“She Was Overwhelmed,” by Judy Wilson.photo by Helen Schmidling
“She Was Overwhelmed,” by Judy Wilson.photo by Helen Schmidling
In some circumstances, women may have no place to turn for help: no friends, no family close by, no mentors, no job, and no resources. In Bend, Saving Grace, a women’s emergency shelter and support center, is often the proverbial “last straw.”

To drive home the message, 25 Central Oregon artists have created collages around a phrase starting with or focused on the word “SHE …” that will be sold to benefit Saving Grace. For the past two months, the artists have worked on their projects, some crafting their own “SHE” phrases that reflect both the hopelessness of the situation, and the hope that comes from help.

From December 2 to 31, the art of the SHE Project will show at Good Day Café at Bedouin, 143 E. Hood Ave., Sisters. Owner Harmony Thomas will feature four of the pieces in an online auction, December 2 through 4, through Instagram (#Sisters.bedouin) and Facebook (@sistersbedouin). For the entire month, all of the pieces will be for sale at Bedouin, starting at $35, to benefit Saving Grace. During the opening event, Thomas said she would also feature a raffle for a $200 Hobo purse, and sale of T-shirts and other items, all in support of Saving Grace. Her goal is to raise $2,000 for the nonprofit.

Sisters artist Kit Stafford is coordinating this art event.

“All of the SHE projects were created or inspired from a quote or phrase in an effort to stop violence against women,” she said. “SHE …” begins or factors into the thought as each artist created the piece. From Stafford:

“She learned to love herself

and golden thoughts rained down on her…”

…accompanies a three-dimensional collage featuring a woman in a flared dress, gold boots, and gold coronet, with tiny golden leaves dangling from her wrists, golden raindrops falling and a goldfinch postage stamp inset for good measure.

Artist Judy Wilson’s SHE statement:

“SHE was overwhelmed by the world

So she painted it …”

…goes with a female in overalls on a ladder, painting a mural of pink roses over a background depicting a world of cacophony in newsprint that delivers bad news … measles, plastic waste, war, poverty, the economy, abuse and scandal.

Carly Garzon Vargas created a bold statement piece of a woman using black, blue and gold stripes, in cut paper, inspired by the #cacerolazo protests in Chile happening now:

“She Resists”

Janet Brockway seized a phrase from the late poet Mary Oliver:

“Tell me what it is you want to do with your one wild and precious life?”

And from Kathy Deggendorfer:

“Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”

Stafford says, “This time of year means many things: festivities, celebrations, gratitude, family and the spirit of giving. It also means the cold coming on, higher bills to pay and intensified relations.”

When those relations become too difficult to manage, Saving Grace is available to help.

“With the group effort of the SHE project, we can contribute to supporting women who are having hard times, who need to know there are better times coming, who need to see a light out of darkness and to have hope,” Stafford said.

Saving Grace offers safety, hope, and healing, and encourages Central Oregonians to embrace life without violence. Services include a 24-hour helpline, emergency shelter, crisis support and therapy, weekly support groups, assistance with orders of protection, and even a supervised exchange center for visitation.

More information on Saving Grace is available online at saving-grace.org.