BendBend-La Pine teacher’s artwork selected for 2023 Sunriver Music Festival

Bend-La Pine teacher’s artwork selected for 2023 Sunriver Music Festival

Bend-La Pine teacher’s artwork selected for 2023 Sunriver Music Festival

Sunriver festival art maria leistad

A Sunriver teacher who is the reigning Bend-La Pine School District Educator of the Year now has another distinction. Her artwork has been selected as Sunriver Music Festival’s poster artwork for 2023.

Maria Leistad‘s “Sunriver’s Trumpeter” is an 18×24 acylic creation on canvas. The Sunriver Music Festival said it will appear for auction at their annual fundraiser in July.

Reproductions will appear on the cover of all materials for the Aug. 4-17 festival in Bend and Sunriver.

Leistad, who is a second grade teacher at Three Rivers School in Sunriver, was named the district’s Educator of the Year last October.

The festival posted this statement from Leistad explaining her artwork.

“As a child, I remember our family hikes through the gray-green, shrub steppe near the Glass Buttes east of Bend. Best after a rainstorm, when the scent of sage and rabbitbrush filled the air. My hands sticky with resin while searching the junipers for their jade-blue berries. I liked to fill my pockets with them. Let them sift through my fingers like sand. I scanned the ground for shiny, black obsidian shards, and maybe even an arrowhead. My siblings and I searched for caches of creamy-white limestone, its chalky texture perfect for tracing treasure maps on stone. And when you squinted your eyes against a sudden warm wind, gritty with Central Oregon dust, you might catch glimpses of the fluorescent yellow lichen that grew on the gnarled branches and volcanic rock, dotting the landscape. 

It is this memory, in this place that has always been my home, that makes my hands itch to make art.

I grew up in a family of artists and makers. Grandparents who crafted with wood. One of my grandmothers, a gifted wildlife artist. My parents instilled in me the value of hard work and ingenuity. There wasn’t a solution to a problem that my dad couldn’t and still can’t fix or make with his hands. My mom is a talented seamstress, jeweler, and seer of just the right color. I credit wonderful teachers throughout my Bend-La Pine education for nurturing my creativity and imagination: Marcy Monte, Catherine Cummings, Sally Winter, Christie McCormick and so many others.
While I knew from a young age that I wanted to be an artist, my path has meandered, greatly influencing how I see and appreciate the world. I have two Masters in Education and a smattering of post-baccalaureate classes in drawing, painting and ceramics. My days are divided between endeavors that give me opportunities to incorporate my artistic interests. My husband Jason and I are co-owners of Village Bike & Ski in Sunriver. I am also a second-grade teacher at Three Rivers School.

And so, I make the most of and cherish those few hours each week when I do get to pick up a paintbrush. As an artist, my style continues to evolve. My preferred mediums are pen and ink, watercolor and acrylic. I tend towards realistic depictions of wildlife; my landscapes are more impressionistic in style. I am awed by the beauty and interconnectedness of the natural world. A walk or run through the woods never fails to evoke an urgency to capture on canvas that which I saw along the river, on the horizon, in the branches of a tree.

 It is an honor to have my art showcased by Sunriver Music Festival for this 46th season. The natural music of this landscape that many of us call home is the perfect backdrop for the Festival’s immensely talented musicians. I hope that “Sunriver’s Trumpeter” conveys the same feelings of tranquility, magnificence and possibility that Sunriver Music Festival has come to represent for so many of us.”
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