ASAP Awardee Erika Harper working on a sculpture with Stiller Zusman

Way up in Western New York, nestled between great gorges and the campus of Cornell University, the Abovoagogo Gallery and teaching studio is a hive of purposeful creativity in downtown Ithaca. At its center, Stiller Zusman makes art and offers classes all year long—and this summer she welcomed ASAP Awardee Erika Harper to join her creative community.

Erika began with a simple piece of outerwear, explains Stiller.

“I believe this has been a great adventure for her,” Stiller continues: “She began with her image of the empty coat as a character, and launched wholeheartedly into the process of transforming this ethereal image into a concrete sculpture.”

Making things concrete: this has been Stiller’s work in art and instruction for 25 years. She’s earned both an MFA in Sculpture and an MS in Clinical Art Therapy, and worked as an exhibiting artist, camp director, therapist and teaching artist. Her work is in the permanent collection of the University of Wyoming and private collections throughout the United States and Canada.

“I have always been reassured by the bold consistent constructs of concrete that surround us,” says Stiller, “roads, buildings, dams….” These emblems of infrastructure no longer roar with traffic, people or water as they are transformed in her newest show.

Calm Body,” now on view at the Elevator Music and Art Gallery at the Clinton House, 116 North Cayuga Street in Ithaca, NY, presents concrete hollows filled with water, a balance between stone and liquid—a peaceful and reflective refuge. Please stop by if you’re in the neighborhood and support Stiller!

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