.

Chickens raised on the farm are pastured, yielding healthier eggs with higher Omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit heart health and normalize and regulate cholesterol triglyceride levels. Photo credit Michael Li

After reading Last Child in the Woods, for example, the work about the divide between children and the outdoors by child advocacy expert Richard Louv, Kathy—whose background includes progressive education, resettlement work with refugees, parenting, homeschooling her children, community organizing and a love of play and the outdoors—was inspired to make the woods surrounding the farm more inviting to families and young children. She engaged Bucknell’s Management 101 students, led by Daniella Kotowitz, to initiate an Interactive Play Trail, a 25-minute path through the woods designed with a number of places along the trail to engage with a piece of art, build a structure using natural materials, or play on a colorful long-roped swing.

“Nature has so much to offer us; a walk in the woods slows us down, reduces stress and reminds us of the pleasure of simple things,” said Kathy. 

In fact, the forest surrounding the farm is poised to play a starring role in the farm’s future. The Kristjanson-Gurals secured a grant to hire sustainability experts to write An Environmental Quality Incentives Program (Eqip) Grant for the Restoration of a Privately Owned Woodland Properties. If secured, the grant would provide funding to eliminate invasive plants and replace them with food-bearing ones—fruit, nuts, berries, medicinal herbs, perennial vegetables—to depict food-growing possibilities.

“It would involve a 10-year commitment, and a labor-intensive process, but one that, as we draw people in, allows people to begin to see the possibilities of growing their own food, of turning their yard into something that is both beautiful and productive,” said David.  

In its full implementation, this philosophy would include the incorporation, more specifically, of paw-paws, hearty kiwi, goji and goose berries, and even grafting English walnuts onto black walnut root stock to yield a delicious nut that’s easier to shell.

“Paw-Paws don’t last long on the shelf, so you don’t see it in stores,” said David. “But if you plant it in your yard, you’d have this supply of delicious fruit part of the year. Berries grow prolifically, and require little care. Hearty kiwi berries are about the size of a large grape and highly prolific. They’re all beautiful plants that also are edible.”


Overcoming hurdles

 

One obstacle challenging the acceptance of sustainable ways is the class consciousness associated with consumption. “The consumerist mentality has created a stigma around doing things frugally,” laments David. “We get our status from being able to demonstrate we can do things that are wasteful, like expanses of lawn that don’t feed anyone. So part of it is changing our class-consciousness about how our practices are really self-defeating.”

Another facet of farm-related activities is the depiction of new ways of thinking about things, including living spaces. Last fall, Bucknell’s environmental humanities class built a green micro-shelter with timber sustainably harvested from farm-trees felled by Hurricane Sandy. The trees were taken to local lumber mill and cut into rough planks. A project designed to demonstrate the viability of the micro-shelter movement, the building utilizes a sustainable foundation—using packed earth to float the building—and passive solar energy through judicious placement of the structure.

“It’s a rudimentary building, but it demonstrates that we need less living space than we think, and we can curb our expenses by doing so,” said David.    


The younger generation

Passing on sustainable ways to the younger generation is a key goal at the farm, and is assisted by the couple’s two children. Emma, 15, dreams of becoming a professional dancer and moving to New York City, helps Kathy with the summer Youth Theatre/Arts/Food Week, and Rudy, 11, helps with farm tours and caring for the farm’s chickens, dog and cats. During Theatre/Arts/Food Week, 8 to 10 teenagers spend a week creating a theatre piece, immersed in the arts and cooking and eating locally grown food. 

“Participants work in the garden, feed the chickens, take out compost and cook their own breakfast,” said Kathy. “It’s easy for them to see how organic, local foods that don’t have to be shipped reach our plates fresher and more delicious, and don’t depend on fossil fuels.” 

Monthly farm events throughout the growing season showcase local, sustainably-grown organic food, and campfire sing-alongs encourage connections among the farm’s more than 50 members, and the community at large. Ongoing workshops teach skills, include growing organic garlic, sowing seeds, and tree-planting and pruning.

“These events encourage and inspire people to take steps to not just be out in nature, but protect and preserve it by adopting what we call ‘sustainable solutions,’” explained Kathy.

