Art looks different in Bend, Oregon. It has skinned knees and a gleeful, good-time grin. It doesn’t sit stiffly on the walls of some museum. Our art knows how to have fun. After all, our art plays outside.
It’s not just the backdrop of gorgeous mountains and stunning lakes that make Bend’s art scene unique. It’s not even the number of great restaurants, craft breweries, and stunning art galleries putting you in the mood to soak up all the great art on display. With its abundance of sensory pleasures, it’s no surprise Bend can transform even the mundane into something truly breathtaking. That’s the spirit driving the world of art in Bend, and the fuel that feeds the Roundabout Art Route.
The Roundabout Art Route is a collection of over 20 pieces of public art on display throughout the city in the most unlikely places – at the center of Bend’s traffic circles. The circles, also filled with plants, flowers and trees, are designed to keep traffic flowing around the city.
Each roundabout holds a unique display of art designed to enhance the cultural environment for Bend visitors and residents. It’s sponsored by Art in Public Places, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing art to the community of Bend. In 2005, Americans for the Arts honored these sculptures as being among the most innovative approaches to public art in the country. The next art installations you’ll be seeing in Bend are the result of a successful fundraising campaign called Be Part of Art. Bend’s public art is a permanent part of what makes Bend so unique.
How to Play the Art Game
It’s easy to do the Roundabout Art Route at your own pace. Simply pick up the map at the Bend Visitor Center and make your way to a minimum of 10 out of the 23 roundabout sculptures in the city. Answer the trivia questions on your map and bring it back to the Bend Visitor Center for a fabulous prize.
If you prefer to have a guided tour by one of the funnest tour guides around, John Flannery of the Bend Tour Company offers a Roundabout Art Route tour titled the Bend Art Safari daily.
Prefer to guide yourself? Many bike shops in town offer rentals (of both traditional bikes or electric-powered bikes) that will allow you to explore the artsy side of bend on two wheels. Head over to our bike rentals page to find a shop close to where you’re staying.
Think of it as an art tour for active souls, offering 360-degree views of art against the backdrop of the most beautiful, vibrant, and quirky town in the nation. Bend, Oregon – our art plays outside!
To get started, pick up your map at any brochure rack around Central Oregon or at the Bend Visitor Center in downtown at the corner of Lava Rd. and Oregon Ave.