Visit Bend & Tourism, Arts & Public Safety Group Begin Process to Create the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund


A recent voter approved measure to create a public fund for the arts in Bend is now in the formation process with numerous arts organizations providing input into the approximately $130,000 to $200,000 annually that will provide a granting program dedicated to promoting arts and cultural programs that will enhance Bend’s tourism economy. 

The Bend Cultural Tourism Fund (BCTF) will be funded with 7.5 percent of Visit Bend’s annual funding from the City of Bend’s room tax receipts. Granting decisions will be made by the Bend Cultural Tourism Commission – a new, independent, broad and diverse commission that will represent Bend’s arts and tourism industries.  Initial BCTF grants will be awarded in 2015, or as soon as the BCTF board of directors determines there is enough money in the fund to initiate granting.

The Commission will be guided by a comprehensive set of bylaws with paid administrative support responsible for the ongoing administration, coordination, advocacy, public relations and marketing of the program.  

All BCTF funds must be used in accordance with the definition of “promotion of tourism” as defined in Oregon House Bill 2267.  

The first draft of the guiding principles for the BCTF came from meetings involving the input of Pamela Hulse Andrews of Cascade A&E, Kelly Cannon-Miller of Deschutes Historical Museum, Ray Solley of the Tower Theatre, Cate O’Hagan of Arts Central, Noelle Fredland of the Old Mill District, Rene’ Mitchell of tbd advertising and Doug LaPlaca of Visit Bend. Solley and Cannon-Miller were also representing the newly formed Arts & Culture Alliance.

In a recent meeting at Visit Bend approximately 25 representatives from the arts community weighed in on who is in charge, who evaluates the grants and who decides where the money goes. A general consensus was reached about who the representatives will be on the commission with some suggestions to add two more citizen representatives that the commission might choose to select from the Latino community, media and/or business community.The initial meeting will form the structure and foundation of the BCTF. Each future meeting will progressively establish the necessary layers.  More discussions will take place as to the final makeup of the Commission and the definitive process. If you would like to weigh in, send your comments to:

The Bend Cultural Tourism Commission (11 voting members)

  • 1  Bend Arts & Beautification Committee board member (appointed by mayor)
  • 1 Arts Central board member (appointed by Arts Central board of directors)
  • 1 Arts & Culture Alliance board member (appointed by ACA board of directors)
  • 1 Scalehouse board member (appointed by Scalehouse board of directors)
  • 1 representative of a regional or state foundation (OCF, United Way, Meyer, etc.), appointed by Visit Bend board of directors
  • 1 restaurant/shopping/entertainment representative (appointed by Old Mill District)
  • 1 restaurant/shopping/entertainment representative (appointed by Downtown Bend Business Assoc. board).
  • 2 tourism industry representatives (appointed by Visit Bend board of directors – these seats cannot be VB board members).
  • 1 Bend citizen representative (appointed by Commission).
  • 1  Visit Bend board member (appointed by Visit Bend board of directors).

Composition guided by these primary objectives:

  • Maximize transparency, fairness and effectiveness – while mitigating conflicts of interest
  •  Diversify control of Commission appointments
  • Create a diverse and independent leadership group of direct stakeholders 
  • Weight Commission toward tourism industry
  • Representation from arts community aggregators, while ensuring representation for all individual arts stakeholders. 
  •  2 year terms, maximum 2 terms (staggered terms to start).
  • Sole authority on granting decisions.
  • Executive Committee elected by fellow commissioners: Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Visit Bend Commission appointee.  
  • The Commission is responsible for the long term success, evolution and overall vibrancy of the BCTF. (i.e., they’re not just a granting body, they are a leadership group).

In addition to the guidelines it has been established and agreed that Attorney Laura Craska Cooper will work with Visit Bend, Advisory Committee and BCTF administrator to draft bylaws.

Specific language addressing conflicts of interest and recusal policies will be established. Evaluation criteria and a points-based scoring system will be defined in an addendum to bylaws. Financial management and monthly reporting will be conducted by Greenstone Financial Management and paid for by VB (monthly public reporting of financials). Composition of Advisory Committee and appointment process will be defined within bylaws.


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