Pillars of Art program showcases unique artwork in Bend Visitor Center
Visit Bend doesn’t mind if people color on the walls at the Bend Visitor Center. In fact, we’re willing to pay for it.
In September 2011, Visit Bend kicked off the Pillars of Art program. Pillars of Art is designed to introduce tourists to Bend’s unique arts and culture scene, and to support emerging local artists. The City of Bend Arts, Beautification & Culture Commission (ABC Commission) honored the Pillars of Art program in 2012 by giving the Bend Visitor Center the ABC Award that honors individuals, organizations and businesses that have made significant contributions to the celebration, promotion, beautification or preservation of the City's arts, culture, natural environment or public spaces.
On a rotating basis, Visit Bend will choose one local artist to create unique chalk drawings on two large, cement pillars in the lobby of the Bend Visitor Center. The chosen artist will also have his or her framed art displayed and sold in the Visitor Center. (See below for more information on the artists.)
With thousands of tourists stopping by the visitor center regularly, the Pillars of Art program ensures great exposure for the artists and a terrific chance for tourists to see truly unique artwork.
Artists selected for the Pillars of Art program will receive a small stipend in exchange for their work. Are you an artist with a handful of chalk and a great vision? Contact the Bend Visitor Center at 541.382.8048.
Those interested in seeing the artwork are encouraged to stop by the Bend Visitor Center between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Featured Pillars of Art Artists
Sweet Pea Cole - FEATURED ARTIST FROM OCTOBER 2017 TO OCTOBER 2018
Artist Sweet Pea Cole has been creating art since she was a small child, drawing and painting and making things. A native of Wyoming, she’s been in Bend since 1999, and is a well-known fixture in the city’s art scene.
Best known for her printmaking, she’s a versatile artist whose favorite medium is, “whatever it takes to create the idea that is in my mind.” Her work is characterized by hand drawn lines, slightly shaken and smooth. There is an intended quirk to her work—a celebration of the slightly flawed reality that exists everywhere and for everyone.
When she’s not creating art, Sweet Pea enjoys biking, hiking, camping, and consuming vast quantities of coffee.
To learn more about Sweet Pea Cole, including her artistic influences and her thoughts on Bend’s art scene, check out our interview with her on the Bend Buzz Blog.
Megan Phallon - FEATURED ARTIST FROM OCTOBER 2016 TO OCTOBER 2017
Having narcolepsy — a nervous disorder that causes uncontrollable daytime sleepiness and occasional hallucinations — might be an obstacle to some people.
But for artist Megan Phallon, the resultant vivid dreams and blurring of dream-world and reality is part of what fuels her vibrant, surreal style of artwork.
A self-taught artist, Megan grew up in Northern California, but also lived in South Dakota, Utah, Minnesota, and the Caribbean. It’s the latter she credits with her fondness for bright, bold colors in her artwork.
Her favorite medium is acrylic, but Megan also enjoys working with charcoal as well as pen and ink. Using chalk for the Pillars of Art program was a new experience for Megan, who opted to focus her Pillars images around Central Oregon landscapes and landmarks.
When Megan isn’t creating art, she loves running, inventing things, and spending time with her two teenage sons.
To learn more about Megan’s artistic influences and her impressions of Bend’s art scene, check out our interview with her on the Bend Buzz Blog.
Sheila Dunn - FEATURED ARTIST FROM OCTOBER 2015 TO OCTOBER 2016
Artist Sheila Dunn moved to Bend sight-unseen several years after college, but she’s seen a whole lot of Bend since then.
And while her art graces the pillars of the Bend Visitor Center, guests have the chance to the region’s landscapes and cultural history through her eyes.
Sheila grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado, in a community a lot like Bend. She earned a BFA in painting and art history from Colorado State University and studied abroad in Italy perfecting her technique and learning from renowned Italian artists.
She’s best known for painting figures with a strong emphasis on color and movement, which is evident in her Pillars of Art display. Her chalk drawings feature soaring raptors, gnarly junipers, and high desert landscapes with a nod to the Native American history of the region.
To learn more about Sheila's artistic influences and what she thinks about Bend's art scene, be sure to read our blog post about her.
AVlis Leumas - FEATURED ARTIST FROM OCTOBER 2014 TO OCTOBER 2015
Avlis Leumas wasn’t born with the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound or shoot spiderwebs from his fingertips, so he did the next best thing – he learned to draw superheroes.
Avlis fell in love with comic book art in grade school, drawing obsessively through his teens. After graduating from high school, he gave up on art for nearly 20 years. It wasn’t until several years after relocating to Bend that Avlis rediscovered his love of putting pen or pencil to paper and creating something magical.
Avlis is best known for his creative pencil sketches and his vibrant illustrations with markers. A native of California, Avlis visited Bend for the first time in 2004 with his wife. On their second day in town, they put an offer on a house, and have made their home here ever since.
