Meet local artists on studio tour


Last updated 9/14/2022 at Noon

Cousins Melissa Cole and Kimry Jelen created art in their youth.PHOTO PROVIDED

Sisters will celebrate the arts by joining the Sisters Arts Association’s (SAA) Sixth Annual Artist Studio Tour on Saturday and Sunday, September 24- 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year, 32 artists will be featured in 19 locations in and around Sisters Country. The Studio Tour follows SAA’s monthly Fourth Friday Art Walk.

While many of the artists will be in their home studios, some will be sharing studio space. Kimry Jelen, beloved painter of magical and colorful horses, will unveil her new Farmhouse Studio by hosting her cousin Melissa Cole, from Spokane, Washington, and local artist Linda Barker from Redmond.

Jelen recently moved to 68810 Holmes Road, at the corner of Highway 126. The 1890 farmhouse was rolled to its current site on ponderosa logs back in 1920, and it eventually became the original homestead at Emboldened Equine, owned by Alison Weston. Downstairs there is a gallery and studio space, dedicated to creating art. Jelen, who lives upstairs, is immersed in all things equine. She has her own horse and three in training at the farm. The horses have playdates that inspire Jelen’s new paintings. She will show new work and work in progress.

Jelen began her career in fashion design, but eventually settled on living with and painting horses, fulfilling a dream that began as a young child. She paints with her heart and with her hands, incorporating the beauty of this area, and of her many animal friends. She has shown her work at the World Equestrian Games in France and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse show. Currently she is one of many artists whose work is at Sisters Gallery and Frame Shop, and also at Absolute Horse in Bend.

Cole and Jelen, whose mothers are sisters, grew up together as cousins, three months apart in age, in Albany, Oregon. Cole’s mother was an artist, her father a pilot, so she also spent time in London and India. An Oregon State graduate, she volunteered for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, followed by work as a diving instructor in the Virgin Islands, where she created large-scale murals of Caribbean sea creatures. In Mexico, she met her photographer husband, Brandon Cole, and they were married in the Seychelles. A year later, they moved to Spokane.

Cole began to take her art career seriously in Spokane.

She read Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” and completed Cameron’s exercises in art and creativity.

She bought “Art Marketing 101” to help herself navigate the art world.

Over the past 20 years, she has worked one-on-one with many artists in many genres, in many countries.

Her primary medium is acrylic paint on wood with fused glass and stone accents.

Her fused glass tile could be created by a group of women she met in India, from a trip to Murano, Italy, or from her own kiln.

She has gathered stones with her mother on the Oregon coast, and from a bluff in Tasmania.

Her art is as multicolored as her life’s experience.

Linda Barker, an eclectic artist whose art supplies come from thrift stores, garage sales, and scrap yards, will join Jelen and Cole at the Farmhouse Studio. Mostly self-taught, Barker enjoys working in a variety of media. Her focus is on creating unique, stylish clothing and jewelry using repurposed materials. Her art reflects her value of protecting the environment by making art from things that others have tossed out. Each of her works represents her own sense of style.

Like Jelen, Cole, and Barker, all of the artists on the tour represent some of the best in art, design, and fabrication in this area. All belong to Sisters Arts Association, which coordinates the annual event. A printed Studio Tour Guide will be available in all of the galleries in Sisters, and at locations including the Chamber of Commerce, local restaurants and lodging, and at several other businesses.

The galleries in Sisters are: Hood Avenue Art; Clearwater Gallery; Metals Jewelry Studio; Wildflower Studio; Beacham’s Clock Company; Sisters Gallery & Frame Shop; Toriizaka Art; Raven Makes Gallery; Stitchin’ Post Fabric Arts Gallery; The Jewel; Cindy and Duncan Campbell Gallery; and Canyon Creek Pottery.

Melissa Cole and Kimry Jelen will be featured together in the Sisters Arts Association’s sixth annual Artist Studio Tour, PHOTO PROVIDED

There is no charge for art lovers to take this studio tour. Pick up a tour guide at one of the galleries and plan your route. All of the artist studio locations are listed and mapped in the tour guide, as well as on the SAA website, Blue and white roadside signs with bright red arrows will help you find the routes.

As you visit each artist’s studio, you may sign up for SAA’s Quick Draw, which will award two gift certificates of $100, good for purchase of art from any Studio Tour artist. The winners will be drawn after the tour, and be notified by phone and email.

Local volunteers, artists, and others who believe that arts are an important part of a thriving community formed Sisters Arts Association in 2015. In addition to the annual Studio Tour, SAA sponsors Fourth Friday Art Walks through the galleries, promotes and contributes to art education in local schools, and coordinates public art such as the historic mural on the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store. To learn more or to get involved, visit


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