The sculpture “Helping Hands” is featured on the west (South Pine Street) entrance of Dana Bratton’s building. photo by Helen Schmidling
The sculpture “Helping Hands” is featured on the west (South Pine Street) entrance of Dana Bratton’s building. photo by Helen Schmidling
Late on a Friday afternoon, artist Katie Daisy sat on the lawn between SoulShine & Co. and the soon-to-open food cart called Nourish. She watched her friend and fellow muralist Karen Eland put the finishing touches on a new mural on the east side of the structure at the corner of West Hood Avenue and South Pine Street.

By the next morning, visitors were already standing in front of the great gray owl at the center of the mural, and photographing themselves or their friends as an angel with outstretched owl wings.

“That’s my intention,” said Kelly Rae Roberts, the woman who opened SoulShine just a few weeks ago, and who commissioned Katie and Karen to create the 16-by-eight-foot mural on the side of the building outside her emporium.

The mural features wildflowers, trees, and a throng of wildlife including owl, elk, horse, Steller’s jay, butterfly, Western tanager and Roufus hummingbird. The background color is brick, to match the lower color of the building, which is otherwise teal.

The artists both live in Bend, though Katie Daisy, a writer and illustrator, is looking to move to Sisters. They’ve been friends with Kelley Rae for 10 years, which is why Kelley Rae chose them to design and paint this mural.

Katie grew up on a small family farm in northern Illinois, the closest town home to just 500 people. After art school in Minnesota, she traveled the country, settling down for a spell in Weaverville, N.C., in the Great Smokey Mountains. Katie’s book, “How to Be a Wildflower,” is all about self-discovery through encounters with nature, and includes prompts to inspire creativity and wellbeing. It’s available at Kelly Rae’s shop, and online. Katie eventually made her way to Bend, where she lives with her six-year-old son, Finn. As a full-time artist and mom, she designs calendars, year planners, note cards, and product labels, featuring trees and colorful flowers, and decorative hand lettering.

Karen Eland’s work is more realistic, and includes animals, wildlife, and trees. Her unique paintings, made with beer (porters and stouts) and coffee, look like sepia toned images in a semi-realistic style. She has a studio and store at The Workhouse in Bend, where she’s done several murals including the Foxtail Bakeshop and Oregon Spirit Distillers.

Both artists also have shops on Etsy.com.

“I had a lovely vision,” said Kelly Rae. “I thought Katie and Karen’s work would be perfect for that wall.” She approached building owners Dana and Nancy Bratton, got their approval, and together they received approval from the City of Sisters. “It’s a really lovely complement to the store, and the street, with its art and galleries,” she said.

So inspired was Kelly Rae that she decided to rebrand her shop, while it was still new.

“After being open for a little over a month, I’ve decided to change my new shop name from SoulShine & Co. to Marigold & True. It turns out that many people think Soulshine is a shoe store (Soul = Sole) and apparently there’s a pretty popular band that uses the name SoulShine,” Kelley Rae wrote on her Facebook page.

“I figure we’d better change it now while we’re still pretty new. I like how Marigold still has the yellow, sunshiny vibe of SoulShine, yet has the sweet sort of flowery southern, vintage touch and feel that I’m after. And True is my kiddo’s name, and it just has my heart always. Marigold & True. Yes, feels just right,” she said.

Nourish, the food cart operated by Kelley Rae’s husband John, opens this month.

“Nancy and I have been pleased to join other property owners on Hood Avenue in developing a vibrant district that draws a mix of exceptional artists and world class retailers,” said building owner Dana Bratton. “As a real estate professional, I believe that location is crucial, and it’s easy to see that a Hood Avenue address has become an important component for business success. Add in excellent dining options and this neighborhood has what it takes to make a visit to Sisters a five-star experience.”

Another one of those world-class artists is sculptor Gary Cooley. His bronze sculpture, “Helping Hands,” is being installed on the east side of the building, near the South Pine Street entrance. Gary and his wife Karen own the Collection Gallery, which along with Hood Avenue Art and the framing studio for Sisters Gallery and Frame Shop, lend the mixed-use building a heavy art presence. Other tenants fill the two-story building.

Cooley’s sculpture is of a young girl holding a little boy in her arms, with doves in their hands. A benefactor commissioned “Helping Hands” for The Children’s Miracle Network in Eugene, in 1998. Cooley and his daughter, Carrie Strasheim, sculpted the statue using Cooley’s grandchildren as models.

“I taught her how to sculpt, and this was her first major sculpture,” Cooley said. Both artists signed the piece, which was cast at a foundry in Kalispell, Montana, where the Cooleys lived at the time.

The commissioned sculpture was initially placed in a water feature at the original location of Children’s Miracle Network, a temporary residential facility for families of children in treatment at Sacred Heart Hospital. When the new hospital was built, so was a new residence, and the sculpture was moved to the newer facility, where it still resides.

Cooley has since cast half a dozen replicas of the sculpture for other clients, but this location’s piece is Number one in a limited edition of 15.

“It’s my own piece, but now it belongs here,” Cooley said.

“The idea was to create a figure that would comfort families who were under stress due to medical issues,” said Karen Cooley.”

In this time of uncertainty, it seems appropriate. “2020 has been unusual, but many local business people recognize that the long-term outlook for the Sisters economy is bright,” said Dana Bratton. “For now, living here is wonderful and I’m looking forward to the future with great expectation.”