Tour the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection

by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor

In just over a year Bend has added eight new public art installations to the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection, bringing the total to 12 (with three more on the way soon). Our beautiful summer weather provides the perfect opportunity to stroll downtown and tour all pieces in the alley ways and unexpected corners of the city blocks. Download this map to discover some great local artists.

TinPanAlleyJune2014“The response [to the collection over the last year] has been very positive,” commented Tin Pan Alley Art Collection Founder and Visit Bend President Doug LaPlaca. “The building owners have embraced the program with enthusiasm.”

Last June the collection began with four installations by local artists Jesse Roberts, Mark Rada, Megan McGuinness and Andrew Wachs in and around the City’s parking garage on Lava Avenue. Over the past year new locations have popped up: Tin Pan Alley now houses five works of art, the alley on Minnesota Avenue between Bond Street and Wall Street has four pieces, and soon the alley off the O’Kane Building on Oregon Avenue will have three more.

One of the newer locations with four pieces of art is the alley next to Toomie’s Thai Cuisine on Minnesota Avenue where local artist Shelia Dunn painted Klondike Kate for the collection. “I love painting iconic women, and Klondike Kate was among the most iconic individuals in Central Oregon’s history,” Dunn explained. “She embodied a spirit of adventure and independence during a period in history when women were still fighting for the right to vote…She demonstrated great courage and compassion amid an array of rumors and judgment and I thought that kind of spirit was worth capturing in paint.”

All of the artists in the collection are local and have been enthusiastic to be involved with the project. “We are at the point now where they are reaching out to us to be involved,” explained LaPlaca.

Visit Bend has a long-term vision for the collection that includes increasing the art locations to 20-40 spots in Bend, with new artwork displayed on an annual basis. Once the frames, made by local metal fabricator, and one of the first Tin Pan Alley artists, Wachs, are permanently mounted on the buildings, artwork can be switched out.

When a new location is identified as a possibility for the collection, Visit Bend coordinates with the building owners, orders the fabrication of another frame, and simultaneously communicates with the chosen artist. “The artist will sketch their idea then share that sketch with the property owner. If they are supportive, we move forward with the new location,” LaPlaca said.

“In the long term, this program will expand all over the city,” he said. “It’s a way for public and private organizations and artists to collaborate in a very low cost, highly visible celebration of the arts culture in Bend.”

If the collection reaches a point where art can be changed out on an annual basis, Visit Bend envisions an auction where the current art can be sold, with a portion of the proceeds going back to the artists, and a portion to help fund the program and purchase more frames.

“I am admittedly biased, but I truly believe art is vital for capturing the soul of a culture or place,” Dunn said. “Central Oregon has its own vibrant spirit that translates so well into visual art. It’s wonderful to see that spirit come to life so diversely though the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection…We should feel so lucky to live in a community that recognizes the value of public art! It feeds our town’s soul.”

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