Embracing the Dark and the Light: What the Arts Teach Us About Living in Turbulent Times

We live in increasing turbulent and bewildering times. How do we skillfully navigate both the dark and the light forces of the world? This panel explores how the arts teach us that fully embracing both the darkness and the luminous leads to a place of strength, resilience, transcendence, and beauty. Stephen Cope examines this interplay as a renowned writer, Kate McGloughlin as an acclaimed painter, and Steve Gorn as a master musician. Engaging in their crafts with a profound spiritual lens, each of these luminary artists will discuss how spiritual practice affects both their art and their capacity to bridge the dark and the light. This quintessentially Woodstock conversation promises to be vibrant and out of the box!

Gail Straub is a woman with light skin tones, short white hair and blue eyes. She's wearing earrings and a white blouse

Gail Straub is the author of seven books including the best-selling Empowerment, translated into 14 languages; the critically acclaimed The Rhythm of Compassion; her feminist memoir, Returning to My Mother’s House; and, most recently, her award-winning nature writings The Ashokan Way and Solace and Sanctuary: The Ashokan’s Enduring Gifts. Straub’s books have garnered three Nautilus Silver Medals, as well as three Foreword Review Book Awards. A co-founder of the Empowerment Institute, Straub is a leading authority on women’s empowerment, and her work throughout the Global South has impacted over half a million lives.

Stephen Cope is a best-selling author and scholar who specializes in the relationship between the Eastern contemplative traditions and Western depth psychology. Among his seminal works in this area are Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, The Wisdom of Yoga, and The Great Work of Your Life. For almost 30 years, Cope has been scholar-in-residence at the renowned Kripalu Center, the largest center for the study and practice of yoga in the Western world. He is the recipient of many awards for his work.

Steve Gorn, whose flute is said to “realign the cells,” is featured on the Grammy-winning recording “Miho–Journey to the Mountain” with the Paul Winter Consort, as well as the Academy Award-winning documentary film “Born into Brothels.” He has performed Indian classical music and new American music on the bansuri bamboo flute, soprano saxophone, and clarinet in concerts and festivals throughout the world. His CD, “Luminous Ragas,” is a landmark recording of music for yoga. Recent recordings include “Between Two Worlds” and “Illuminations.” 

Kate McGloughlin, a painter and printmaker from Olivebridge, NY, has been included in over 70 exhibitions in the U.S., Japan, Scotland, and Ireland; and is president emeritus of the Woodstock School of Art, where she teaches printmaking and landscape painting. “Requiem for Ashokan,” which premiered at Woodstock Artists Association & Museum in 2017, has spurred three subsequent iterations of the show, as well as lectures for Vassar College, Columbia Climate School, and the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, among others. McGloughlin co-authored Solace and Sanctuary: The Ashokan’s Enduring Gifts with Gail Straub in 2022.

Get a Full Festival pass and you’ll get to take in the Story Slam on Thursday night. Then sail into the weekend: attending all the wonderful panels, both Little Bites and Big Libations Cocktail Parties, and both evening events. And share the bounty from our always-stuffed goody bag.

Bearsville Theater
291 Tinker Street
Saturday March 23, 2024