When he’s not creating art, Avlis works as an instructor at COCC and loves spending time with his family around Bend.
Kaycee Anseth - Featured artist from October 2013 to OCTOBER 2014
As you admire the colorful chalk collages of Kaycee Anseth, you may be surprised to learn she’s better known for painting with paper. Not on paper – with it.
Kaycee uses discarded fashion and home decor magazines as fodder for creating intricately detailed and brightly colored collages that explore the realm of myth and fairytale as they pertain to personal narrative. She incorporates the eye-popping palettes of high gloss magazines into intricate patterns and whimsical figures.
A Southern girl raised in Tennessee, Kaycee made Bend her home more than 10 years ago. She’s inspired by the beauty of Bend’s landscapes, and by the curious, youthful vibe of Bend’s art community.
Kaycee studied art at Middle Tennessee State University and has a BFA in painting. When she’s not chalking up pillars or creating collages, she loves yoga, exploring the outdoors with her dog, and singing and playing guitar with several local bands.
Visit Bend’s newest featured artist is bringing springtime to Bend just a little early this year.
Known for her honey-laced hand lettering and spring-scented illustrations, Katie Lombardo of Katie Daisy has gained notoriety for her artwork ranging from greeting cards to paintings. Her chalk drawings will be featured on the pillars in the Bend Visitor Center through June 2013, and her artwork will be displayed for sale throughout that time.
Katie has lived in Bend for less than a year, but she’s no stranger to the art scene. Her clients include Target, American Greetings, Pottery Barn, Papyrus, Walkers, Madison Park Greetings, and more. She also has a line of home and garden products for Demdaco, a stationery line with teNeues Publishing Group, and a series of drawings featured in a book by bestselling self-help author Louise Hay.
Katie attended the Minneapolis College of Art & Design and graduated with a BFA in Illustration. She operates a popular Etsy shop and enjoys spending time in Bend seeking inspiration in Drake Park or browsing antique shops and local boutiques. You can visit her online at katiedaisy.com, or stop by the Bend Visitor Center for a close-up look at her work. Be sure to check out Katie's art for sale on Etsy here.
Sam Fisch - Featured artist from June to December 2012
A native of Ithaca, New York, Sam moved west when he was five and spent most of his life in northern Idaho and eastern Washington. He’s been drawing since he had the coordination to pick up a pencil or marker, but got serious about his artwork as life experiences taught him to use it as a form of soulful expression. He began working primarily in pen and ink, but has spent the last four years exploring color with paint. He works with watercolor, oil, and acrylic, though oils are his favorite medium. He’s lived in Bend for the last two years and is a student at Central Oregon Community College.
Read more about what Sam had to say about art, nature, and what it’s like to be an emerging young artist in Bend.
Kevin- Featured artist from January to May 2012
Artist Kevin Schwarting grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and spent ten years in Montana before moving to Bend in the spring of 2010. He began drawing and sketching as a child, initially fascinated by charcoal until colors took him into another realm. Pastels, oils, and acrylics are his favorite medium, and winter landscapes are his favorite muse.
“There has always been this sense of peace and stillness in cold, snowy winter landscapes,” he noted. “I try to create the movement in a skier, flying in snow, breaking through thousands of frozen crystals and throwing that majestic spray of snow on each turn. I dream of a never-ending ski run because the way it makes me feel is beyond compare.”
Kevin was drawn to Bend for outdoor pursuits like skiing and fishing, but it didn’t take long for him to find his place in Bend’s vibrant art scene. “Bend attracts so many artistic people because it has created an atmosphere that suits an artist. From the festivals to the art walks, Bend has a wide array of talent. The Pillars of Art program is great for emerging artists like myself, and I’m absolutely honored to be displaying my work here.”
Megan McGuinness - Featured artist from October to December 2011
Megan was born and raised in Portland, Oregon in the early 90s. Surrounded by the creativity and culture of the Pacific Northwest, she grasped at every chance to express herself and reinvent the natural beauty around her. Beginning with her first solo art show at 13, Megan knew drawing and painting would be a passion for years to come.
Megan moved to Bend in January of 2010 and fell in love with the unique art culture that is here. She loves attending Downtown First Friday Art Walks and trips to Pak-it to find re-usable materials to paint on. Megan mixes realism with surrealism and adds a pinch of repetition to create a whimsical movement to her paintings. She hopes to make the viewer's eyes dance with her quirky imaginings, bright colors, and fanciful characters.
Megan was a resident at Poethouse Art for six months and spends time in the summer volunteering at a 4-H camp in Salem, Oregon, recently completing an all camp mural and teaching art to children. When not painting, She brings her unique touch to Ida’s cupcake cafe on Bend's Westside. Megan hopes to continue pursuing an education in Fine Arts, but enjoys being a student of the amazing life and natural beauty Bend has to offer.