Thursday, April 17, 2008

Art gives back

“Art gives us back what our living takes away.” Don’t remember who said it first. I’m stealing it from Tom Russell.

For some people maybe art is just decoration to hang on the wall. For some people music is just background noise. I don’t understand that. For me, art and music are food and drink; without them I’d starve and waste away.

Good thing I live in Sisters.

Art of all kinds is all around us here. Thanks to the vision of people like Kathy Deggendorfer, art is becoming an economic engine for the community. The schools nurture art and art supports the schools — literally.

Just this month alone artists and musicians will inject tens of thousands of dollars into the school system through My Own Two Hands and Starry Nights.

Art soothes and uplifts; art challenges and disturbs. Art mends your heart and breaks it. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Sometimes it’s perfect and right to simply entertain.

The more you respond to art, the more alive you become.

The well is deep in Sisters and getting deeper and richer all the time. That’s a lot of life given back.

Jim Cornelius, Editor


  1. Wow ! Your article on art is beautifuly written! I am glad you have a job writing! On the other hand...making a living and being an artist(in Sisters) pretty much sucks unless you are willing to become a "systems" artist..(one willing to and adhere to guidelines of others) That my friend is not what art is about..Your explanation of the "deep well" also illustratres the "deep hole" artists must continue to give and give and give to what ?? A school system that is corrupt...(the million and 1/2dollars over a poorly implemented and questionable program.. A good faith bond with-out voter's approval..A rich art maven who has the wealth and connections to put forth a "vision"..Great! art in the school is not a bad thing does put forth an effort to catch the bad kids..Please look @ last week's Nugget's front-page..We are losing alot of children here or no art..I hope and continue to pursue "art" because it is who I am ..but again artists are continued to adhere to a "label"..I think it would be a good idea for "My own 2 Hands" to disclose the finacial information as to how many "artists " they are actually employing..and what their "take" is with all this donation by artists.It seems that only few are profiting as the teachers in"art and music " already have pretty good jobs here in terms of job security,benefits and insurance .Don't get me wrong ..but I have had to sacrifice and give up my "art" career to raise my children here and what does that really give you? is like politics ..mediocrity at best..

  2. Dear Anonymous – You speak of making a living and being an artist in Sisters pretty much sucks unless you are a system artist. Does that mean your work does not sell in its current form/flavor or you haven't been successful finding a means to market it. Maybe the art you produce is better sold in other areas with a larger market share for your art. Art is art and doesn't necessarily have to sell. Since you connected the dots from art to making a living I'm going to assume that you value the ability to sell your product and part of the success of being an artist and making a living is based on selling art as a product. Products sell. Some products sell due to marketing. Some products sell because mechanizers place them in front of the buying public. Some products sell because there is an appeal for the product. Some products don't sell because they are of poor quality, provide no “value” (and not necessarily monetary value) to the buyer. Some products sell because the producer is connected with the buyer in some form and typically the producer produces their product in ways that interest the buyer. You call this “one willing to and adhere to guidelines of others” -- I call it understanding the market and making a choice as an artist if changes in the work are necessarily need to make the product sellable. If you choose not to make those changes then don't critize those that do wish to market to a larger audience.

    You speak of the “Deep Hole” and giving. Yes there have been issues but does stop giving to the art and music programs in Sisters solve the problems or create others? As an artist, person and business owner (the selling of your art) you have choices. If you support the My Own Two Hands programs then give/donate art or better yet give money. If you can't do either then volunteer – make a difference. Attend meetings, attend school board meetings and try to make an impact and difference. Get involved.

    Yes there has been recent issues with youth in Sisters. My understanding of the situation and rumors I've heard here in Bend is that the major issues have been with recent out of area transplants vs long time families. This doesn't justify or minimize the issues. I would suggest that you investigate the impact of the American Project and how many kids the program has “saved” or impacted over the last years and see how the fund raising of the My Own Two Hands project has made a difference. A difference due to artists like you , art buyers and supporters of the greater Sisters community. Here in Bend, The Americana Project is making a difference and it couldn't survive with out community involvement.

    You said: “It seems that only few are profiting as the teachers in"art and music " already have pretty good jobs here in terms of job security,benefits and insurance.” My response: What value do you put on the impact the teachers have on the kids they teach, the extra programs they can implement due to the funds from the My Own Two Hands projects. Who purchased the guitars for the schools? Who or what funds made it possible to add an additional music program in the middle and elementary schools in Sisters?

    I may be off base here but what I read in your comments is a --- “Poor is Me and I can't sell my art because I wish to I hold to my “ethics” of doing art for art sake.” Nothing wrong with holding to your ethics however you are making choices that impact your livelihood. Maybe for you to successfully make a living as an artist you need to make changes – Changes in your approach to “Selling your services” or the product you sell or the exposure of your product. Maybe it's time for you to take more risk and invest in marketing your product. Isn't this what any business does whether or not they are a “labeled” or “system artists.”

    Art is like religion and politics – Full of opinions and options.


  3. bender ..I am involved ..I do donate time ,energy,attend school board meetings and continue to be an artist regardless of the economical limitations of central Oregon . I'm so glad to have made you think and comment as to me ,that is what "art" should do.And like politics and religion art can also be full of zealots and corruptness so I will continue to ask questions ...poor me? ..I only want to paint a picure that all is not all so well and rosy as it seems here in "Rivercity"..please comment on how our school has been robbed(the million.5 issue) and and put forth effort on justifying this rather than questioning me about "marketing" art. Your information about "long time families" versus new transplants is deeply flawed and misinformed. I also hope you will put your energy into researching the facts and understand that throwing money at something doesn't solve the problem. Yes I have seen teachers here and administrators affect my children.For every one that have affected them positivly there have been three that have taken away the joy of learning and a system that no longer is effective. I have taken my youngest out of public school and he is currently flourishing.Thank-you for your comments and your blog picture is hilarious!

  4. I just called in to SOAR responding to their add for artists to teach a 2 to 3 hour class for an unknown number of teens (I asked about class size)..I was informed there is no pay? Not in the budget..What other profession is that offered to?!