Scalehouse — Much More than a Gallery


(Photo courtesy of Scalehouse)

Scalehouse, a Bend local collaborative of the arts, is a nonprofit organization that aims to bring together diverse thinkers and creatives through art exhibits, discussions and plenty of other programs that are put on throughout the year.

“Scalehouse was founded ten years ago with the vision to create a contemporary creative arts center to connect audiences to boundary-pushing ideas, experiences and expressions through direct access to artists,” said Scalehouse Executive Director René Mitchell. “We wanted to bring more contemporary art, thinking and design to Bend, and we’re happy to be celebrating our ten year anniversary this year.”

With a gallery full of local and non-local art in Tin Pan Alley, right next to San Simon and the Tin Pan Theater, Scalehouse acts as a bridge between art and the community. “We want to break down the barriers and provide an accessible space for emerging artists to show their work, and for guests to experience this work,” Mitchell said “We know that art is not always accessible, and we aim to showcase artists and themes that are relevant to the community, for no charge to our guests.”

The gallery is dedicated to promoting emerging contemporary artists; a theme that is maintained throughout the organization. Next to the gallery, Scalehouse runs the Patricia Clark Studio. Named after one of the nonprofit’s founding members, the Patricia Clark Studio offers studio space for artists to work, explore, create and share with the community their process.

To be accepted to the studio, artists must be selected through a residency program. Of all those who apply for the 6 month residency, only two artists are selected because of limited studio space. The residency costs nothing to the artists selected, and provides them with an incredible opportunity to showcase their work and hone their talents while collaborating with other artists.

Two emerging contemporary artists, Jim Park and Jake Kenobi, just recently completed the first residency program ever offered by Scalehouse. The applications for the next residency program are already closed, and the two new resident artists will be selected soon.

“For the artists selected, we share their work on social media, offer them the chance to work in an open studio and connect with the community, we give them the opportunity to lead an artist talk, and we show their work in the annex, which is the lobby space inside the Franklin Crossing building,” Mitchell said.

Aside from galleries and studio space, Scalehouse puts on a program called Bend Design Week. In 2022, Bend Design Week included five days of collaboration, six guest speakers, four workshops, one art exhibit and endless amounts of creativity and collaboration between designers, architects, developers, researchers, product managers, SEO gurus, librarians, artists and many more. The goal of this week is to foster expansive thinking and deep discussions designed to stretch creativity, shift perceptions and solve problems.

Aside from Bend Design, Scalehouse lives up to their mission by working and partnering with several local organizations to put on thought provoking movie nights, art exhibits, talks and speeches, and much more. Scalehouse helps raise funds to help support artists in Central Oregon who are dealing with the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, they promote murals made by Indigenous artists from the Warm Springs Reservation, and they even partner with Americans for the Arts to announce the launch of Arts & Economic Prosperity 6, a national study that evaluates the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry.

All together, Scalehouse is an organization that aims to make art accessible for everyday people, promote emerging artists and assist in their development, and gather creative thinkers across all industries to collaborate and interact with one another. Looking to the future, Scalehouse would like to keep their downtown gallery location, while also expanding into a larger area to offer more studio space, more gallery space and more opportunities for artist residencies.


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