Ever notice how you look better outside? The sun glints a little in your eyes and makes your hair glossier and your skin rosier.
The same holds true for art—at least it does in Bend. It just looks lovelier outside. The city has an amazing collection of public art, ranging from the Roundabout Art Route to Pillars of Art. The newest program, the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection, has the added bonus of giving you the perfect excuse for a stroll through Downtown Bend where you can see more than a dozen pieces (and counting!) that make up the exhibit.
With the weather warming up in Bend right now, it’s the perfect time for a walk. Let’s go!
Walk out the door of the Bend Visitor Center on the corner of Lava and Oregon. Turn right so you’re headed south and walk about 84 steps. Pivot right and walk 19 more steps into the parking garage so you’re standing in front of the large painting anchored to the cement wall. Stand there a moment and bask in the beauty of “Born Again Ghost” painted by Megan McGuinness. She created the piece with acrylic and gold leaf, noting how the peacock represents renewal in many cultures and serves as an inspiration for everyone to be a better version of themselves.
Duly inspired, say goodbye to Megan’s painting as you venture deeper into the parking garage headed west. See that pathway off to the left that leads to the elevator and stairwell? Head toward it and take the stairs down to the lowest level of the garage. As you come through the doorway at the bottom, hang a right and look up. Ooooh! Ahhh! See those two massive paintings above you?
The mixed-media piece (created with spray paint, latex house paint, and acrylic) is “Central” by Mark Rada. The second piece—inspired by the region’s Native Americans—is titled “We Will Rise,” and was created by artist Jesse Roberts. Depending on the lighting and the time of day you visit, they always look a little bit different.
Speaking of light, you see that glow off to your right? It’s not a band of angels descending on the parking garage (though the beauty of the artwork might cause you to think that). No, that’s the sun shining on Tin Pan Alley. Walk toward it through the same door you came through a minute ago and take 37 steps to the edge of Minnesota Avenue. Look both ways, then cross the street. Wait, I should clarify—only cross the street if there are no cars coming. No sense turning yourself into a pancake for a few paintings, no matter how awesome they are.
OK, so now you’re across the street on the south side of Tin Pan Alley where you’ll see five (count ‘em, FIVE!) pieces of amazing artwork. You’ll want to spend some time here reading all the plaques to learn more about each of the artists and what inspired each piece.
The five pieces in this section of the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection include:
- “Finding Gold in Cascadia” by Megan McGuinnness
- Untitled metal relief sculpture by Andrew Wachs
- “Tangled” by Taylor Rose
- “The Day We All Looked Up” by Kaycee Anseth
- “All Good Things are Wild and Free” by Katie Daisy
Wow. That’s a whole ‘lotta great art, huh? Now might be a good time for a snack. Since you’re already standing in Tin Pan Alley, duck into Lone Pine Coffee Roasters for something to sip and maybe a bagel. If an adult beverage is what you crave, Tin Pan Alley is also home to The Wine Shop where you can grab a glass or five and maybe a tasty cheese tray.
Ready to roll again?
From the mouth of Tin Pan Alley, turn left and walk west approximately 143 steps to the mouth of another alley (looking both ways before you cross Bond, of course). Since you’re already on the south side of the street, start by turning left into the alley next to Toomie’s Thai Cuisine—oh, green curry?! Try not to get distracted. You can come back later for one of their killer lunch specials.
For now, duck into the alley and admire “Voyage” by Caroline Cornell and “Klondike Kate” by Sheila Dunn. The two pieces couldn’t be more different, with “Voyage” serving as the artist’s deeply personal representation of winter, nature, color, and light, and “Klondike Kate” offering an inspiring depiction of one of the most iconic women in Bend’s history.
Ready to move again? Okay, grab the green curry first. I’ll wait.
Next, cross Minnesota Avenue to the mouth of the alley on the other side of the street. Remember that thing about looking both ways first? Do that.
Now that you’re in the alley on the opposite side of Minnesota Ave, pause to check out the two paintings located here. “Sunset over Sisters” by Kevin Schwarting was inspired by the deep contrasts when the sun falls below a mountain, while “Van Matre’s Eternal Tambourine” by Avlis Leumas was inspired by Bend’s historic Tower Theatre. Spellbinding, no?
Now do you want to know the best thing about the Tin Pan Alley art collection? It’s expanding CONSTANTLY. Case in point—there’s a finished painting leaning up against the wall outside my office just waiting for me to write copy for the plaque and for crews to hang it near Bend’s iconic O’Kane building (along with a couple other paintings the artists are working on RIGHT NOW!) Isn’t that cool to think about?
Now get out there and enjoy some art!