New Work: Martin Dunn

Artist Martin Dunn received MOFSA’s major grant award in 2020. Since then, he has generously given of his time to serve on the board of MOFSA and continues painting at his Bradenton, Fl. studio. Like many of us, he’s turned his heart and mind to the topic of the environment in crisis. His new painting “Tower Rock”,  takes us to Mississippi in the Summer of 2022 and examines the fair distribution of water.

Tower Rock

Martin Dunn
Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

Did you know the Mississippi went dry last summer? So did the Rhine and the Yangtzee? This painting was started with the intention of alerting people to an overlooked climate change related natural catastrophe, but it evolved into something else. The two young people have a panoramic view as the disaster unfolds. They are unemotional, detached, watching it play out. They know this car is out of control and the brakes have failed. Yikes. Read more from Marty’s website.

A Word on Eco-Anxiety from a Contemplative Artist

Have you heard the term “eco-anxiety”? You can probably intuit the meaning even if you haven’t. To me, it’s a creeping feeling accompanying “environmental awareness”. YES, I am aware of the benefits of recycling so I push the bin to the corner AND I worry, “what else should I do..? is this enough?” 

As a kid I watched classmates leave their homes as underground coal mine fires spread through the neighboring town of Centralia, PA. Fear of ground collapse is a very real threat (in fact it happened) and no amount of meditation or prayer changes the fact. Decades of political strife dragged on about whose responsibility it was to pay for the fire to be extinguished while it raged and undermined the town. Poisonous gasses infiltrated homes from below and families lost sleep— if they were lucky enough to have carbon monoxide alarms.  Now Centralia is abandoned and sensationalized as a ghost town. 

Serious cases of eco-anxiety may cause obsessive focus on dystopian scenarios draining our physical energy leading to depression. This state of “dis-ease” is becoming more common as we hear stories from around the world about dangerous changes that threaten all living things. Scientific American recently reported that even medical professionals are at a loss :

“The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes climate change as a growing threat to mental health, but many mental health professionals feel unequipped to handle the growing number of people anxious and grieving over the state of the planet.” 

Scientific American, April 19, 2021
Therapists Are Reckoning with Eco-anxiety

Although the social media algorithms and the 24 hour news cycle attempts to hold us hostage to bad news, there are reasons for hope. Icon and primatologist-turned- environmental-activist, Dr. Jane Goodall says:

“I do have reasons for hope: our clever brains, the resilience of nature, the indomitable human spirit, and above all, the commitment of young people when they’re empowered to take action.”

Jane Goodall, The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times

Visit the “Good For All News” page at to learn about real change makers, or if you prefer a podcast tune in to her HOPECAST. My favorite podcast is “Climate of Change” hosted by Danny Kennedy and the actress Cate Blanchett.  It’s entertaining and substantially informative. Best of all it’s a reminding you that we can–and are–solving problems.  People of every generation are participating and finding new ways to adapt. It’s what all living things do and will keep doing.

You may be an artist whose work inspires awe or raises awareness, you may be a clinician that provides physical relief; you may be a retiree, gardener, writer, or have a job that allows you access to the public—whatever your gift and station in life, emerge from your shadowy thoughts and assist as the spirit moves you. Though we are human- with the power to reason and myriad fralities- we are also divine. Something energetic is at work in and around us guiding us towards connectedness and peace. You have felt it. If it has a “voice” it’s inaudible to me but I can usually recognize it by a subtle sensation of warmth in my heart, hands, and eyes. It’s a softening– a sensation that reminds me that young people are watching every generation that came before them to figure out how to move forward. You may not know exactly what to say about smoke turning our skies orange but you do know how to put on an N95 mask. If modeling persistence, loving-kindness and humility is your gift, this is enough. It is the best gift to share because it nourishes other acts of generosity that naturally live inside others. What I learned from watching the devastation in Centralia is: the better the primordial health of a community before a crisis, the better it can cope.

In July I’ll be visiting Pennsylvania and will make a trip to Centralia to take more reference images for a new body of artwork about Centraila. I want to meet the man who returns every week to mow the grass on the site of his old home. I also have plans to connect with old friends who’ve remained in the region, and learn about the newly discovered heat loving microbes that are helping researchers better understand resilience. Imagine that, new insight about resilience straight from the disaster zone!

