News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Community turns out to dedicate new mural

Despite stiff winds last Saturday afternoon, there was an impressive turnout on South Fir Street for the dedication of the heritage mural painted on the side of the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store in honor of Sisters’ 75th anniversary of incorporation.

Representatives of the three organizations that collaborated to make the mural project a reality (Three Sisters Historical Society, Sisters Arts Association, and Habitat for Humanity) were in attendance as well as the artist, Steve DeLaisch, the benefactor, Melanie Nelson, the mayor and city councilors, as well as members of the general public.

The sun shone brightly on the mural wall, highlighting realistic paintings of moments from Sisters’ past, including a Native American encampment in the shadow of the Three Sisters, the former Sorenson’s Motor Lodge, rodeo cowboys, the fire-watch tree that used to stand at the east end of Cascade Avenue, and other treasures of Sisters’ history.

DeLaisch still has five more panels to complete as well as adding finishing touches to others. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate while he works. He has already experienced gusty winds, cold temperatures necessitating extra layers of clothing, and 95-degree days where the artist said the paint began drying as the brush came out of the can and onto the wall.

DeLaisch has thoroughly enjoyed this commission.

“The more I talked with the people in Sisters before even coming to town, the more excited I got about this project,” he said. “You have a great community and getting to know the people has been a real pleasure.”

He has known and worked with the donor of the mural for 40 years in their hometown of Owatonna, Minnesota. Now a resident of Sisters, Nelson was described by the artist as “a dynamic woman with the biggest heart.” He said his “appreciation for her has gotten even deeper while working on this project.” Besides funding the creation of the mural, Nelson has also established a long-term maintenance fund for its upkeep.

“The mural is a wonderful way to celebrate our 75th anniversary of incorporation,” said Sisters Mayor Michael Preedin. “I appreciate the Three Sisters Historical Society, the Sisters Arts Association, and Habitat for Humanity for collaborating on this project. I would like to see organizations do more of this.”

The mayor said he’d like to see more murals around town.

“We need to preserve more of the City’s history on the walls. I’m sad to see the historical society is losing their space. We need to think out of the box to help. The City will help out any way we can.”

City Councilor Nancy Connolly remarked, “It’s nice to see all the organizations pulling together to celebrate our 75th anniversary.”

Councilor Gary Ross believes “the mural is a tremendous asset to the community. As people enter the town, it is highly visible on the side of the building. I think it represents the spirit of the town as it was and is now.”

DeLaisch and his wife, who flew out from Minnesota, spent last weekend experiencing the Oregon coast and other sights.

“Oregon is an exceptional place,” he said.


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