We are a small, but highly focused, action oriented board.
We are all founding members with professional backgrounds in a variety of fields.
What brought us together was a shared vision for our association, galleries, artists, culture and community.

Bob Burgess

Bob has been an Organizational Development Consultant with more than 30 years of executive level experience. He focused on helping organizations, teams and individuals move through change and cultural transition. He has worked extensively in the areas of managing organizational change and transition, executive coaching, leadership and management development and team building. He helped organizations to develop and implement a systems approach to building company cultures, focusing on strategic direction, process improvement, leadership and teamwork. Bob has assisted small and large organizations nationally and internationally, helping them clarify direction and identify and remove barriers that prevent them from maximizing performance. Bob holds an MBA from the University of Puget Sound and an undergraduate degree in marketing and industrial psychology from the University of Oregon. He has extensive post-graduate education in professional and organizational development.

Dennis Schmidling
Vice President

Dennis began his career as a professor of literature, theater, and creative writing. From there, he went on to professional theater, writing and photographywith major publishers, fine art landscape photography with Ansel Adams and a host of other mentors, and eventually settled into corporate graphic design and marketing communications. Back to school for an MBA in Marketing Communications and Strategic Planning, and off to leadership roles with a couple of Fortune 50 companies. Major corporate roles were followed by a position as senior principal with an international design and marketing communications firm. Now he's traveled full circle, and is concentrating on writing and fine art landscape photography. Dennis also co-manages Sisters Gallery and spends much of his time focused on the creation of custom fine art framing, gilding, photo and art restoration and printing, and creative business consulting. He serves on a number of boards, including as president of Friends of William Stafford.

Helen Schmidling

Helen grew up in New York’s beautiful Adirondack Mountains and, with a degree in English and Theater, worked as a writer and editor at a daily newspaper in Plattsburgh, New York, before moving to Oregon in 1995. She has continued to write and edit, including freelancing and many years as Education Editor for Banfield Pet Hospital in Portland. She has volunteered as secretary and editor for the Friends of William Stafford, the Banfield Charitable Trust grant review committee, and the Ford Family Foundation Leadership Cohort III in Sisters, among others. She co-manages the Sisters Gallery and Frame Shop, and is active in the Sisters High Desert Chorale and local book and writing groups. With Dennis, she moved to Sisters in 2010.

Kelley Salber

Kelley was born in Billings, Montana where her passion for texture and color and miniature things developed at an early age. She spent most of her life expressing herself through watercolor, collage and found object sculpture. Her propensity is toward 3-D, so when she was introduced to the idea of the book as art, she found it fit her contemplative personality and her hands-on, “let’s build it” approach. Kelley loves to experiment with the book as a sculptural form. Using her passion for texture and color, she imaginatively alters old books and boxes to form miniature worlds. Kelley also creates interesting new blank journals out of old books. She also delights in inventing her own books. She has an unsurpassed eye for detail and narrative. Kelley holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Montana State University and is a self-taught artist with continuing education through classes and workshops. Kelley has received bookbinding and book building mentoring from Rachel Fox, a Nebraska artist. Married for 30 years to Rich, her best friend and amazing support, Kelley lives in Bend, Oregon, where she enjoys amazing views of the Cascade Mountains.   She has one grown fabulous daughter, and three really cute dogs! Her work can be found in Hood Avenue Art Gallery in Sisters. She is also an artist member of Atelier 6000 in Bend, and a resident artist of The Wilds Bend.

Ashley Okra
Community Development

Ashley was born and raised in Sisters, and after traveling the globe, is grateful to call Sisters home. Her late mother was an artist, and inspired her love of art. Ashley graduated from the Art Institute of Portland with a bachelor of science in interior design. She worked as an interior designer for Steele Associates Architects, LLC in Bend. She owns Sisters Saloon and Ranch Grill with her husband Aaron Okura, opened April 1, 2016. Aaron manages the restaurant and Ashley directed the design and restoration of the 105-year-old building. She is also a co-owner of Cold Springs Commercial, a family owned and operated commercial real estate company. In addition, Ashley co-owns the Best Western Ponderosa Lodge in Sisters with her two siblings. When not performing various tenant improvements, she enjoys painting, pen and ink. charcoal drawing, photography, shooting guns, listening to classical music, partaking of the scenic beauty of Central Oregon, traveling, and spending quality time with her loved ones.  In the near future, Ashley and Aaron look forward to having a family of their own. Ashley contributes to Sisters, through volunteering and her involvement with Sisters Arts Association. 

Michelle Deaderick

Michelle came to Sisters in 1978, enrolled in Central Oregon Community College, and start taking ceramic classes. She’s always loved the texture and curves on the pieces she creates. Her constant efforts to refine her work result in innovative designs in clay figures and pottery. She tests boundaries, looking for creative ways to combine clay with wood, stone and glass. She works to make Sisters a better place to live. She has organized art events for schools and charities, including Circle of Friends, a mentoring organization; and Ten Friends, which works with the education system in Nepal. Married in 1982 to another potter named Mitch, they own Pottery by Mitch. They work with the schools to bring pottery students to their studio to work and experience what it’s like to be a working potter. Both have received the Folk Art Award from My Two Hands. For the last three years, they have been partners in the Hood Avenue Art Gallery in Sisters. As a board member of the Sisters Arts Association, she coordinated the first Artist Studio Tour. Her work ethic and caring about our community continues to enhance the lives of others.

Mel Archer
Creative Encourager

Following a successful career as a wood artist, making high-end fine furniture for four decades, Mel recently followed his passion for art and the science of fused glass into a second career. Having attended several art schools early in his career he found his creative juices re-energized and eager to explore the incredible medium of glass. Inspired by the work of Monet, and the realization that working with glass is like painting with light, Mel saw an exciting relationship between glass painting and impressionism. He has been developing his technique ever since and contributing to advanced techniques in fused glass art. Now semi-retired, living in Central Oregon and fully engaged in the arts, Mel is able to share decades of business development experience with the Sisters Art community. The board of SAA is already benefiting from his very wide experience as a successful artist and business leader.