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Stunning Fine Art from Around North America at Art in the High Desert

by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor


Read more: Stunning Fine Art from Around North America at Art in the High DesertThe grassy banks of the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District come alive the last weekend of August every year for one of the premier fine art shows in the country: Art in the High Desert (AHD). Recently ranked among the top 15 shows in the nation, AHD’s vision is simple: to bring truly original fine art and craft to Central Oregon.


“These artists bring with them a wealth of stories and accolades as well as amazing art,” commented Show Director Carla Fox. Of the over 100 hand-picked visual artists coming to Bend from 19 states and British Columbia for the weekend, over half will be attending for the first time.


The variety and quality of art are an important part of what makes this show so special, along with the leadership of AHD founders and local artists Dave and Carla Fox. Art in the High Desert and the Foxes were recently featured on Oregon Art Beat, the Public Broadcasting’s regional art program. An artist-run show is a fairly unique situation, and as show artists themselves, the couple are able to bring an appreciated level of expertise to the event.


“The show is run by artists that are familiar with doing good art festivals,” commented Marla Baggetta, a four-year Art in the High Desert artist and Cascade A&E cover artist. “It makes all the difference. The artists are really honored guests and treated very well.”


The artists invited to the August 22-24 show are chosen from one of 14 media categories: 2-D mixed media, metal work, painting, 3-D mixed media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, print making, digital art, drawing, wearables, fiber non-wearables, glass, wood and jewelry.

Shelli Walters Explores the Playful Nature of Collage & Color

Read more: Shelli Walters Explores the Playful Nature of Collage & Colorby RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor


The playful and exploratory nature of Shelli Walters’ artwork manifests in dramatic colors; the layers of collage build to reveal vibrant images of beauty that are strong graphical works, a nod to her 20 years as a successful graphic designer.


“A painting is basically just a design,” Walters explained. “I think it makes me a better painter and designer to [create both] in tandem.”


Walters has painted her whole life. She was born in Montana, but early in life moved to Seaside, Oregon and then Bend. When it came time for college, she teetered on the decision of art school, but ultimately choose to pursue graphic design at Linn-Benton Community College as it provided more stability in a career. “I thought that I could always paint on the side,” she explained. “I love designing, and love doing it, it’s been a really fun and rewarding career.”


Read more: Shelli Walters Explores the Playful Nature of Collage & ColorShe has worked at local firm DVA Advertising and Public Relations for most of her career, but when she turned 40 the realization hit that time was flying by and she hadn’t devoted much spare time to her painting. “Turning 40 really motivated me to get back into it. It has been five years now, and I’m still working hard to get my skills back.”


Walters likes to explore other artistic disciplines: fused glass, sculpture and jewelry are all interests of hers, but found that making jewelry was hard on her hands. “It became really quite painful, and knew I couldn’t sustain it. Everything directed me back into painting.


“One of my favorite sayings about painting is you have to create a lot of really bad paintings to get a good one. You want things to go a certain way and you have to work through it and let go, then you are that much closer to the one you want.”


Walters began her journey back into painting with the help of classes and workshops; one of her most inspiring sessions was with painter Robert Burridge through the Art in the Mountains workshop series. “He has been really influential, I’ve taken three of his workshops now,” she said. “He is inspiring, at 70 years old he is this fireball and incredibly fun and energetic, and real and nurturing. I learned so much from him, he has a similar background as an industrial designer until he [started painting when he] hit 40; I feel a connection to him…It was a process to get back, but it’s been extremely joyful and rewarding.”

The Vibrant Palette of Karen Bandy

by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor


Read more: The Vibrant Palette of Karen Bandy Color is pivotal to Karen Bandy’s artwork. Whether choosing a gem for one of her custom designed pieces of jewelry, or layering paint on canvas in her newer foray as a painter, her use of color drives both disciplines. The result? Vibrant works of art that have garnered awards and accolades both nationally and internationally.

While Bandy has been a professional jeweler for almost 30 years, her painting career is much younger, having picked up the brush about nine years ago. Both disciplines are influenced by her life-long love of art and continually inspired by time spent in nature.
Growing up in Portland, she explored creative outlets like stringing beads and, “aggravating her mother [by] playing in the wax of burning candles, fashioning miniature sculptures.” In high school her wax art took on more structure as she began experimenting with wax model carving and lost wax casting, both foundational disciplines in the art of custom designed jewelry.

“I went to the University of Oregon and took lots of jewelry classes, but wasn’t sure of my direction then,” she said. Bandy graduated with a degree in art education and proceeded to teach art in Eugene on the junior high level for three years.

Read more: The Vibrant Palette of Karen Bandy A casualty of the recession of the ‘80s, her job was eliminated and she chose to move back to Portland to join her boyfriend (and later husband Scott Linden). In the Rose City she began working for a jewelry store where she was inducted into all disciplines of the business including sales, advertising and customer service. “It was a great education,” she said.

