Artist Inbox: Teafly Peterson


Kyla Becker

The Broadside

Teafly Peterson will accept the Dare to Dream Award for 2010 at the Mirror Pond Galery on May 1.

Teafly Peterson is a woman an artist, teacher, advocate and friend to many Bend locals. She is also a mentor at the Caldera art program – which was featured in our April 7th issue. In an interview recently,

Teafly expressed a deep love for arts and all of the people she works within the community. With all of the work she does with the Caldera kids and the Human Dignity Coalition, Teafly is the big ‘heart through art’ shoe-in for this year’s Dare to Dream 2010 Award.

Teafly was raised in Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts where 30 percent of the population identifies as gay. Upon moving to Central Oregon in 2005, Teafly was taken aback by the beauty of the mountainous landscape. However, in stark contrast to the beautiful scenery was the ugly truth that she was now in an area where direct and violent attacks against homosexuals took place.

Where Teafly came from, people used the tools of dialogue and dignity to resolve their issues – separating sexuality from religion and politics.

From meeting local Bendites, Teafly met people who loved Bend as much as she. Bend locals who felt the same connection to the earth in this amazing place, people who she knew felt the same way she did.

She pondered over why these people didn’t say anything about the discrimination that was taking place. Then she realized – they didn’t know what to say.

According to the website, “Teafly has since then put her artistic heart and soul into giving voice to those who have not been heard.”

On May 1st at 7pm in the Mirror Pond Gallery, the Human Dignity Coalition will be awarding Teafly with the Dare to Dream Award for 2010, alongside Pizza Mondo and the Deschutes County Health Services Department. When congratulations were extended to Teafly, the Human Dignity Coalition was in full agreement. There is no doubt that they made the right choice.

The Human Dignity Coalition was started in 1992 by a group of concerned Central Oregonians who joined together to campaign against the statewide Ballot Measure 9. The bill was a piece of legislation that discriminated against sexual and gender minorities by proposing an addition to the Oregon Constitution that would disallow Oregon governments to support forms of homosexuality, pedophilia, sadism or masochism and that they must in fact “discourage and avoid” such things.

The ballot was defeated in the November 3, 1992 in a general election with 638,527 votes in favor, 828,290 votes against.

While the ballot measure was defeated statewide, citizens still saw the need for a local human rights group and Human Dignity Coalition was born. Teafly has created art for HDC as well as helped create the queer prom and is currently working on a new project called We Live Here Too in which she photographs the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer (referred to as LGBTQ) and allied community members in their favorite environment.

This project will be on display at the TBD loft above the Poet House during the month of June in honor of Bend Pride.

You may contact Kyla Becker at


  1. I’d like to make a correction to a mistake I made in this issue:
    The TBD Loft is actually the space that the PoetHouse is located in. The PoetHouse is on Minnesota Avenue in downtown Bend.

    Thanks for reading!



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