Where to discover art in Central Oregon

September 24, 2014

By Dusty Trails


Bend may be known best for its outdoor activities and craft beer. But the art scene in Central Oregon is flourishing, too. It’s home to nationally recognized artists, musicians, filmmakers, painters, writers, and much more, with events year-round to keep your artsy side happy. Here’s a roundup of the best places to discover art in the area.


First Friday
A great way to experience Bend’s art galleries is to go to the monthly First Friday art walks in Downtown Bend and at the Old Mill District. Live music fills the streets, as shops and art galleries stay open late to showcase artists and their work. You can ride the free GETIT Shuttle bus on a continuous loop between downtown and the Old Mill, and even download a free app from Cascade A&E to guide you in your journey.


The Bend Fall Festival
The Fall Festival will be celebrating its 19th year on October 3-5. Head downtown for fall-themed activities including contests, music, food, and the Fine Artist Promenade, which features over 100 participants. This year’s festival also happens to fall on First Friday, making for an extra awesome explosion of art in Bend.


The BendFilm Festival
On October 9-12, Bend is transformed from a recreational haven into a small town “possessed by the film industry’s soul.” Enjoy the art of cinema as we gather to behold the work of the most talented independent filmmakers. Downtown and Old Mill theaters, lecture sites, music rooms and party venues spark with the energy inspired by the overwhelming presence of film. It’s an event you won’t want to miss!


The Makers District
The Makers District is a collection of local companies located on First and Second streets between Greenwood and Olney avenues in Bend. According to the Bend Bulletin, “The organization is loose and growing, but its founders express a common goal: a gentrified destination in Bend where trendy businesses operate in a semi-industrial but accessible city neighborhood.” Be sure to stop by Bend Velo, humm kombucha’s tasting room, Central Oregon Locavore, and Sara Bella Upcycled.


Galleries Downtown
Paintings, sculpture, jewelry, glass, and photography are just a few of the things that Bend’s art galleries have to offer. From internationally known artists to the very finest local art, visiting our galleries is a great way to really get to know the area, immerse yourself in beauty, and find a treasure of your own. Highlights include, but are definitely not limited to, Paul Scott Gallery, Mockingbird Gallery, and Red Chair Gallery.


The Old Mill
The galleries in the Old Mill District represent numerous artists and some are working-artist studios. The art comes in a variety of mediums from traditional paintings, sculpture, and photography to printmaking, fiber, and mixed media. Highlights include Atelier 6000, a printmaking studio and book arts center offering classes, workshops, and gallery exhibitions; the Art Station, where kids and adults can get creative with a self-guided art activity with help from an instructor; and Tumalo Art Co, which is owned and operated by artists and is committed to bringing the best of Northwest art to its patrons.


Last Saturday at The Old Ironworks Arts District
Self-proclaimed as “Bend’s hippest arts district,” Last Saturday is a collective of artists, makers, and businesses inviting you to shop local and join them for their monthly event. Built in 1912 to service Bend’s Lumber Mills and Railroad, the district is one of Bend’s last remaining vestiges of historical brick and mortar buildings and is fast becoming Bend’s newest collection of shared, creatively focused work spaces. The Last Saturday art walk features arts, drinks, and music throughout the complex from 6pm to about 10:30pm. Drinks are free when you purchase a tumbler from a participating shop.


Local coffee shops
Many different coffee shops feature artists and photographers in the area for you to enjoy, including Backporch Coffee Roasters, Thump Coffee, Strictly Organic Coffee Co, Bluebird Coffee Company, and Bellatazza, to name a few favorites.


Art in Public Places
This is a non-profit organization that has been commissioning artworks for installation in public venues within the city of Bend since the late 1970s. Thanks to Art in Public Places, Bend has an award-winning collection of public art, including the “Salmon Dance” statue in front of the Public Library and infamous “Phoenix Rising” roundabout art at the intersection of Century and Galveston.


Tin Pan Alley
This is a newer addition to Bend’s growing collection of public art. The artists are chosen for their talent, vision, and passion for Bend and you’ll find their work adorning parking garage walls and alleyways downtown. The collection currently features work from Katie Daisy, Jesse Roberts, Mark Rada, Andrew Wachs, and Megan McGuinness. Click here for a map of where to find them and what is currently on display!