Sisters Folk Festival (SFF) has completed the purchase of the Sisters Art Works building and has begun renovations and upgrades in anticipation of the final stage of phase one of the Connected by Creativity Capital Campaign.

“We basically have 99 percent of the $1.4 million goal secured,” said Steven Remington, development director and co-chair of the capital campaign that began in August 2017. “It’s been a great experience and simply astonishing how generous the community has been in helping us identify the resources to make this happen.”

The building, located at 204 W. Adams Ave. in Sisters, was purchased from Frank and Kathy Deggendorfer, who pledged to sell the building to Sisters Folk Festival for the original 2005 purchase price of $500,000. The sale closed on July 18 of 2019 and the building was appraised at $1,450,000 at that time, making the Deggendorfer’s equity gift to SFF $950,000 – SFF’s largest-ever gift.

The Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund jump-started the campaign with a grant of $225,000 in November of 2018. By the end of 2019, the campaign had received a “top-off” grant of $151,000 from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Fund and a $100,000 gift from the Duncan and Cynthia Campbell Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation, in addition to nearly 150 donations from SFF community supporters, board members and staff.

The campaign has been receiving gifts through year-end from individuals and small businesses in an effort to close the 1 percent gap and reach the final goal, thus accessing the Murdock top-off contribution in early 2020. Part of the recent pledges included an in-kind donation of $5,776 from River Roofing during their completion of the roof replacement in December.

“We are really looking forward to the building upgrades because we’re already scheduling classes, workshops, and gallery openings for the new year, plus we have some ideas of how we can use the property this summer,” said Operations Manager Dave Ehle, who is also involved in education programming at SFF.

The effort to build a Center for Creativity and Community Music is one of the aspects that attracted recently appointed Executive Director Crista Munro to apply for the job.

“It seemed like a wonderful opportunity for me to be a part of creating something lasting in a community I had admired for some time,” said Munro.

No stranger to the organization, Munro was acquainted with SFF creative director and Americana Project founder Brad Tisdel prior to accepting her current position. The two often traded industry insights and artist recommendations during her 24 years as one of the founding directors of the Four Corners Folk Festival in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, which also is the location of the only other Americana Project school program in the country.

Campaign co-chair and SFF board member Jay Wilkins acknowledged that the campaign committee and board of directors “deserves major kudos for stepping up and making the acquisition of the building a priority during a time of significant organizational change. Everyone had a lot on their plates. Now we can move forward with the new programming, spruce up the property and start phase two planning for a performance facility. This is going to be a very promising decade for Sisters Folk Festival.”

“It feels good to see the smaller donations still rolling in for the final tally,” Remington added, “because we want all of our supporters to be on that wall or plaque on our new building. We are putting together a request for proposals soon so the arts community can submit their ideas on how to honor the campaign donors. It’s not too late to send in a contribution and be recognized either.”

Phase 2 planning will begin in late 2020 or early 2021 and be integrated with ongoing City efforts to determine the ideal location, size, and design of the multi-use community arts space. “But in the meantime, we have the property,” Remington said, “which means if it proves to be the ideal location, we’ll have a major head start on the project.”

For more information contact Steven Remington, ­steven@sisteresfolkfestival.org.