by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
Central Oregon loves BendFilm. As over 100 filmmakers make their way to the high desert, the venues ready the popcorn and the public pours over the festival schedule, the excitement is palpable.
With the goal of elevating the art of filmmaking and their connection to Central Oregon, this year BendFilm has increased their outreach to include screenings at Warm Springs Reservation.
“I know for a fact that there is filmmaking going on in Central Oregon [outside Bend]…and it seemed natural to expand the programming,” said Todd Looby, BendFilm’s new director. “We have the biggest film fest in the area and we want to be a film promotional organization [in addition to] a film celebration hub.”
The collaboration with Warm Springs was spearheaded by BendFilm Board Member Juli Hamdan, but was solidified at an Arts & Culture Alliance meeting, of which both the Warm Springs Museum and BendFilm are members. “The ACA has as its core the desire of the membership to bring diverse arts organizations together to create opportunities for all communities in Central Oregon to participate in the arts,” explained Warm Springs Museum Executive Director Carol Leone.
“The Bend Film Festival is a fantastic event and their willingness to reach out to Warm Springs will encourage potential young Warm Springs film makers,” Leone continued.
In fact one Warm Springs filmmaker, LaRonn Katchia, will be premiering his short film, Awakening, before the showing of Winter in the Blood at the new Warm Springs K-8 Academy on Saturday evening, October 11.
Awakening is a tale about a young man living on the Warm Springs Reservation and the struggle between his modern self and the quest to face his inner Native American. “The short film was entirely written for and shot on the reservation of Warm Springs. Growing up there 18 years of my life I felt it was only right to create my film based around my hometown,” explained Katchia.
by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
Art was my favorite class in school when growing up. I learned how to throw clay, carve soapstone, draw, etch and the best part: get messy with paints. The climate for arts education in today’s schools is much different than it was 20 years ago: budget cuts, curriculum changes and the impact of No Child Left Behind has created a vacuum for creative arts in schools. That’s why the Black & White Fundraiser for Arts Central’s work is so crucial to the health and vitality of our children and communities, through their efforts to make the arts accessible to all, and by integrating the arts into all aspects of community life, they can mitigate some of the impact of dwindling arts programs in schools.
“The need for arts education in the schools is extremely serious,” explained Arts Central Executive Director Cate O’Hagan. “Almost 25 percent of our budget (or $100,000) comes from the Black & White Fundraiser, with all proceeds going to support the organization’s arts education programs. This event is critically important.”
The programming offered by Arts Central ranges from the Art Station, Central Oregon’s only nonprofit visual arts school; Artists in Schools, a team of over 30 professional artists working with students and teachers; and VanGo, a community outreach program giving children in rural communities and at-risk youth access to arts education.
“Art Station is the largest freestanding art school east of the Cascades,” O’Hagan said. “If we were extracted from this market there would be basically no visual arts education. There are a number of instructors, artists and studios who are doing smaller scale programs, but the breadth of what we cover is greater than what anyone else is doing.”
Arts Central took a hit during the recent recession, as they saw an almost 40 percent drop in their budget. “During the recession a lot of our students left town…and to protect our ‘internal organs’ we hunkered down and weren’t doing as much outreach as we didn’t have the staff,” O’Hagan explained. “Standing today, we did pull through. We are now in the process of carefully rebuilding and figuring out the best ways to proceed. The environment for arts education has changed since 2007. We are assessing: what is the new environment? What can we do and how?”
O’Hagan touts the Art Station as their biggest asset as it serves as Arts Central’s laboratory where they develop new curriculum, train teachers and test the results through programs like VanGo. VanGo, the decorated Honda Element, is a mobile art studio complete with supplies and an art instructor. To date, VanGo has traveled to 30 sites in four counties, reaching over 2,250 underserved kids.