With a summer breeze rustling through the cottonwoods and the song of Whychus Creek singing in the background, a group of Sisters adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities gathered around a table with a local art teacher, twisting white T-shirts and squeezing a rainbow of colors out of bottles onto their tie-dyeing works.

The project throughout the afternoon last Thursday with Sisters Middle School art teacher Judy Fuentes, was one of the Days of Inspiration for community groups hosted at Pine Meadow Ranch Center for Arts and Agriculture (PMRCAA), a working ranch in Sisters, Oregon focused on arts, agricultural, and ecological projects.

About 20 disabled adults and their caregivers attended through Sisters Opportunities for Unified Living, or S.O.U.L., a nonprofit working to find affordable, long-term, independent living for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Sisters. According to S.O.U.L., young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities must move to Bend or Redmond to find affordable homes and be near services that allow independent living, which severely limits their ability to stay connected to family and community in Sisters.

The group returned to the ranch for their second Day of Inspiration, following one last summer.

The Roundhouse Foundation and PMRCAA created the Days of Inspiration program last year. It is designed to bring local groups of artists, scientists, and educators to spend a day on the PMRCAA working ranch. Visitors have the opportunity to develop relationships and nurture potential collaborations with visiting artists from across the country, engage with the traditional and contemporary craft practices of the ranch, and find inspiration from the natural setting.

Fuentes said she facilitated the art experience Thursday, rather than teaching as she would in a classroom. The day offers many benefits to everyone involved, she said.

“It builds social relationships as well as artistic expression, and then it’s just really beautiful,” she said.

For instance, one young woman participant last summer was timid, but opened up a bit and danced in the ranch’s historic, century-old round barn where “Light Chimes,” a whimsical, motion-activated light-and-sound art piece by Sticky Co., a Portland- and Amsterdam-based artist team, is installed. Fuentes heard that the young woman asked her older sister about art camp all winter.

“She showed up today as if I’d just seen her last week or something,” said Fuentes. “She was really just open and dancing under the lights. It’s just really, a very present activity. It’s such a gift to stand by the creek, the trees, the breeze, and be in the moment with these folks—it just fills me with joy — it’s magical.”

Pine Meadow Ranch Center for Arts & Agriculture strives to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures to find creative solutions to unique challenges. It hopes to serve as a platform that fosters the exchange of knowledge between creative people from Central Oregon and beyond. The Days of Inspiration program offers a space where local cultural practitioners can immerse themselves in their creative work and/or research through access to studios, open space, and beautiful scenery at PMRCAA.

To apply for Days of Inspiration, groups must be based within a 60-minute drive of the ranch and constitute an official or unofficial group (e.g. cooperative, association, guild, etc.). Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee in the applicants’ field of practice. For information, visit https://roundhousefoundation.org/pine-meadow-ranch/days-of-inspiration/.