Carving Joy with Scott Harrison and Shane Matthews In-Person
Meet Scott Harrison, the artist behind Nederland, Colorado's Carousel of Happiness. Enjoy the award-winning short documentary "Carving Joy," about Scott and the carousel's origins. This film is produced by Reel Inspired Media, and will be followed by an audience Q and A with Scott Harrison and the film's creator, Shane Matthews.
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Access the many formats of "The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World" in our online catalog. One Book One Boulder is generously sponsored by the Boulder Library Foundation.
- Saturday, Mar 11 2023
- 11:00am - 12:00pm
- Mt. Sanitas Room, Main Library
Director Biography - Shane Matthews
Shane Matthews is a cartographer and filmmaker living in Evergreen, Colorado. Shane tells stories through maps and film. Both are a combination of art and science, expose complex environmental and social issues, drive awareness and inspire action and positive change. When not drawing maps and creating visual stories through film, Shane enjoys recreating in Colorado’s mountains with his family.
Today, Scott Harrison is known as the artist behind one of Colorado’s most beloved attractions, the Carousel of Happiness. His journey to create this Front Range landmark began on the front lines of the war in Vietnam in 1967.
As a 17-year-old, Scott didn’t want to be in the military, but he wanted to do right by the country he loved. He applied to become a translator, hoping to help Vietnamese civilians in a country devastated by decades of war. When he arrives in Vietnam, he’s deployed to one of the most hostile military outposts in the country, Con Thien, “the Hill of Angels”. The young man would witness the brutality of man’s violence and aggression, and barely escape with his life.
To drown out the constant fear of incoming attacks, Scott escapes to a fantasy mountain meadow with a spinning carousel. His soundtrack is a music-box rendition of Chopin’s Tristesse, a gift from his sister. One night a grenade explodes behind Scott, tearing an artery and killing several of his closest friends.
Returning home, he begins a long battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Treated like a murderer by civilians, he relies on his military training in how to escape and evade enemies to deal with his trauma. He builds a boat and sails into the Pacific Ocean, seeking the “ultimate escape”.
An encounter with a whale convinces him that he has value and more life to live. As a form of self-healing, Scott begins carving wooden animals for a junked carousel and brings his visions during the war to reality. The result is the Carousel of Happiness, a lasting memorial to the small music box that saved his life and the friends he lost on the Hill of Angels.
Fifty years later, Scott continues to create art intended to help spread joy and encourage healing. Scott’s latest project is the Council of Kindness, a work of art that serves as a place of solitude and reflection for those dealing with trauma, like the wounded young man returning home decades ago.
Boulder Public Library and the Boulder Library Foundation are proud to host One Book One Boulder: Read, Engage, Grow. This program aims to bring Boulder together through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book. Participate in a variety of events, including book discussion groups, workshops, performances and storytimes. Generously sponsored by the Boulder Library Foundation.