Special events take learning to another level. The Beyond Recycling: Building Sustainable Solutions weekend June 15-17 hosts sustainability experts Johnny and Leah Tewksberry and Rusty Omwer, recent recipient with his wife Claire of a Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) achievement award for their work creating Quiet Herb Farm, a sustainability education center in Western PA, and others. The experts will teach a variety of skills including how to install drip-irrigation to extend the growing season and conserve water—while making growing less labor-intensive.

“We welcome the community to come and see displays of a number of simple, affordable and regenerative solutions for growing nutritious food, using water and energy wisely and living better, as we continue to move into a post-carbon future,” said Kathy. “People can come and see what works for them, and leave with something they can put to use right away—everything from a solar dehydrator to composting techniques.” 

The response to these high-minded ideals has been mixed.

 “The ideas have been embraced enthusiastically by folks who have woken up to the idea that we have to make these changes,” said David. “A lot of people don’t want to admit we’re in a crisis—so we get a fair amount of skepticism. We’ve done enough community organizing to know that we have to persist, and as you persist people catch on.”

“We love having new people get involved in what we’re doing,” adds Kathy. “You don’t need to commit to being 100 percent sustainable! The idea is to learn from each other and find new ways to support rather than harm the natural world.”

Visit SusquehannaLife.com/WebExtras to learn more about Wild Goose Farm.  


If you go

The community-wide Beyond Recycling event takes place Saturday, June 17, at 2 p.m. The Youth Theatre/Arts/Food Week performance is open to the public and takes place Sunday, August 20, at 3 p.m. 

To learn more about workshops, membership in the farm or visiting the farm, visit WildGooseFarm.com.

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    02/28/2018
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    Adobe InDesign DES 154, Monday & Wednesday, January 29 - February 28 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., 1 credit,...


  • Typography for Business: How Type Enhances your Brand WS 92, Thursday, March 1 9 a.m. - 12 p.m...


  • Books Undone

    03/01/2018
    11:00AM — 07:00PM

    Books become the canvas for contemporary artists in this national juried exhibition. Exhibition i...


  • iMAKE

    03/01/2018
    04:30PM — 05:30PM

    This a-la-carte class series offers both art and science projects for children ages 6-12. String ...


  • Intro to Social Media Marketing

    03/01/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Intro to Social Media Marketing SM 101, Tuesday & Thursday, January 30 - March 1 6 p.m. - 9 p.m...


  • Intro to Video Production & Short Film

    03/01/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Intro to Video Production & Short Film DES 178, Thursday, February 1 - April 5 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.,...


  • Design Principles & Typography

    03/01/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Design Principles & Typography DES 150, Thursday, February 1 - April 5 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., 1 credi...


  • The Art of Felting: 2-D Composition

    03/01/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Art of Felting: 2-D Composition CE 239, Thursday, February 1 - March 22 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., $...


  • Oil Painting

    03/01/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Oil Painting CE 169, Thursday, February 1 - March 22 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., $245 Michael Allen Ex...


  • First Friday's at the Museum

    03/02/2018
    10:00AM — 08:00PM

    The museum will be OPEN UNTIL 8p.m. the first Friday of every month with special activities for e...


  • Music Together Preview Class

    03/02/2018
    10:05AM — 11:00AM

    This internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program is led by certified mu...


  • Homework Happy Hour Tutoring

    03/02/2018
    03:00PM — 04:15PM

    Fridays 3-4:15 p.m. during the school year beginning Feb.9th.  Bloomsburg University Education...


  • Culture Cafe- Nepal

    03/02/2018
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Join us for an evening of storytelling, song, tastings, and crafts from cultures around the world...


  • Who would have predicted, when Riverdance exploded into world-wide popularity in 1995, that 22 ye...


  • chttp://engage.pcad.edu/winter2018

    03/03/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Young Artists Academy for Grades 6.7.8.9 YS13, Saturday, January 27 - March 17 10a.m. - 12 p.m....


  • Youth Studio Art I for Grades 1.2.3

    03/03/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Youth Studio Art I for Grades 1.2.3 YS11, Saturday, January 27 - March 17 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., $1...


