News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters Folk Festival poster bears up

Sisters Folk Festival (SFF) canceled the March 18 concert with Kacy & Clayton and the SFF poster unveiling after closely monitoring information and advice coming from state and federal health officials in respect of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Although the SFF poster unveiling was postponed/cancelled, the 2020 SFF poster image, “Beargrass,” by local artist and musician Dennis McGregor has been released.

This year marks the 24th anniversary of the Sisters Folk Festival and the 20th year that McGregor has been commissioned to paint original artwork for the annual SFF poster image that attracts thousands of people to the three-day music festival.

This year McGregor’s artwork depicts three whimsical bear musicians playing their stringed instruments in a meadow full of beargrass with the Three Sisters Mountains as the backdrop.

McGregor told The Nugget, “People like bears, especially when they are doing human things. Any banjo player will immediately note that the black bear is a left-handed picker, also known as a southpaw. That’s why she’s in front of South Sister. The grizzly is just happy to be sporting his finger picks and the polar is giving her best performance despite her stress of her homeland melting.”

The bears are in a field of beargrass, a tall clublike plant whose flowers form a large white ball at its very top. Beargrass is known for growing in mountain meadows throughout the western U.S.

McGregor said his meaning behind all the beargrass is really bluegrass.

Three diverse bear musicians all performing bluegrass, now that’s synonymous with the Sisters Folk Festival.

Crista Munro, executive director of Sisters Folk Festival, said she’s admired McGregor’s work for a long time.

She noted, “Getting to watch his process of designing a poster for Sisters Folk Festival was a real treat. I love the designs he’s done in the past that feature animals — birds one year, of course the dogs and the edgy buck. When Dennis shared his concept of using bears in this year’s design, I couldn’t wait to see what he came up with.

“The final image is beyond what I could have imagined,” she added. “The detailing and artistry of the painting is wonderful, but beyond that there are fun little details for the observer to discover. Dennis is very thoughtful about all the elements in his work and likes to include clever (and often subtle) references. I like the way Dennis whimsically included three different kinds of bears, even two species not found in the Oregon Cascades. I see it as a nod to the diversity of performers on the SFF lineup. And that’s the beauty of Dennis’ work: everyone can interpret it in their own way. It’s just great art.”


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