This January we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the renovation of one of Bend’s cultural assets, the Tower Theatre. It is really a celebration of a community mobilized to not only save a derelict building, but to invest in the health of Central Oregon’s arts and culture for decades to come.
To raise $4.2 million for the renovation was a monumental effort, and many people in the high desert dug deep.
Clella Thomas, co-chair with Pamela Hulse Andrews for the Encore! Return of the Tower fundraising effort, said it well: “The restoration truly was a grass roots effort. When I attend events at the Tower, I always note the names on the arms of my seat and silently thank those generous donors. And every time I see the lights on at the Tower I am reminded of the amazing community spirit, generosity and vision that made it happen.”
In 2013 Bend again has chosen to invest in the future of our creative organizations by passing Measure 94-4 to fund a Bend Cultural Tourism Fund. Driven by the belief that Central Oregon has a creative economy in addition to our beer, recreation and entrepreneurial economies, a granting program has been formed dedicated to promoting our arts and cultural programs.
Just as each dollar raised for the Tower over 10 years ago was essential to the success, each vote for the Measure counted towards the new fund. The community has again and again supported the arts in Central Oregon, and as a result, our cultural assets are thriving.