  • Youth Studio Art II for Grades 4.5

    03/03/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Youth Studio Art II for Grades 4.5 YS12, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, January 27 - March 17 10...


  • Intergenerational Drawing (8 & up)

    03/03/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Intergenerational Drawing (8 & up) CE 189, Saturday, January 27 - March 3 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., $1...


  • Short Story Writing

    03/03/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Short Story Writing CE 208, Saturday, January 27 - March 3 (no class on February 24) 10 a.m. - ...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/03/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/03/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/04/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/04/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/06/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/06/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Preschool Family Yoga Camp

    03/06/2018
    10:15AM — 11:15AM

    Parents will practice yoga with their preschoolers (ages 3-5), learning tips and tricks for havin...


  • Homeschool Art Studio Ages 6-13

    03/06/2018
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Homeschool Art Studio Ages 6-13 YS 40, Tuesday, January 30 - March 20 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m....


  • Business Practices for Creatives

    03/06/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Business Practices for Creatives DES 200, Tuesday, January 30 - April 3 6 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., 1 c...


  • HTML5 & Website Design

    03/06/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    HTML5 & Website Design DES 155, Tuesday, January 30 - April 3 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., 1 credit, $475 ...


  • Drawing (Portrait & Figure)

    03/06/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Drawing (Portrait & Figure) CE 91, Tuesday, January 30 - March 20 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., $245 Evan ...


  • Acrylic Painting and Mixed Media

    03/06/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Acrylic Painting and Mixed Media CE 238, Tuesday, January 30- March 6 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., $215 Ju...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/07/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/07/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Preschool Family Yoga Camp

    03/07/2018
    10:15AM — 11:15AM

    Parents will practice yoga with their preschoolers (ages 3-5), learning tips and tricks for havin...


  • Homeschool Hangout

    03/07/2018
    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Every other Wednesday 11-1p.m. during the school year beginning Jan. 17th-Apr. 25th.Parent/child ...


  • Basics of Copyright Law for Visual Artists

    03/08/2018
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Basics of Copyright Law for Visual Artists WS 102, Thursday, March 8 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., $60 Pet...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/08/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/08/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Preschool Family Yoga Camp

    03/08/2018
    10:15AM — 11:15AM

    Parents will practice yoga with their preschoolers (ages 3-5), learning tips and tricks for havin...


  • iMAKE

    03/08/2018
    04:30PM — 05:30PM

    This a-la-carte class series offers both art and science projects for children ages 6-12. String ...


  • Intro to Video Production & Short Film

    03/08/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Intro to Video Production & Short Film DES 178, Thursday, February 1 - April 5 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.,...


  • Design Principles & Typography

    03/08/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Design Principles & Typography DES 150, Thursday, February 1 - April 5 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., 1 credi...


  • The Art of Felting: 2-D Composition

    03/08/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Art of Felting: 2-D Composition CE 239, Thursday, February 1 - March 22 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., $...


  • Oil Painting

    03/08/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Oil Painting CE 169, Thursday, February 1 - March 22 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., $245 Michael Allen Ex...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/09/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/09/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Preschool Family Yoga Camp

    03/09/2018
    10:15AM — 11:15AM

    Parents will practice yoga with their preschoolers (ages 3-5), learning tips and tricks for havin...


  • Homework Happy Hour Tutoring

    03/09/2018
    03:00PM — 04:15PM

    Fridays 3-4:15 p.m. during the school year beginning Feb.9th.  Bloomsburg University Education...


  • chttp://engage.pcad.edu/winter2018

    03/10/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Young Artists Academy for Grades 6.7.8.9 YS13, Saturday, January 27 - March 17 10a.m. - 12 p.m....


  • Youth Studio Art I for Grades 1.2.3

    03/10/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Youth Studio Art I for Grades 1.2.3 YS11, Saturday, January 27 - March 17 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., $1...


  • Youth Studio Art II for Grades 4.5

    03/10/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Youth Studio Art II for Grades 4.5 YS12, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, January 27 - March 17 10...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/10/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/10/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Microscopy

    03/10/2018
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Microscopy March 10th 1-3pm Get a peek at microscopic cells and organisms! Scouts with learn the...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/11/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/11/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Adobe Illustrator

    03/12/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Adobe Illustrator DES 151, Monday & Wednesday, March 12 - April 11 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. 1 credit, $4...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/13/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/13/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Homeschool Art Studio Ages 6-13

    03/13/2018
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Homeschool Art Studio Ages 6-13 YS 40, Tuesday, January 30 - March 20 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m....


