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The trustees of the Ora Lerman Charitable Trust are proud to administer the artwork of Ora Lerman and the Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat.

When the widely admired American painter Ora Lerman died in 1998, she left a substantial body of paintings and works on paper. She stipulated in her will that all of her artistic output was to be put into a trust that would arrange exhibitions, publish catalogs, and sell her work. To date, the trust has published a retrospective catalog and mounted several exhibitions (see Lerman’s resume for details).

Lerman also stipulated in her will that Soaring Gardens, her country home and studio in the bucolic hills of northeast Pennsylvania, should become a retreat for artists. Her husband, David Ostwald, fulfilled her wishes and in the summer of 2000, Soaring Gardens saw its first resident artists. In 2001, the trust was gifted a small nearby church as a second space, thereby increasing the number of artists the residency program can accommodate. By the summer of 2024 Soaring Gardens will have offered free space to over 500 visual artists, writers, musicians, and composers.

In the spring of 2013, the trust mounted a show at the Hope Horn Gallery at the University of Scranton and published a catalogue of work by residents from the first ten years of the program. In 2020 we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of Soaring Gardens with an exhibition of work by artists from the second decade of Soaring Gardens as well as a second catalogue.

In 2007, the Trust began a third initiative: sponsoring periodic professional-development panel discussions on topics of interest to visual artists.

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The Ora Lerman Charitable Trust has a governing body that includes four trustees and three board members.


Margaret Mathews-Berenson, President
Ann Sutherland Harris, Vice President
David Ostwald, Treasurer
Rachel Selekman


Josephine M. Dunn
Sarah Fuhrman, Secretary
Gail Shaw-Clemons

Roger Olson, General Counsel
Eric Siegeltuch, Financial Advisor


Join the Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat Group page on Facebook.
The Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat is listed with ,
and is a member of the Artist Community Alliance.

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