Visit Bend’s board of directors announced the launch of the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund (BCTF), a grant program dedicated to enhancing the local economy and cultivating the city’s cultural tourism attractions. The Fund is due to an approval by voters in November 2013 of a measure that increased the lodging tax rate from 9 percent to 10.4 percent by June 1, 2015. More than $150,000 annually is slated to be generated from the additional revenue establishing a cultural tourism fund providing grants for Bend’s arts organizations.
In addition to announcing the launch of the program, Visit Bend named the grant administrator and confirmed the appointments of the 13 commissioners who will work with the Visit Bend board of directors to lead the program. Grants allocated through the BCTF will support art and culture-based projects and programs that attract tourists to the City of Bend.
“The Bend Cultural Tourism Fund marks an exciting opportunity for our community and our economy,” said Visit Bend CEO Doug La Placa. “Building this program has been a positive and collaborative process and serves as a great example of how the tourism and arts communities can work together to create meaningful economic development programs.”
The BCTF is designed specifically to boost tourism during the shoulder seasons and winter months. Traditionally, this is a time of year when the city’s recreation-based tourism industry struggles, but a time when cultural tourism organizations are most active.
The Bend Cultural Tourism Fund hired industry veteran Shannon Planchon to oversee day-to-day operations of the program. Planchon has more than 20 years of experience with arts and culture grant management and administration, most recently as the interim director for the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Director of the Oregon Arts Commission for nine years and spent 10 years with the Alaska State Council of the Arts.
Planchon will work with the 13 member commission of the new organization. Commissioners appointed to the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund include:
• 1 member of the City of Bend’s Arts & Beautification Committee (appointed by the Mayor)
o Matt Schiffman, City of Bend Arts and Beautification Committee
• 1 Arts Central board member (appointed by the Arts Central board of directors)
o Marsha Stout, Arts Central
• 1 Arts & Culture Alliance board member (appointed by ACA board of directors)
o Kevin Barclay, Deschutes Public Library
• 1 Scalehouse board member (appointed by the Scalehouse board of directors)
o René Mitchell, Scalehouse
• 1 representative of Bend’s performing or literary arts community (appointed by the Visit Bend board of directors)
o Amy Mentuck, The Nature of Words
• 1 representative from a regional or state foundation or granting institution (appointed by the Visit Bend board of directors)
o Brian Wagner, Oregon Arts Commission
• 1 restaurant/shopping/entertainment representative (appointed by the Old Mill District)
o Jaime Aguirre, Ginger’s Kitchenware
• 1 restaurant/shopping/entertainment representative (appointed by the Downtown Bend Business Association board of directors)
o Chuck Arnold, Downtown Bend Business Association
• 2 tourism industry representatives (appointed by the Visit Bend board of directors – not Visit Bend board members)
o John Flannery, GETIT Shuttle/Bend Tour Company
o Aaron Switzer, Lay It Out Events/The Source Weekly
• 2 Bend citizen representatives (appointed by the BCTF commission, and can be from any segment of the community: education, media, cultural, etc.) *Initial commission appointments for these positions will be 1 year terms, appointed by the Visit Bend board of directors. Following the first year, these appointments will be made by a majority vote of the BCTF commissioners.
o Julie Gregory, Bend resident
o Cassondra Schindler, Bend resident and independent community strategist
• 1 Visit Bend board member (appointed by the Visit Bend board of directors)
o Noelle Fredland, Old Mill District
In July, the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund commission will hold its first general meeting, which will be open to the public. From there, the group will establish the process and timeline of accepting grant proposals from individuals and organizations seeking to promote arts and culture-based tourism in Bend. The first granting cycle will take place in 2015.
About Visit Bend
Visit Bend is a non-membership, non-profit economic development organization dedicated to promoting tourism on behalf of the City of Bend. We’re a leading provider of information on Bend, Oregon hotels, restaurants, activities, and Oregon vacation planning. To learn more or to order a complimentary Official Visitor Guide to Bend, contact Visit Bend at 1-800-949-6086 or visit www.visitbend.com.