News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters history and art on display

It’s not the New Hampshire Primary, or even the Iowa Caucus, but voters in Sisters Country are heading to the little ballot box in the Sisters Library. Voting ends on Friday, January 24. The results will determine this year’s People’s Choice Awards at the library’s Annual Art Exhibit, sponsored by the Friends of Sisters Library. Results will be announced during a reception in the library from 6 to 7:30 p.m., with hors d’oeuvres and beverages, coinciding with the Sisters Arts Association’s Fourth Friday Artwalk.

Across town, the Artwalk starts at 4 p.m., so folks will have plenty of time to look back at the history of Sisters, by visiting the Three Sisters Historical Society’s pop-up museum. Set up in the lobby of Sisters Art Works at 204 W. Adams Ave., the first-ever mini-museum setup packs a powerful slice of history into a compact space.

“This is a start on what we hope will become a permanent museum, when we have our own space,” said Karen Swank, secretary of the Historical Society.

The exhibit did not just “pop up” overnight, however. The contents date back more than 100 years, but the presentation is fresh and attention-grabbing.

Take the Vintage Kitchen Tool Challenge. Nine old kitchen tools are displayed in a glass case. Can you guess what they are, and how they were used? Some are easy; some are going to stump you. A guide will tell you if your guess is correct.

Some of those vintage kitchen tools were no doubt used on the “Deschutes Netted Gem,” a high-quality russet potato grown locally. At its peak in the 1950s, there were 5,000 acres devoted to growing international award-winning spuds. Once a major export of Central Oregon, the “Netted Gem” fizzled out when it was no longer economically viable. A hundred-pound potato sack is a souvenir of that era.

You may want to hop up onto a pair of logging springboards, but it’s a risky venture. A wall mural shows how they were set into small notches in the tree. Tree fallers balance on the springboards, ready to use the two-man crosscut saw to finish the job. The first aid box from Harold Barclay Logging’s “crummy” is part of the logging display. A “crummy” was the old or converted truck used to transport loggers to and from work. The first aid box needs no further definition. You can also read about Leonard Lundgren’s lumber company.

There are records of several early homesteads here, including familiar names like Fryrear, Cyrus, Edgington, Varco, and VU. Meredith and Maida Rossiter Bailey owned VU, so named for the VIEW of the Three Sisters. It was eventually sold to Richard Patterson, who raised Arabian horses there. It’s now the Cole Ranch.

Returning this spring are historical walking tours of downtown Sisters. A large plotted map of the downtown core, surveyed by Lumbermens Insurance Agency, dates from August 1942. Surrounding the map are individual photographs of downtown businesses and business people, including Maida Bailey (from VU Ranch) with an early Deschutes County Library Bookmobile.

Historical Society volunteers will be on hand as docents and will be selling memberships, books, and Ray Eyerly prints.

After your history lesson, you might stroll to some other galleries that are open for the Artwalk, including Hood Avenue Art, where the show of small, affordable works by the gallery’s artists continues. At The Collection Gallery, Gary Cooley will talk about new painting techniques for his bronze sculptures with all who are interested. You can also stop by The Clearwater Gallery, Wildflower Studio, Dyrk Godby Gallery, Good Day Café, Sisters Cascade, and Antler Arts Gallery.

Some of the galleries are taking a break this month, including The Stitchin’ Post, and Sisters Gallery and Frame Shop. The monthly Quick Draw is also on hiatus until March.

Be sure to wrap up your evening at the Sisters Library, where 139 works of art created by your friends and neighbors await your perusal. Friends of the Library will welcome you in the lobby, past the art on the walls and to the display cases that are filled with hand-crafted jewelry, pottery, wooden boxes, and more. Quilts hang in the center of the library, and art is cleverly hung in the Community Room, Computer Room, Children’s Room, and Fireside Room. Refreshments will be served.

Zoe Schumacher, supervisor of the Sisters Library, said that this year’s Community Show is drawing plenty of visitors, “right from day one, and even on stormy days.” Most of the artwork and fine crafts are for sale, with a portion of the sale price going to the Friends.

Both the History of Sisters display and the Community Exhibit will remain available through February. The Three Sisters Historical Society pop-up show can be seen whenever the Art Works building is open. The Library is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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