Penn State Berks Freyberger Gallery presents ‘The Magic Broccoli Forest’

Interactive exhibit deals with themes of friendship and depression
photo from Magic Broccoli exhibit

During the coronavirus pandemic, Rosa Nussbaum and her friends used broccoli to represent depression. 

Credit: Courtesy of Rosa Nussbaum

WYOMISSING, Pa. — The Penn State Berks Freyberger Gallery will present ‘The Magic Broccoli Forest,’ an immersive, interactive solo exhibition by Melbourne-based artist, Rosa Nussbaum, that explores themes of friendship and depression. The exhibit runs Oct. 10–28, with an opening reception on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. This event is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Nussbaum and her friends used the "broccoli" emoji to represent depression when it was too hard to say the word. During this time, Nussbaum said, she felt goal-oriented structures washing away, leaving behind kindness, joy and care. In this exhibition, she focuses on magical portraits of the people who helped her in her wanderings through the "broccoli forest" of depression.

In the gallery, viewers will be immersed in a forest of inflatable silk broccoli and projected landscape on the walls, where they have an opportunity to step into a mystical landscape and interact with a cast of roaming magical creatures. These creatures are based on the artist’s friends and family. When viewers call these forest friends, they will hear pre-recorded stories from real people in Nussbaum’s life.

About the artist:

Rosa Nussbaum holds a bachelor of fine arts in print and time-based media from Wimbledon College of Arts, London and a master of fine arts in studio art from the University of Texas, Austin. She has held residencies at CERN Supercollider, Switzerland; Vermont Studio Center; Residency Unlimited, New York; RAIR Philly, Philadelphia; Paradise AiR, Japan; and Elsewhere Museum as an NEA Southern Constellation Fellow. She has exhibited at galleries, museums, and festivals, such as Experimenta 15 in Cardiff, Wales; Glasgow International, Scotland; BabyCastles, New York City; Women & Their Work, Austin, Texas; and ACC Galerie, Weimar, Germany.

Most recently, she was the 2021/22 printmaker-in-residence at Lawrence Art Center, where she produced this solo exhibition. This exhibition was curated by Kevin Brophy for Penn State Berks thanks to support of the Dr. Ruth M. Freyberger Endowment for the Arts. The original presentation of this exhibition was made possible through the support of the Windgate Foundation at Lawrence Art Center, Kansas.

The Freyberger Gallery is open 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, contact Kevin Brophy, Freyberger Gallery coordinator, at 610-396-6024 or