  • Business Practices for Creatives

    03/13/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Business Practices for Creatives DES 200, Tuesday, January 30 - April 3 6 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., 1 c...


  • HTML5 & Website Design

    03/13/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    HTML5 & Website Design DES 155, Tuesday, January 30 - April 3 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., 1 credit, $475 ...


  • Drawing (Portrait & Figure)

    03/13/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Drawing (Portrait & Figure) CE 91, Tuesday, January 30 - March 20 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., $245 Evan ...


  • Content Creation & Digital Storytelling

    03/13/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Content Creation & Digital Storytelling SM 105, Tuesday & Thursday, March 13 - April 12 6 p.m. ...


  • Intro to Calligraphy & Hand-Lettering

    03/13/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Intro to Calligraphy & Hand-Lettering CE 186, Tuesday, March 13 - April 10 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., $19...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/14/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/14/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Homeschool Hangout

    03/14/2018
    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Every other Wednesday 11-1p.m. during the school year beginning Jan. 17th-Apr. 25th.Parent/child ...


  • Adobe Illustrator

    03/14/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Adobe Illustrator DES 151, Monday & Wednesday, March 12 - April 11 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. 1 credit, $4...


  • This family quartet garnered international critical acclaim for its unprecedented arrangements an...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/15/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/15/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • iMAKE

    03/15/2018
    04:30PM — 05:30PM

    This a-la-carte class series offers both art and science projects for children ages 6-12. String ...


  • Content Creation & Digital Storytelling

    03/15/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Content Creation & Digital Storytelling SM 105, Tuesday & Thursday, March 13 - April 12 6 p.m. ...


  • Intro to Video Production & Short Film

    03/15/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Intro to Video Production & Short Film DES 178, Thursday, February 1 - April 5 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.,...


  • Design Principles & Typography

    03/15/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Design Principles & Typography DES 150, Thursday, February 1 - April 5 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., 1 credi...


  • The Art of Felting: 2-D Composition

    03/15/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Art of Felting: 2-D Composition CE 239, Thursday, February 1 - March 22 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., $...


  • Oil Painting

    03/15/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Oil Painting CE 169, Thursday, February 1 - March 22 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., $245 Michael Allen Ex...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/16/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/16/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Music Together Family Classes

    03/16/2018
    10:15AM — 11:00AM

    8 class sessions run from Friday, Mar. 16th to May 4th at 10:15 a.m. or 11:15 a.m. This intern...


  • Music Together Family Classes

    03/16/2018
    11:15AM — 12:00PM

    8 class sessions run from Friday, Mar. 16th to May 4th at 10:15 a.m. or 11:15 a.m. This intern...


  • Homework Happy Hour Tutoring

    03/16/2018
    03:00PM — 04:15PM

    Fridays 3-4:15 p.m. during the school year beginning Feb.9th.  Bloomsburg University Education...


  • Join the Central Columbia Junior Jay Bots and area FIRST Lego League Jr clubs for a LEGO expo!Thi...


  • chttp://engage.pcad.edu/winter2018

    03/17/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Young Artists Academy for Grades 6.7.8.9 YS13, Saturday, January 27 - March 17 10a.m. - 12 p.m....


  • Youth Studio Art I for Grades 1.2.3

    03/17/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Youth Studio Art I for Grades 1.2.3 YS11, Saturday, January 27 - March 17 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., $1...


  • Youth Studio Art II for Grades 4.5

    03/17/2018
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Youth Studio Art II for Grades 4.5 YS12, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, January 27 - March 17 10...


  • Lancaster County Young Artists Exhibition

    03/17/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • The Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

    03/17/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Hundreds of artworks from Lancaster County students participating in two artistic competitions, S...


  • Meet the Masters: Cave Paintings

    03/17/2018
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    It’s never too early to introduce art through exploring “the masters” like Monet, O’Keefe, and Pi...



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