Art, Museums and History
Tap Into Your Creative Side
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Bend’s art scene is as diverse as its natural environment. It’s home to nationally recognized artists, musicians, filmmakers, painters, writers, and much more. Enjoy movie theaters, museums, art galleries, and dinner theater. Learn about the area’s history and natural wonders. Celebrate life year-round while attending a long list of Bend’s events and festivals.
Revel in Bend’s art scene the first Friday of each month during First Friday Art Walk. Live music fills the streets as shops and art galleries stay open late to showcase artists and their work. Festivities in Downtown Bend get underway at 5 p.m., but if you want an earlier start, the galleries in the Old Mill District kick things off at 4 p.m. That means you can browse Old Mill hotspots like A6 before heading downtown to nab dinner and enjoy some more art hopping. When you’re downtown, take a walk through one of downtown Bend’s many alleys, which contains a world-class collection of local art work as part of the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection.
If you’re visiting Bend in August, don’t miss Art in the High Desert on the banks of the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District. Central Oregon’s premier juried art & fine craft festival showcases over 100 artists from around the country and Canada. Art in the High Desert ranked #10 in the nation for fine art fairs in 2016, according to Art Fair Sourcebook.
If performing arts are your passion, Bend has plenty to offer. Take in a show at the historic Tower Theatre, or groove to live music from groups ranging from Dave Matthews Band to Norah Jones at the Les Schwab Amphitheater. If live theatre is your scene, check out Bend Theatre Scene for updates and a calendar of shows happening in Bend.
Depending on your tastes, check out OperaBend or High Desert Chamber Music for music that makes your heart sing. Looking for live jazz in Bend, Oregon? From fall through spring, the Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend, becomes a swanky jazz club, bringing world-class musicians to an intimate setting through their Jazz at the Oxford program.
Ever find yourself saying, “this art would be awesome, if only there were otters nearby?” The High Desert Museum has you covered! While folks know them best as a place to check out wildlife and natural history, they’re also home to a vast collection of Native American art, along with rotating cultural exhibits and sculptures scattered around the campus.
Check out the links below to learn more about Bend’s rich cultural tourism opportunities. You can also find out more about the various arts organizations in and around Bend, including the Arts, Beautification and Culture Commission of Bend, and Art in Public Places. The Bend Cultural Tourism Fund (BCTF) is a grant program dedicated to enhancing the local economy through the promotion and cultivation of Bend’s cultural tourism programs. To read more about this program, click here.