Bend Cultural Tourism Commission Announces 2018 Grant Awards


The Bend Cultural Tourism Commission is pleased to announce ten grant awards for Bend activities at its June 11, 2018 meeting, awarding a total of $205,000. The funds will help 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.

Many of these events will be recognized by Bend residents, and these organizations have identified strategies that will attract people into Bend during the winter months when tourism is down, ready to enjoy the great shops, dining and cultural activities.

Funding will support a variety of cultural programing, from the 15th Annual the Bend Film Festival to Crows Feet Commons’ Après Ski Bash concerts that will draw a variety of tourists. The Commission included two Catalyst grant awards this year, supporting cultural initiatives in the development phase. One of these is a to support the development of Word In Action, a new literary festival sponsored by OSU-Cascades Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. Another is to develop a Winter Pride Festival for the LGBTQ community, organized by OUT Central Oregon.

“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 doing amazing things to help balance out the seasonality curve of the tourism industry, and we’re proud to be part of the great work that’s being done.”

Following is the complete list of grants awarded:


Bend Art Center, $15,000
Bend Art Center will host the 2nd Annual Weekend of Art in Bend on April 26-28, 2019. Weekend of Art offers a wide range of programs and activities for all ages to experience art. Bend Art Center will engage a variety of cultural partners to create a multi-faceted event that features exhibits, film screenings, art-making activities, talks, and public art. Weekend of Art will take place at multiple venues around town and will be anchored by two key Bend Art Center programs: the 2019 Invitational Print Fair and 2nd Annual Bend Art Conference.

BendFilm, Inc., $33,750
The 15th Annual BendFilm Festival will be held October 11 – 14, 2018. The festival showcases approximately 100 independent narrative, documentary, short, women-made, LGBTQ-themed, Native-made, northwest-produced and animated films made by established, emerging and underrepresented filmmakers. The program provides access to art that challenges the status quo and celebrates diverse life experiences. Throughout the festival, visiting filmmakers and jurors participate in public educational panels and post-screening discussions.

Crow’s Feet Commons, $14,250
The Crow’s Feet Commons Après Ski Bash is a series of free downtown concerts hosted from November through April.  The series is located in the Mirror Pond Plaza, the living room of Downtown Bend.  The series is in its 5th season.  Its purpose is to create cultural music experiences in the heart of Bend that support the economic vitality of Bend.

Deschutes County Historical Society, $9,500
The Deschutes County Historical Society (DCHS) will create Cruisin’ 97, an exhibit and heritage program highlighting the history of Highway 97 as it relates to life and tourism in Central Oregon and Bend during the 1930-60s. The exhibit highlights the history of traditional downtown’s as social centers, and what happens when the highway is redirected as happened to Bend in 1962.

High Desert Museum, $33,750
The High Desert Museum’s innovative, interdisciplinary exhibition, Water in the West, will use art, science and history to explore this past, waters’ continued role in the West, and its future. By bringing together different perspectives on this vital resource, the exhibition will appeal to broad audiences, attract visitors to Central Oregon, and raise awareness of the Museum and Bend as a leading arts and cultural destination.

Lay It Out Events, $15,000
Every year, over a long wintry February weekend more than 20,000 people are drawn to the Old Mill in Bend to celebrate the season by attending Oregon Winterfest (OWF).  Held over President’s Day holiday weekend February 16 -18, 2019, the Oregon Winterfest entrance once again features artistic pyrotechnics in the form of the Fire Pit & Fire Sculpture event.  For the sixth year in a row, the Fire Pit & Fire Sculpture event attracts over 20 local, regional and national stature sculptors and blacksmiths.  An inclusive event suitable for all audiences, everyone is invited to gather around the fire to talk directly with the artists about their creations and craft.

ScaleHouse Contemporary Creative Center, $20,500
BEND DESIGN will open its fourth year on Thursday, October 25 at the Tower Theatre with eight innovative speakers who are industry leaders speaking about design trends, design inspiration and how design thinking is being used to solve business, civic and social issues.

Sunriver Music Festival, $8,250
The Sunriver Music Festival is teaming up with the Tower Theatre to present the 3rd Annual Piano Showcase on April 12 & 13, 2019 at the Tower Theatre in downtown Bend.  The showcase will feature acclaimed pianists Tanya Gabrielian, Randy Porter, and Arthur Migliazza performing on two Steinway grand pianos over two days of performances, masterclasses, workshops, recitals and panel discussions. Stylistically, Classical, Jazz and Boogie-Woogie genres will be performed with strong emphasis on the variety of virtuosity this instrument provides and collaboration between the three artists. This event will be produced by the Sunriver Music Festival.

Tower Theatre Foundation, $17,750
The Tower Theatre Foundation will hold the fourth annual “Bend A Cappella Festival” February 7-10, 2019. The purpose is to bring together performers, educators, and enthusiasts to enjoy, learn about and showcase vocal music. Events include: world renowned Naturally 7 concert, a Sing Off for school and community-based groups, Deke Sharon group coaching, Peter Hollens led master class, and a creative evening showcase of regional talent. Deke, widely recognized as The Father of Contemporary A Cappella, was a significant draw for participation in the 2018 Festival and there have been many requests for his return.  Peter, best known for his work on YouTube as an a cappella cover artist with 1.6 million subscribers, was also a very popular master class leader at the 2018 Festival.

World Muse, $14,750
Muse Conference is a four-day event hosted by World Muse, a non-profit that believes women and girls can be powerful catalysts for change in our community and in our world. Muse Conference connects attendees from near and far with locally and internationally recognized artists, activists, authors, athletes & social change leaders of all ages to celebrate International Women’s Day and kick-off Women’s History Month.


Oregon State University – Cascades MFA in Creative Writing, $12,500
Words In Action is a two-day literary festival sponsored by OSU-Cascades Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. The festival is designed to celebrate the literary arts while also teaching participants how to tune up their humanity via storytelling, flexible thinking and communal creativity. It is intended to attract participants who define themselves as writers as well as participants who just love literature or are interested in art and social change.

OUT Central Oregon, $10,000
OUT Central Oregon proposes to further develop and establish an LGBTQ winter festival in Bend: Winter Pride Festival. Winter Pride Festival provides multiple winter events and activities including: a weekend of skiing at Mt. Bachelor, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, an Après-ski tailgating happy hour and BBQ, an ice skating event, and a social dance party in downtown Bend.  As a multi-day event celebrating diversity and inclusivity through various winter activities, social gatherings, and fun, Winter Pride Festival is an excellent opportunity to promote Bend as a visible and attractive LGBTQ vacation destination during the winter season.

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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