Bend’s Emerging Art Communities
Sometimes art classes in Bend are more than typical art classes. They consist of one-of-a-kind gatherings and salons with local and national painters, designers, printmakers, writers and more sharing their talent with eager learners. Bend’s premiere working art spaces, A6 and The Workhouse, not only offer the Central Oregon community a place to learn a new art form, these spaces are also used as event venues and retail areas for artists to display and sell their works.
A6 Studio & Gallery, formerly Atelier 6000, is located in the Box Factory building off Industrial Way, just outside Bend’s Old Mill District. Each month, they install fresh art exhibits centering around contemporary and historical book art and/or printmaking.
“We hold a major exhibit every year, typically in the fall,” explains A6 Executive Director Dawn Boone. “We started with M.C. Escher and last year featured Edward Curtis.”
This year’s exhibit, “Opening Japan: Three Centuries of Japanese Prints” runs from September 2 through November 20.
The exhibit is expected to bring in almost 4,000 visitors, or close to half of their annual attendance. Throughout the year A6 welcomes students, grades three through twelve, from all over the region and hosts weekly exhibit tours where visitors can learn about the art, then participate in a studio project. Once a year, the studio opens its doors and sells one of a kind prints from local and national artists. In addition, there is a wide range of art classes offered at A6, including Marty Decker’s—financial manager and resident artist— entry level book art and origami tutorials. The popular folded book art classes are very unique to A6 and a new medium.
It’s Not All Work
Nestled in the Ironworks District on Scott Street, The Workhouse is another one of Bend’s true artist communities. Their calendar is full with public events, hosted dinners, and large indoor craft fairs. It’s also open seasonally for guests to browse, shop and talk to local artists who work out of the space and sell their art pieces and retail items.
Cari Brown, who runs The Workhouse, says her dream “. . . is that together—all of the artists, musicians, and all of the art-related businesses and non-profits—can make Bend known as a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive town that has a really strong art community.”
The Workhouse calls their classes and workshops ‘Studio Sessions,’ where you work alongside local artists and teachers to learn about their medium and technique while you complete your own project. These classes range anywhere from cooking to painting to basic jewelry making.
The Workhouse also hosts a monthly Blank Pages writing workshop led by OSU MFA graduates Mike and Irene Cooper. For food events, The Workhouse works exclusively with Anna Witham from The Root Cellar to host both small and large community dining experiences.
The Workhouse has 10 studio artists and carries the work of about 60 artists, primarily from Central Oregon. Counting outside members, interns and the entire Ironworks Arts District, there are a lot of people involved in making this space a true artisan community.
Their Last Saturday event is The Workhouse’s biggest outreach program.
“Through Last Saturdays, the Old Ironworks Arts District is able to involve the Bend community in the local art culture,” says Brown. “Last Saturdays are really a monthly celebration of local art and through them, we are able to highlight artists by hosting openings for their work, give local musicians the opportunity to play, invite community partnerships to happen by collaborating with local agencies such as the Re-think Waste project, or the Center for Supportive Bureaucracy.”