The Creative Collaboration of a Central Oregon Collective

by Madelynn Bowers Cascade A&E Feature Writer

Walking through the doors of Tumalo Art Co., one is met with an experience unlike any other in Bend. A fine art gallery with a twist, this collective is entirely owned and operated by 14 member artists, and offers clientele the unique opportunity to view the artistic process as it occurs.
The artists who hold membership with the gallery work to create their pieces within Tumalo Art Co.’s walls, and proprietor Susan Luckey Higdon explains, “each of us have learned to discuss each other’s work” with the public. In fact, Higdon, says it takes a, “different kind of artist to be a collective,” because of this consistent dialogue. This specific niche creates a real feeling of community and family, which Higdon claims enables the collective to have such a relaxed and open atmosphere, and a truly respectful and supportive culture. Artists come from diverse backgrounds here, and a myriad of mediums, ranging from oil on canvas to beautiful and finely crafted jewelry, await anyone entering Tumalo Art Co. Higdon believes it is this positive and welcoming environment that keeps member artists present for the duration they are, and accounts for the infrequency of open positions, and open space, inside the collective. Differing largely from a more traditional gallery in the responsibilities allotted to its members, artists at this collective do have a say in which of their works are shown, and the overall success of the many is reliant on the collaboration and teamwork of these individuals.
The pieces of a different artist are showcased monthly, so members are additionally promised a show within a 12 to 18 month period. Sprinkled within this duration, one may find the collective hosting an occasional group show, where the work of gallery members, and the rare guest artist, is displayed. A primary condition of membership; artists must devote two and a half days, per month, to creating their pieces at the gallery, and working to establish important and healing relationships with the population of the Central Oregon area.
Opening March 4, and continuing throughout the month, Tumalo Art Co., presents group show Journey, highlighting the spiritual, physical and artistic journeys undertaken by collective artists. Accompanying a piece of the artist’s choice are the written words of the individual, discussing this venture, and the significance of this particular work to their artistic journey. Journey is a dialogue between the public and these artists, and offers a glimpse into the hand-in-hand hard work and creativity required by these collectives.

Tumalo Art Co., is open seven days a week, and is located at 450 SW Powerhouse Dr., #407, Bend, OR 97702. The Collective can be reached at 541-385-9144Tumalo

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