Bend Cultural Tourism Fund Announces $319,500 in Grant Funding  

The Bend Cultural Tourism Commission (BCTF) announced 20 grant awards for Bend cultural tourism-focused activities taking place September 2021 through June 2022, awarding a total of $319,500.  The funds will help local organizations leverage marketing resources to attract more cultural tourists during the shoulder seasons and winter months — a time of year when the city’s tourism industry is down yet the vibrant cultural activities so central to Bend’s character are still going strong.

The program started in 2015 and normally awards closer to $200,000 annually. However, due to pandemic restrictions for travel and events, the program went on hiatus in 2020. This year’s awards include carry-over from the 2020 budget, making it the largest amount granted since the program’s beginning. This sixth round of awards pushed the total BCTF funding over the million-dollar mark, infusing local organizations with $1,228,335 in total. 

Many of these events will be recognized by Bend residents, such as the 2021 BendFilm Festival and World Muse’s Muse UnConference, while many are new concepts or programs under development. The Commission awarded six grants under the Catalyst category this year, which is intended to support the creation of new events or products that further cultural tourism in Bend. These grants included funding for a two-day Contemporary Arts Festival by Scalehouse, a feasibility study for building the Central Oregon Center for the Arts, and the creation of historical and cultural podcasts that will be embedded in Dirty Freehub’s bike ride directory. A full list of projects is below. 

“Bend’s vibrant arts and culture scene is part of what makes our community special, and it’s been wonderful to watch it become such an integral part of our city’s economic development,” said Visit Bend CEO Kevney Dugan. “The Bend Cultural Tourism Fund is a great program that helps diversify the community’s tourism offerings as we start to rebound from the hardships of the past year.” 

Following is the complete list of grants awarded:

BendFilm, Inc, 2021 BendFilm Festival, $45,000
To fund the 18th Annual BendFilm Festival held October 7-17, 2021. Each year the festival is Bend’s premiere fall season event drawing thousands of visitors from across the region, nation, and world to Bend.

The Bend Bulletin, Bend Arts, Culture and Adventure GeoTour & AdventureLab, $19,000
To fund the Bend Arts, Culture and Adventure (BACA) GeoTour & AdventureLab, highlighting 12-15 engaging arts and culture places throughout Bend via geocaching. 

Cascade Relays, Big Butte Challenge, $6,000
To fund the creation of historical podcasts as part of the Big Butte Challenge, a virtual event hosted over three months that brings people together to reach the summit of six Buttes in Central Oregon.

Cascades Theatrical Company   $3,500
To fund the creation of a Cultural Connections video to play before the December showing of the Miracle on 34th Street.

Central Oregon Film Office, Location Manager Familiarization, $5,000
To fund part of the costs of bringing up to ten location managers to Bend to scout for filming. 

Eastern Cascades Model Railroad Club, Open House, $6,000
To fund website improvements and social media for the 25th Anniversary of the Train Club’s Open House, which has always been held in either September or October. 

High Desert Museum, Utopias Exhibition, $40,000
To fund Utopias (working title), an upcoming High Desert Museum exhibition, that will look at the ambitions, intentions and outcomes — sometimes disastrous — of utopian and intentional communities in the High Desert.

Lay It Out Events, Bend Fall Festival, $25,000
To fund the Bend Fall Festival, now returning for its 15th performance, reprising its live music stages, popular Harvest Market and The Souk, an international artisan marketplace and the upgraded Fine Artist Promenade.

Old Mill District, Bend Brewfest, $11,000
To fund marketing for the move of the Bend Brewfest from August to the second weekend of May in 2022. 

OUT Central Oregon, Winter PrideFest 2022, $28,000
To fund a multi-day and multi-event weekend celebrating diversity and inclusivity in the outdoors through various winter activities, social gatherings, and fun. Winter PrideFest 2022 will take place Thursday through Sunday, March 3-6, 2022.

Pek Projects LLC, Deschoops 3x, $7,500
To fund part of a cultural experience at the Deschoops 3×3 basketball tournament in Downtown Bend on September 4 and 5 of 2021.

Tower Theatre Foundation, Stage the Change Conference, $40,000
To fund the first ever Stage the Change event on the West Coast. The two-day conference will be Friday, May 20-Saturday, May 21, 2022 focusing on high school students throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Wanderlust Tours, Art in Nature at the High Desert Museum, $18,500
To fund Art in Nature  outdoor concerts at the High Desert Museum Thursday, September 9, 2021 in the evening from 5-10pm. 

World Muse, Muse UnConference, $17,000
To fund a four-day event hosted by World Muse, a non-profit organization inspired by the enormous potential of individuals to create positive change in their lives, in their community and in our world.


Bend Photo Tours LLC, PNW Photo Summit, $10,500
To fund the creation of the PNW Photo Summit in October 2022, a two-day Live Speaker Series, and Digital Summit showcasing speakers through a live stream experience.

Central Oregon Center for the Arts, Feasibility Study, $10,000
To fund a feasibility study to determine the suitability of building a comprehensive performing- and-visual-arts facility in Central Oregon.

Dirty Freehub, Bend Podcast Project, $6,500
To fund the development of a set of short, micro podcasts that are single topic-specific relating to Bend’s history and/or culture that can be embedded into online route guides for hiking, biking, paddling, etc.

High Desert Makers, Maker Festival, $4,500
To fund a maker festival planned for November, organized through the High Desert Makers and affiliated sponsors.

Paula Ganiaris, Piano Flow Live Concert Series, $4,500
To fund the development of a concert series that will take place in outdoor settings throughout Bend through wireless headphones, led by local composer and pianist Paula Dreyer.

Scalehouse, Contemporary Arts Festival (Words, Art, Performing), $12,000
To fund a two-day multi-disciplinary event with performances, talks, workshops, spoken-word performances, poetry slams and interactive art projects.

The purpose of the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund is to enhance the local economy through the promotion and cultivation of Bend’s cultural tourism programs. The awarded grant funds will be used to: help attract cultural tourists during the shoulder seasons and winter months, when cultural tourism organizations are most active; diversify Bend’s tourism offerings; and build on efforts to establish Bend as a premier year-round cultural tourism destination.

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