To see new art visit the visual essay, “Environmental Crisis Through the Lens of Centralia, Pennsylvania”. This body of work was selected by The Environmental Peacebuilding Association and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform-led Community of Practice on Environment, Climate, Conflict, and Peace (ECCP).  It will be exhibited in Dubai in 2024 as part of a global grassroots project showcasing the impact of environmental and climate change on communities and conflict around the world. 

2022 Virtual Exhibit

Towards the Spiritual

Opened July 26, 2022

The Marianne Oberg Foundation for Spiritual Art (MOFSA) is pleased to announce its first virtual exhibit, featuring the work of our 2022 spiritual art grant recipients Deborah Hamon and Emily McIlroy along with the work of six other artists. These artists were chosen from over 360 applicants throughout the United States for our 2022 Spiritual Art Grant opportunity. Read about the grant winners and invited artists.

MOFSA exists to support artists who create works that inspire peace within individuals and between disparate communities. MOFSA is not bound to any particular religious creed, rather we hope to encourage artists as they pursue their own spiritual path. The artists represented in our exhibit reflect different religions and spiritual perspectives, all supportive of our vision.

The theme of our exhibit is “Towards the Spiritual”. In this time of darkness and multiple challenges, we hope that the work of our artists will support you in your life’s journey and inspire hope.

“Another Sun Will Rise”
Deborah Hamon

Our virtual exhibit uses the ArtPlacer platform and provides a 3-D viewing experience. We hope you will enjoy it!

MOFSA’s 2022 Spiritual Art Grants

This year MOFSA is pleased to announce that we have selected two recipients for our $10,000 spiritual art grant! The two winners are Deborah Hamon and Emily McIlroy. In addition, we are awarding a special grant of $2500 to Karen Benioff Friedman.

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2022 Spiritual Art Grant Opportunity

We are delighted to announce our third grant program for artists who see the world from a spiritual perspective and seek to express their view of the transcendent in their artwork. The recipient should already have some body of work in this direction and a desire to create more.The recipient will be awarded a $10,000 grant to be presented at the opening of a virtual exhibit of the artist’s work in July, 2022.The grant recipient is expected to prepare a new work to be unveiled in the virtual exhibit. The exhibit will feature the work of other artists who have submitted for the grant, who will share an additional $2000 in rewards. In addition, the grant recipient’s work will be presented along with that of other spiritual artists in a website hosted by MOFSA.

Applications are closed on January 15, 2022. Full details on CaFE. Also, read our October newsletter announcing the grant. Stay tuned for  an announcement of the 2022 grant and award recipients by March 15, 2022.

Presenting MOFSA Artists

We are pleased to show you a video presentation of five artists who have received awards from MOFSA:

  • Mia Bosna
  • Joanna Gould
  • Jennifer Printz
  • Emily Clare
  • Zangmo Alexander

The video editing was done by Katie Ree. Thank you, Katie!

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Presenting Marty Dunn

MOFSA’s second spiritual art grant was awarded to Martin Dunn of Sarasota, Florida. Marty learned art from his father, who had been taught by his mother. Marty’s journey has taken him to nursing homes, operating rooms, county jails, homeless camps, Hispaniola, Africa, churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues. It has led him in a spiritual direction and to create painting that capture deep human experiences and offer hope.


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MOFSA News – June, 2020

In February we awarded our 2020 Spiritual Art Grant to Martin Dunn of Sarasota, Florida and invited four other artists to our upcoming exhibit, “Towards the Spiritual”. Since them the COVID-19 pandemic has had major impact on the world, and like other organizations, MOFSA is having to adapt.

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MOFSA Grant to Emily Clare

The Marianne Oberg Foundation for Spiritual Art has awarded a grant in the amount of $1000 to Emily Clare of Winston-Salem, NC. Clare’s artwork is based on the careful collection and preservation of delicate plant materials. She collects and dries specimens from her travels both far and near, including donations from a wide network of friends who know her from her daily neighborhood nature walks. The grant will fund purchase of a printing press to use with linoleum prints and mono prints,  a gelliplate, paper, and ink. The artwork will be disseminated through the Internet, at a time when art galleries and museums are closed.

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