Each year a theme is chosen for My Own Two Hands (MOTH) celebration of the arts, the primary fundraiser for the Americana Project and programs of Sisters Folk Festival (SFF). This year’s theme — “We all Belong” — inspired artists to create and donate a piece of art to be sold at the benefit auction in support of music and arts programming in Sisters schools and the community.

Sisters artist Carly Garzon Vargas laid the groundwork for the 18th annual fundraiser by creating the piece “We are this Town,” which was chosen as the image for the 2019 MOTH poster.

Garzon Vargas said, “My artwork includes a variety of characters intertwined to show our connection to each other, the value of diversity, and the strength that comes from supporting each other as we construct our future. My work aims to underscore our shared humanity.”

Her work explores the intersection between art, culture, identity and community.

SFF Development Director Steven Remington noted, “Carly really embraced the theme; it was clear she had put thought into the design and then used her impressive skills to realize the image. Her medium — cut paper — is unique and not completely obvious in the printed version, so I hope people will come to the Art Stroll on Friday and see the piece in person.”

Garzon Vargas added, “I am glad for the opportunity to share my art and support our community and the arts through My Own Two Hands!”

She studied anthropology and Spanish literature at the University of Oregon, and then moved to Cali, Colombia to complete her graduate studies in international humanitarian law, human rights and culture of peace.

“The people, projects and communities I have connected with influence the subject matter and objectives of my artistic practice,” Garzon Vargas said.

Her professional background includes housing, financial nonprofits and library services, and creating art has been her outlet for self-expression and an anchor throughout her life.

Garzon Vargas noted, “In the last two years I have developed the paper-cut style in which I currently work and am largely self-taught.”

She creates the outlines of her images by cutting away at one continuous sheet of paper to create the image. Then, she hand-dyes watercolor paper with a wet-on-wet technique and layers it behind the outline. This process transforms a simple piece of paper into something unique and delicate.

“I use this technique to represent the connection between the viewer and subject and the precarious dance of recognizing ourselves reflected in the experience of someone else. I depict a wide range of human experiences with pain, hope, joy and resilience at the core. My subjects include portraits of girls overcoming barriers to education, families traveling to new lands in pursuit of a better life, men who are gentle caretakers and women who are physically strong pursuing their goals.”

Garzon Vargas is also a bilingual author illustrator and is employed by the Deschutes Public Library in Sisters. She loves interacting with her audience at story time and being surrounded by books all day long.

She added, “I have self-published two bilingual children’s books and have attended the Highlights foundation twice to learn and work with other illustrators and am an active member of the society of children’s book writers and illustrators.”  

Garzon Vargas is passionate about living in Sisters and being part of the artists’ community. She recently completed the Suttle Lodge’s “Cabin 8” Artist-in-Residence program at Suttle Lake and will have new work from that experience on display in June at the Good Day Café connected to Bedouin.

When she is not working at the library, making art, or teaching yoga at Life.Love.Yoga., she’s out climbing, mountain-biking and playing with her dog, Luna.

The My Own Two Hands celebration kicks off with a parade on Hood Avenue at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 10, followed by an art stroll and community gathering at The Belfry at 7 p.m., featuring the music of Las Cafeteras. The Art Auction & Party will be held on Saturday, May 11, at 5:30 p.m. at Ponderosa Forge.

For more information visit www.sistersfolkfestvial.org or call 541-549-4979.