Kimry Jelen’s work will be featured in the Fur & Feather Show at Sisters Art Works. photo provided
Kimry Jelen’s work will be featured in the Fur & Feather Show at Sisters Art Works. photo provided

Art and critters seem to go together in Sisters. Many local artists feel a powerful connection to wildlife, and to the pets that are our daily companions.

Kathy Deggendorfer and Sisters Art Works are bringing all that together on Friday, August 26, 4 to 7 p.m. in an artists' reception for the Fur & Feather Show - which is also a benefit fundraiser for Furry Friends Foundation. The event is part of the Fourth Friday Art Stroll in downtown Sisters.

Furry Friends helps Sisters families in financial hardship by maintaining a pet-food bank, offering spay/neuter/vaccination sponsorships, licensing fee sponsorships and veterinary financial assistance.

"I so appreciate Kathy Deggendorfer, The Roundhouse Foundation and all the local artists that support Furry Friends through this event," said Kiki Dolson, founder of Furry Friends Foundation. "I've previewed the show and the art this year is fantastic. I hope we have a large turnout for this wonderful evening.

"I'm not sure why, but donations to Furry Friends are down this year," Dolson noted. "Our spay/neuter sponsorships are up, so it's events like these that help make what we do possible. We'll be there with this year's raffle quilt selling tickets and inevitably exchanging dog stories."

It's not hard to find talented artists who like to work in the theme represented in the show.

"I've been drawing and painting animals for 30 years," said Ingrid Lustig, one of the artists featured in the show.

She's particularly drawn to wolves, having worked in a wolf rescue program in northern California in her 20s. People in the Bay Area were acquiring the great predators for pets - then finding that that didn't work so well. Lustig spent hours interacting with the wolves in her program.

"It was communication across species, really," she said.

Lustig contributed a piece featuring a wolf in mixed media on clayboard.

Wolves caught the attention of mixed-media artist Mary Medrano, as well. Reintroduction has been much in the news recently, with wolves making their presence felt in Oregon.

"I did this body of work - wolves - specifically for this show," Medrano told The Nugget.

Medrano works with acrylics, paper, and some ink.

"This is what I've been doing for a few years now," she said. "I paint people, too."

Kimry Jelen is best known for painting horses, but she's also a "dog person" and she contributed a pup to the Fur & Feathers show. And a frog. A frog kept showing up, perching on the edges of her canvases, so she decided to immortalize him, though she did take some artistic license and calls her subject a "made-up frog."

"He was having the best siesta in the sun," she recalled. "It was one of those moments that make you so relaxed, looking at a relaxed animal. The world's pretty brutal right now ... so I was just trying to paint something really happy that would cheer me up."

Jelen said she appreciates working in a community of talented artists, where everybody seems to be "always giving back or doing good. It's a cool place to live."

Kathy Deggendorfer, Barbara Modey, and Kit Stafford will also have work in the show.

Sisters Art Works is located at 242 W. Adams Ave.

Individuals can also make a donation to Furry Friends or purchase raffle tickets online at www.furryfriends foundation.org.