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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment October 15, 2018

2/13/2018 2:06:00 PM
Exploring art and community
A vision evolves for Pine Meadow Ranch
Sending artists on the road in 2016 and 2017, and then exploring the arts in Europe, are all part of The Roundhouse Foundation's tool-chest to gather research on what might work in Sisters.

"We tried different residencies - one-to-one, one-to-two, and larger groups," said The Roundhouse's Kathy Deggendorfer in remarks at the Sisters On The Road opening at Sisters Art Works last week (see story, page 3).

Last year, Deggendorfer reinforced The Roundhouse Foundation's vision of "Supporting Creative Thinking" by purchasing Pine Meadow Ranch from the family of Dorro Sokol. Development "is like going on a roller-skating date with your grandma," Deggendorfer said. "It's an adventure, but you can't go too fast. It's a slow, methodical process."

Growing the vision at Pine Meadow Ranch will add to a unique part of Sisters history.

"It's also important to the community that the ranch stay in agriculture," Deggendorfer said.

Cows will continue grazing, and organizations like Seed to Table or an heirloom flower group that raises botanicals could have a presence at the ranch. Conservation and sustainability will be a central focus and emphasized long term.

Buildings on the ranch are historically important. Ellis Lawrence, founder of the School of Architecture at the University of Oregon, designed the main house. Lawrence came from Malden, Massachusetts, which is where Dorro Sokol's family originated. Restoration has already begun on the historic elements of the property.

The Foundation is working closely with Deschutes County to ensure that any and all restoration, development, and potential use of the property is within regulations. Roundhouse is also collaborating with local groups to understand and enhance the Whychus Creek watershed, which surrounds the property.

The Roundhouse Foundation has a long-range vision for art residencies that pairs renowned artist-educators with selected students to come to Sisters.

By Helen Schmidling

Exploring the world of regional creative residencies, courtesy of The Roundhouse Foundation, recent works by six Sisters artists are now on exhibit at Sisters Art Works.

Last Thursday evening, these six artists reported on their experiences while studying and making art at residencies all around the country. Then, artist and businesswoman Suzanne Redfield described a mission to Europe's Nordic region that she shared with Kathy Deggendorfer last year, to discover what it takes to create an alliance between art and community. Finally, Deggendorfer, founder and trustee of The Roundhouse Foundation, tied everything together with an updated vision for their recent purchase of Pine Meadow Ranch.

The artists talked about their residencies, beginning with printmakers Dawn Emerson and Carolyn Platt. Together they attended Crow's Shadow Institute for the Arts near Pendleton. They focused on studio time, developing their own work and learning new processes from master printers Frank Janzen and Judy Bauman.

"I was a messy monotype person, but they brought out a whole new procedure for us," Emerson said.

Crow's Shadow, founded by Oregon artist and printmaker James Lavadour, is located on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. It began as a creative conduit for educational, social, and economic opportunity for Native Americans. Over the past 25 years, it has become a world-class studio focusing on contemporary fine art printmaking. Think works by Rick Bartow, Lillian Pitt, Wendy Red Star, and many others.

Photographer Ryder Redfield traveled across the country to Maine Media Workshop + College in Rockport, Maine.

"I was there in winter, and there were hardly any other students on campus," Redfield said.

He is an outdoor kind of guy who specializes in environmental portraiture, travel, adventure and lifestyle photography.

"I love the challenge of a quality outdoor shoot and much prefer working with natural elements as opposed to synthetic lighting," he said.

His mantra is "work hard, play hard," but for a week, he took on the challenge of sitting still at a computer and learning some of the finer techniques of post-processing, including Photoshop. He had a lot to say about the location of the facility, outside of Rockport. One evening, in search of dinner, he hiked 45 minutes through heavy snow to the only open restaurant in town.

"I think Sisters is more amenable to visitors, year round," he said.

Maine Media offers degree and certificate programs in many disciplines focusing on creativity, culture, and human communication.

Sculptor Hannah Tennesen drove cross-country to Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. Her residency program was two full months, which afforded her the opportunity to try her hand at drawing, painting, dyeing cloth, and making a sculpture stand.

"I appreciated learning from other artists about the business of being an artist." Tenneson, a 2016 graduate of Sisters High School, focused on creating earthenware and learned new techniques - sandblasting being her favorite - to finish her creations. She recently moved to Ashland, where she is converting a barn on her sister's property into a pottery studio. Penland, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, has long and short residencies in paper; clay; drawing; glass; metals; photography; printmaking; letterpress; textiles; and wood. Facilities include a dormitory and on-campus meal service.

Painter Ingrid Lustig headed south to Sedona Arts Center. She is used to working in acrylic and pencil, and her subject matter is primarily wolves, bears, raptors, and abstract expressionist landscape. She took a workshop focusing on the live model from painter Robert Burridge.

"He was a very energetic guy and full of interesting information on collage, transfer, color, and how to market work. He was very inspiring and full of encouragement for making art," Lustig said.

She described the studio as low-key but beautiful - a huge room in a 1930s-era apple-packing plant. Sedona Arts Center, founded in 1958, offers classes in a dozen different arts and crafts. Students live in a hotel, and are responsible for their own meals, except lunch. They also bring their own materials to the program.

Closer to home, fiber artist June Jaeger focused on oil painting with instructor Jeff Gunn at Sitka Center for Arts and Ecology near the coast in Otis, Oregon.

"I was free to create, make my own schedule with no interruptions, no TV, no radio, no phone," she said. "The first day, he (Gunn) took my brushes away and gave me little squares of cardboard to paint with. Ultimately, it was very freeing. I'm primarily an art quilter, but I will be doing more painting on fabric. This experience gave me confidence that my knowledge was not just fictitious."

Sitka Center offers one- to five-day intensive residencies in 15 artistic and environmental disciplines, in May through September. Professional artists and ecology experts guide instruction in one of the center's five studios, or outdoors in the natural landscape.

The work created by these six artists is on display in the gallery at Sisters Art Works. Their collective experiences are valuable as research for further development of the arts community in Sisters. Although all of these artists made different choices and lived in various circumstances (campus, hotel, cabin on site), the most important part of the experience, hands down, was having creative time apart from daily distractions. "Working without pressure or distraction," they agreed, makes them more creative artists, and better instructors.

Last year, Suzanne Redfield, Ryder's mother, accompanied Kathy Deggendorfer to explore the arts in Nordic communities in Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. They explored major cities and small towns. She reported back on the creative collaboration between universities, individual artists, and commercial enterprises wherever they traveled. They witnessed a blend of art and science, old and new technology, and general excellence.

"When you build something of quality, it will last," Suzanne Redfield said.

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