Bend’s reputation as a beer and outdoor adventure mecca occasionally overshadows some of the more subtle attractions that leave visitors feeling giddy as a puppy gulping Dawg Grog.
But after watching Bend’s art scene explode over the last couple years, I’m thrilled to see how many folks have realized they can come for the kayaking and stick around for the concerts, art galleries, film festivals, and more.
With that in mind, here are 8 ways to get your art fix in Bend, Oregon in the coming months.
Shakespeare in the Park (Aug. 21-23, 2015)
Listen up, Bard fans—you only have a few more chances to catch this season’s production of Comedy of Errors in some of the most beautiful settings imaginable. August 21 and 22 will feature two performances in Drake Park, with ticket prices ranging from $22-$75. There will also be an Aug. 23 performance at the SHARC location in Sunriver.
Doors open at 6 p.m. for all shows and performances start promptly at 7 p.m., so nab your tickets here.
Art in the High Desert (Aug. 28-30, 2015)
The Art Fair Sourcebook (basically the bible of juried art shows) ranked Art in the High Desert as the #12 show in the whole country. Pretty impressive, though not surprising if you’ve ever had the chance to catch this popular event on the banks of the Deschutes River at the end of each August.
The 2015 show spans August 28-30 and will feature more than 110 nationally-acclaimed artists from across North America showing and selling their work. You’ll see treasures including paintings, ceramics, fiber art, photography, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, glass, mixed media, print-making, drawings, metalworks, and more.
And hey, even if you hate art, consider it an excuse to stroll on of the most spellbinding stretches of river in Bend. Go here to scope out schedule information, artist profiles, and more.
Edward Curtis exhibit (Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 2015)
If the name Edward Curtis doesn’t ring a bell, try googling. Recognize the photos? Odds are pretty good you’ve seen his famous portrait of Chief Joseph, which says something about this legendary photographer’s work.
A Seattle artist known for capturing iconic images of native tribes across the American West in the late 1800s, Edward Curtis is the focus of a massive art exhibit kicking off through Bend’s A6 gallery September1.
But the event isn’t just limited to gallery shows at A6. You’ll find oodles of tie-in exhibits at the High Desert Museum, the Tower Theater, BendFilm, and the Deschutes Public Library. You can catch the opening night at First Friday Art Walk September 4 and find a full schedule of events here.
Art collectors will be especially thrilled by the chance to purchase one of 106 original Edward Curtis prints at the Private Collector Event September 1. To attend, you must register here by August 25.
A6 has lined up some great hotel specials and presentations by Edward Curtis experts, so be sure to check their website for details.
High Desert Chamber Music (Sept. 2015-May 2016)
Fans of string quintets, piano quartets, and other popular forms of chamber music should take a gander at the newly-announced lineup from High Desert Chamber Music for the 2015-2016 season.
Upcoming shows will include Catgut Trio (Sept. 25, 2015), Heiichiro Ohyama & SBCO Chamber Players (Feb. 14, 2016), Gold Coast Concert Artists (March 18, 2016), and the Crown City String Quartet & Friends (May 20, 2016).
The Spotlight Series, which raises funds to benefit educational outreach programs, includes two recitals at the First United Methodist Church featuring Frank Almond (Nov. 20, 2015), and the Orloff/Walz Duo (April 23, 2016).
For show times and ticket info, go here.
BendFilm Festival (Oct. 8-11, 2015)
This is one of my favorite annual events, and there’s always something enchanting about ushering in the fall season with a magical weekend of indie films and fun parties. The 2015 schedule hasn’t been posted yet, but since it’s pretty much a given it will be fabulous, you should book your lodging now, as things tend to fill up.
Then keep an eye on the BendFilm website so you can watch film trailers and nab your festival passes early.
Jazz at the Oxford Oct. 2015-March 2016
The 2015-2016 lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but this uber-popular music series at Bend’s Oxford Hotel pretty much always sells out. The word around the campfire is that series passes will go up for sale to the public in mid-September, so Jazz fans would be wise to keep an eye on the website.
Series pass holders from previous season will get first dibs on pre-sale tickets at the end of August, so watch your email for news.
Bend A Capella Festival (Feb 19-21 2016)
This is a first-time event, but it’s already off and running in grand style with The House Jacks (featured in Pitch Perfect and The Sing-Off) set to headline this killer weekend of a cappella music.
A cappella groups of all ages and sizes from across the Northwest will be on hand for a weekend of pop-up performances, workshops, master classes, and sing-offs. Tickets go on sale to the public October 1, so watch the Bend A Cappella website for more details.
Art in Public Places (anytime you like!)
Bend offers a cornucopia of public art you can enjoy 7 days a week, 365 days a year, thanks to the good folks at Art in Public Places. That’s a non-profit group dedicated to providing public art for everyone in Bend to enjoy (an endeavor that resulted in Americans for the Arts honoring Bend’s public sculptures as one of the most innovative approaches to public art in the country).
Interested in scoping out the sculptures that adorn the traffic circles throughout Bend? Check out the Roundabout Art Route, and earn prizes for making the rounds and answering trivia questions about the art you see. For a memorable, guided introduction to Bend’s public art scene, book the Art Safari outing with The Bend Tour Company.
To get your art fix on foot, meander around Downtown Bend enjoying the paintings that make up the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection. Wander ‘til you find your favorite, a process made easier with a big dish of f Bontá Gelato in hand (er, so I’m told).