Discovering KSAT Through the Artful Dash

A runner smiles and gives the peace sign with both hands while standing under the red arch sculpture on Hanging pieces of art made from fabric on the Karl Stirner Arts Trail in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Blog: Why I Treasure the Trail

Text and photos by Carla M. Rodrigues


I woke with anticipation early in the morning as my husband and I ventured to the 2019 Artful Dash 5K.

Little did he know that my excitement was mostly from looking forward to the discovery of art pieces that I had previously seen in publications about the Karl Stirner Arts Trail. And sure enough, after a few yards of running, my eyes caught colorful and large-scale sculptures, and my hand reached for my camera. There was no other choice in my mind than to let my husband keep running while I captured the beauty I continued to encounter, one piece at a time. 




The combination of manmade pieces with nature, and even the fusion of both, made the experience unique. I spent more time by the labyrinth, the circular rock installation, so inviting to meditative thoughts, and the fabric banners, which I imagined resisting the adversities of rain and snowfalls, and adding colorfulness and positivity to the landscape regardless of their struggle. The crochet pieces on the side of the trail hugging young trees reminded me of my childhood days in the Azores, Portugal, where my mother used to assemble them into soft spreads of playful patterns to keep us warm in the winter.

As a young art and design student in Lisbon, I got used to seeing all kinds of art in the urban setting. Seeing art in the trail’s natural environment, however, made me feel connected to who I truly am. I couldn’t wait to share this experience with my own children and students, whom I teach about the world of art and guide through the process of art-making every day. 

Seeing art in the trail’s natural environment, however, made me feel connected to who I truly am.
Carla M. Rodrigues

Seeing myself as a “possibility awakener,” I use my professional role as a public school art educator in Easton to awaken children’s minds to the endless possibilities that art can bring to their lives—art is all around us! The trail exceptionally takes this awakening to a higher level of consciousness where the creative human mind meets the creative natural genius as ONE. I found it curious that I finished the race in 111th place (not last, I swear!). Coincidence? Maybe. Either way, I’ll definitely be back next year with my running shoes … and my camera!

About the Author: Carla M. Rodrigues is an international teaching artist. She is from the Azorean Islands of Portugal where she gained an appreciation for nature and the arts. After completing her studies in art and design in Lisbon, she ventured to other places in the world including the United States, where she has been living for 18 years with her husband and three children. When she is not teaching young artists in Easton, Pennsylvania, Rodrigues is hiking with her family or creating nature-inspired art. This year, she ran the second annual Artful Dash 5K with her husband for the first time.

If you love the trail, you can support it this Giving Tuesday with a contribution on Facebook or the website. Up to $1,000 will be matched by generous donors.


Thank you for the generous $500 match by Harmony Animal Hospital & Emergency Services.


2200 Belvidere Road 
Phillipsburg, NJ 08865 | Phone: (908) 396-6561