Once again the High Desert Museum is unveiling a stunning collection of western-inspired art, both traditional and contemporary, in the Museum’s annual Art of the West exhibition. The exhibit and silent auction for Art of the West opened July 31 with an artists’ reception and culminates on August 23 at the annual High Desert Rendezvous.
“This year we will showcase works by several artists who haven’t exhibited with us before, including Caely Brandon from San Francisco, Julie Oriet from Wyoming and Sherry Salari Sander from Montana,” said Faith Powell, curator of collections at the High Desert Museum. “We also have Travis Humphreys from Utah and some local favorites, including Marty Stewart of Bend.”
Art of the West features more than 30 paintings and sculptures from well-known regional and local artists. The public is invited to view the work and bid on individual pieces any time before the Rendezvous event. Minimum bids for the art range from $250 to $5,280, with proceeds helping support the Museum’s educational programs.
Art of the West is an important part of the 25th Annual High Desert Rendezvous, the Museum’s primary fundraiser of the year. The educational programming offered by the museum ranges from discovery classes and tours that take school children through the historical and natural environment of the area, to learning expeditions which offer free materials for a focused course of exploration during museum visits. Eighty-six percent of the museum’s funding goes towards education.
Rendezvous Harnesses the Spirit of the West
On August 23 the High Desert Museum will be transformed into an early 1900’s saloon for the High Desert Rendezvous. The Gala will be decked out with all the Western trimmings: a wild west BBQ supper, wildlife encounters and living history personalities as well as a hosted bar, live music and a lively dance floor.
The 25th annual event is the main fundraiser for the Museum’s educational programs, and in 2013 over $240,000 was raised by over 300 guests.
Twenty-five years ago, High Desert Museum founder Don Kerr, along with Lesley and Matt Day, of Hooker Creek Ranch, formed a partnership to create one of Central Oregon’s most time-honored and exciting traditions: High Desert Rendezvous. The initial Rendezvous created a popular and truly exceptional experience for supporters and helped Don Kerr, whose family has deep roots in Portland, attract supporters from all over the state. Renowned for its live rodeo events, western games and an unforgettable evening, the High Desert Rendezvous became a highly successful fundraiser for the High Desert Museum’s well-know educational programs.
“Because this is a banner year, we will be giving guests an experience they will never forget,” said Heather Vihstadt, director of development for the Museum. “Enjoy the Spirits of the High Desert — taste gins, vodkas and other liquors from distilleries around the region. Learn about the history of these — their journey in the High Desert to today.”
Guests will bid on live and silent auction items for Western art, jewelry and fabulous adventures and vacations created specially for the Rendezvous.
The event starts at 5pm, tickets are $350 per couple (includes a family membership) and $200 for one person (includes an individual membership), museum members: $150 per person. Sponsorship packages start at $2,000. 541-382-4754, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.highdesertrendezvous.net
Painting Oregon’s Harvest
The Art of Kathy Deggendorfer Opens August 30 at the High Desert Museum
by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
Kathy Deggendorfer’s popular watercolors have been called “whimsical, happy and vibrant,” and her upcoming exhibit at the High Desert Museum, Painting Oregon’s Harvest, is best described as delicious.
For the last several years Deggendorfer has been travelling throughout Oregon capturing scenes that revolve around locally grown food. Included are images from Eastern Oregon ranches, Willamette Valley vineyards and berry farms, Hood River orchards, costal fishing ports and even a distillery in Central Oregon.
The result is a collection of paintings that will make your mouth water; brilliant marionberries from Stahlbush Island Farms, Rocky Knoll pears ripening on the tree, sheep and cattle grazing in the fields, salmon and crab from Fishhawk Fisheries in Astoria, plus a bounty of other homegrown delights from around the state.
“The whole concept of the series is about celebrating Oregon farmers,” Deggendorfer said. “A few years ago I got invited to stay with a farm family in Illinois and paint, and [saw that Illinois] had completely given over to corporate farming. It was a shock to the system,” she explained. “I decided I needed to use my art to tell the story of Oregon farming, of our love of the land…and I came up with a concept to paint a 12 course meal.”
Deggendorfer began her tour of Oregon with a trip to the vineyards in the Dundee, Oregon area to paint plein air at Sokol Blosser and Red Ridge Farms. “I painted for three days and the wine makers took us out to dinner; we sat around harvest table and talked about how each of us came to this passion… part of my whole idea is to talk to people, to get the essence of [why they farm].”
Other trips included painting peaches in Kimberly, cranberries in Bandon, cherries in Hood River and sheep in Shaniko. “Mostly my criteria was that it had to be farms that were actually producing things people could buy. The concept was I would help them tell the story through my art.”
Drawn to the stories of the people and the land, she found one of the most resonating experiences came from her trip to the Gilkerson Orchards in Hood River. “Patty Gilkerson is of Japanese descent and [shared that] she had been sent to an internment camp during World War II, but she still came back to Hood River after that experience and raised cherries with her son. Often great stories go hand in hand with the landscape.”
Deggendorfer has found plenty of inspiration while traveling all over the state. “The trip to Bandon to paint cranberries was a visual explosion,” she exclaimed. “That blue sky over the coastal range, and the coastal pines and acres of brilliant floating red cranberries was real eye candy. It was so fun to go down there.”
Her piece on the cover of Cascade A&E, painted at the Imperial Stock Ranch in Shaniko, was created using the color pallet of the yarn the ranch makes each year; custom colored to reflect the ranch’s unique high-desert landscape, the wool is specially milled without harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures and lends to a rich range of 29 different colors.
An opening reception with Deggendorfer will be held at the Museum on Thursday, August 28 at 6pm and is free to the public.
In addition to the art exhibition, a culinary event will be a special treat. The Museum will host Deggendorfer and Chef TR McCrystal from Jen’s Garden in Sisters. The Harvest Dinner, slated for Saturday, October 4, will honor the farmers and ranchers involved in the new exhibit.
“This dinner and exhibition is a rare opportunity to increase exposure for the farm-to-market movement and help these local producers thrive,” said Faith Powell, exhibit curator. “Kathy is very passionate about promoting the farms and ranches of Oregon, and TR McCrystal is passionate about cooking with local ingredients. It’s going to be amazing.”
The Harvest Dinner is expected to sell out fast. See the Museum website for more information. www.highdesertmuseum.org/harvest-dinner