News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

MOTH announces award winners

Sisters Folk Festival (SFF) is getting ready to host its largest annual fundraiser and community arts celebration, My Own Two Hands. The event will be held virtually May 10-15. Proceeds from the event support SFF’s mission of strengthening community and transforming lives through music and art.

Selecting this year’s MOTH award winners was both challenging and humbling with nearly 80 incredible pieces of art donated by generous artists and organizations to choose from, SFF reported.

Awards of Excellence

Design Award — Toni Del Guidice’s mixed media original, aptly titled “Holding Hope” was chosen for the 2021 My Own Two Hands poster art.

“Holding Hope is literal to me: Hope for our planet. Hope for the pandemic. Hope for integrity in government. Hope for equity,” she said.

Theme Award – Jan Hansson’s wood sculpture on swiveling platform, “Together We Are Hopeful.”

“Born and raised in Sweden, I am inspired by the clean lines of Scandinavian design,” Hansson said. “Less can often tell you more. I hope to inspire people to look beyond the sculpture itself.”

Awards of Merit

• David Rock’s acrylic painting on board, Chrysalis.

“A monarch butterfly chrysalis,” Rock explained. “It seems to me to be the epitome of ‘Holding Hope.’ A cocoon is a perfect symbol of the promise of re-creation from old to new, from past to future. Yet the form itself is completely alien to its previous existence or future manifestation. It is at once: sarcophagus, jewel, and egg. The image in this painting is separated from any reference to the natural world so that it can be considered and contemplated on its own.”

• Bob Wade’s ballpoint drawing of a Sisters Folk Festival fan favorite, Ron Artis II (Framed by Clearwater Gallery and Framing, a MOTH Framing Sponsor). Wade describes his use of medium: “I draw the dark and let the light show through.”

• Mary Jo Weiss and Dennis Tower’s collaboration in their pendant, “Hope Grows.”

Weiss and Tower have traditionally collaborated for MOTH each year to put together a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry that combines Denny’s lapidary arts and Mary Jo’s jewelry design skills.

“To us, combining beautiful natural stones with outstanding jewelry design brings beauty, inspiration and hope,” they said in an artists’ statement. “Of special note, inscribed on the back of the piece through the silver backing is an iris, which is the flower of hope.”

• Lawrence Stoller’s illuminated gemstone sculpture, “Frozen Sky.”

Stoller explained, “I was first drawn to working with crystals because of their beauty, mystery, and mysticism. What started as a fascination led me on a verdant path through the fields of mineralogy, technology, art, metaphysics and healing.”

Americana Folk Award

Carly Garzón Vargas was honored for her dynamic papercut, “Our Hands, Our Work” (framed by Wildflower Studio, a MOTH Framing Sponsor).

“We have a lot of work to do moving towards the world we hope for,” Vargas said. “These hands hold some of the tools for music-making and hope-building. I hold onto the hope that we will stay in the struggle and expand who is truly included in our community.”

Spirit of Giving Award

Tony Cosby, Engineering, Construction and Woods teacher at Sisters High School

Cosby has provided inspiration and hope for so many aspiring creators, builders, and students. He co-created the Americana Luthier Project with Jayson Bowerman at Sisters High School in 2005, and has since built more than 450 handmade acoustic guitars, and helped create the ukulele-building program with the late Bill MacDonald, helping to finish some 175 handmade ukuleles built by students.

“Tony connects with his students as a friend and mentor and provides for them a ‘home’ in his classroom,” SFF stated. “He gives tirelessly to the school community. Continually improving and seeking best practices for classroom engagement, Tony has successfully combined engineering, math, music, construction, and adventure recreation for more than two decades to inspire students, showing that the Spirit of Giving is alive and well in this tremendous teacher and friend. Tony – along with his students and dedicated volunteers — has produced a guitar, an Adirondack chair and/or a ukulele every year for the past 10 years in support of My Own Two Hands.”

Ben Westlund Advocate for the Arts Award — Cascade A & E

Cascade A & E has been showcasing and promoting the arts and entertainment scene in Central Oregon since 1995, with a print and online magazine. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the creative economy in a big way, resulting in significant ad-revenue loss for the publication over the past year.

Despite this challenge, publisher Jeff Martin and his team have soldiered on, even as other arts-focused magazines around the state have folded under the financial strain.

SFF noted, “Sisters Folk Festival acknowledges Cascade A & E’s generosity toward our organization and many others throughout their 26-year history, and we are thrilled to honor them with the 2021 Ben Westlund Advocate for the Arts Award for their dedication and ongoing contributions to Central Oregon’s thriving arts community.”


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