A year spent in Sacramento, California prior to her move to Bend in 1987 helped cement her interest in the jewelry business as she became the designer for a three-chain jewelry store. “That’s really how I focused,” she explained. “I took all of those elements [I learned in Portland and Sacramento and used them to] open my business in Bend.”

Hope Infused with Color & Light at the Heart of Cindy Briggs’ Art

by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor


Read more: Hope Infused with Color & Light at the Heart of Cindy Briggs’ ArtThe Signature artwork for the Deschutes Children’s Foundation’s (DCF) Art & Wine Auction on May 3, Cindy Brigg’s Terrazza in Toscana, ties together multiple ideas of home. Home is what the artist feels at her retreat in Tuscany, Italy, where a landscape of rolling hills and vineyards brings to mind her local view of the expansive Cascade Mountains, and home is at the core of the Deschutes Children’s Foundation’s annual fundraiser as it enables the organization to provide a home for 28 nonprofit partners around the high desert.

“Cindy was so willing to support us, I have admired her work and knew she would be able to create something special,” commented DCF’s Development Director Amy Ward.

The artist has supported the Foundation’s mission with both artwork and monetary donations since 2002 and holds the mission close to her heart. “The Deschutes Children’s Foundation from the very beginning has been at the top of my list for what they do for the community, I personally know children that have benefited,” Briggs explained.

Read more: Hope Infused with Color & Light at the Heart of Cindy Briggs’ Art“I have an amazing view of the Cascades from my home in Bend. I feel peace and serenity here, and I also felt at home in Tuscany…Italy continues to beckon me – the luminescent light, old world architecture, welcoming locals and beautiful landscapes are an artist’s dream,” she shared.

Briggs brings a lifetime of artistic influence to her work and has created a career surrounding her passion in which travel creates the framework for much of her art.

She enjoys painting alla prima (in one sitting) and take advantage of the spontaneity that watercolor invites. “My painting method is a bit serendipitous – mixing, mingling and manipulating the colors for subtle nuances and unexpected color transitions, then add calligraphy and finesse the edges. After I’ve started a painting I may paint non-stop into the night completely unaware of the time,” Briggs explained. “Watercolor inspires my soul – like life – the more I make the most of its unpredictable qualities the more interesting it becomes. With each painting my goal is to reverently capture the essence of my subject and infuse it with dynamic color and light.”

A recent cancer survivor, Briggs has embraced the simple joy of painting and the peace it has brought into her life. “Now that I’m a survivor it’s a part of who I am, and I want people to know that there is hope…The painting Terrazza in Toscana has a sense of hope for me.” The turmoil of the disease has led her to follow her heart and to paint what she truly cares about: the time that she has and the value of life.

“We feel blessed to be able to honor Cindy as the Signature Artist,” said Kim McNamer, DCF executive director. “She has been extremely generous beyond the Signature piece, offering guidance and other help. The generosity of the artists continues to be the key to the success of the auction.”

Terpsichorean Embodies the Love of Dance & Welcomes New Owner

by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor


Read more: Terpsichorean Embodies the Love of Dance & Welcomes New OwnerIt was the love of dance that drove Carolyn Brant to found the Terpsichorean Dance Studio & Company almost 40 years ago, and through her passion generations of dancers have come to exemplify the spirit of Terpsichorean.


Named for Terpsichore, one of the nine muses of Greek mythology meaning “delight in dancing,” the studio has grown from its humble beginnings in the basement of Brant’s home, to a beautiful 2,000 square foot space on Newport Avenue.


“I had danced all my life,” Brant explained, “and when I moved to Bend there were no dance studios.” She drew on her years of private study in Eugene and a college career in dance, choreography and dance education at Stephens College in Missouri and the University of Oregon, to open the doors of Terpsichorean in 1975.


Brant had six students for her first class, two of them her own children. “I had a little area down in the basement of the house we lived in, and I started teaching there,” she explained. “The next year I had probably 12 or 15 students, and every year after that it kept growing.”

She continued teaching in her remodeled garage for 20 years before buying the property on Newport Avenue in 1995. “My big success was finding that property at a perfect time,” she said. “We needed to grow.”


At the start Brandt taught ballet and tap, and as she became familiar with other dancers and teachers, she grew her staff and classes offered. Currently students of all ages can learn ballet, point, lyrical/contemporary, tap, jazz, hip hop, modern, creative movement and tumbling classes.


“Two of my teachers have been with me almost 20 years,” she said. “I have a really dedicated staff who have all either been with me for years or grew up in the studio.”


Brandt has given her all over the years and has decided it is time to slow things down a bit and retire. She is selling the studio to Dakota Weeda, a former student and current teacher who has grown up at Terpsichorean.