Brushwood Center Presents ‘Convergence,’ a world premiere performance, June 28

Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods debuts a world premiere performance of music and art inspired by the findings of its recent report “Health, Equity, and Nature: A Changing Climate in Lake County, Illinois” that link access to clean air, water and nature to healthier lives. The opening performance, “Convergence: Health Equity in a Changing Climate,” will be held at 7 p.m. on June 28 at Gorton Center, 400 E. Illinois Road, Lake Forest. Visit

This 90-minute, bilingual (English and Spanish) performance, guided by Brushwood Center’s Ensemble-in-Residence, Black Moon Trio, translates the lived experiences of communities in Lake County, affected by environmental racism and health inequities through original music, illustration, and storytelling. Visit

“Brushwood Center is working with our artistic and community partners to make this data as accessible as possible,” said Catherine Game, executive director of Brushwood Center. “As an organization committed to improving health equity through community, nature and the arts, we also know that art is a powerful tool for social change. By translating the research of the report into a multidisciplinary performance, we hope to mobilize even more people and communities in this movement for a healthy and just future.”

This signature concert experience is a collaboration between Black Moon Trio and Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods featuring original music — two commissioned compositions from composers Marc Mellits and Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate — and original artworks from five visual artists across the country.

“My art piece 'Sol,' Spanish for 'Sun' and a play on words for the English pronunciation of the word 'soul,' is the graphic accompaniment to Eric Ewazen’s musical composition for 'Convergence,'” said Natashna Anderson, Chicago visual artist. “Full of somber chords, 'Sol' is tempered with bright harmonies that form a delicate dance through both my visual art piece (to be displayed onstage), and through the music.”

“Audiences will watch and listen to stories from members of communities affected by environmental racism and health inequities through original art accompanied by the music of American composers,” said Parker Nelson, director of music at Brushwood and Black Moon Trio member.

Across the United States, life expectancy is influence by where one lives. People’s health is shaped by their environment, their ability to access nature, and the systems that support communities. This is particularly relevant in Lake County, where a 15-year life expectancy separates the communities of North Chicago and Lake Forest, situated only five miles apart.

“Health, Equity, and Nature: A Changing Climate in Lake County, Illinois,” includes key findings about access to nature, human health, and a healthy environment in Lake County, as well as actionable recommendations to empower change.

“Convergence” will feature the artwork of Natashna Anderson, Kelley Clink, Laura Horan, Lakosh and Naimah Thomas, with performances by Black Moon Trio (Parker Nelson, Jeremy Vigil and Khelsey Zarraga) and narration in English and Spanish by Frank Pettis and Jess Rodriguez.

Tickets are $25 and are available at

Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods works collaboratively with community partners, artists, health care providers, and scientists to improve health equity and access to nature in Lake County and the Chicago region. The center engages people with the outdoors through the arts, environmental education, and community action. Brushwood Center’s programs focus on youth, families, Military Veterans and those facing racial and economic injustices. Brushwood Center collaborates closely with community partners to offer art and nature programs with youth, families, military veterans, seniors, artists and area residents. Their program strategy is rooted in the asset-based community engagement model, which is a bottom-up way of working with communities that focuses on community strengths and assets rather than on deficits and problems.

Specifically, Brushwood Center prioritizes:

• Building authentic, long-term relationships with community-based organizations and partners

• Collaborating with community assets to develop mutually beneficial programs and contributing resources where needed to advance the health of people and the planet,

• Supporting just and inclusive storytelling through diverse cultural and artistic platforms.

More information about Brushwood Center can be found at

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