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Art in Dull Places 

Visit Bend commissions local artists for public displays

Bend is lucky to have scenic mountain views, an amazing river that runs through the heart of town and striking pine tree forests. But it also has a concrete jungle—places like the industrial portions of Third Street and the parking garage. Those sections of town are not immediately visually appealing. Thankfully, the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection is looking to change those lackluster pockets by offering local artists the opportunity to adorn not-so-attractive corners of the city with their own eye-catching creations.

Named after one of the most picturesque side streets in town, with towering antique red brick walls, where the afternoon sun creates tall shadows, the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection will transform 4-by-8-foot pieces of plywood. The creations will be framed with custom-fabricated metal borders and placed on display around town as public art. The project will be similar to the Roundabout Art Route with the purpose of beautifying the industrial areas of Bend.

Visit Bend funded the project, based on the Arts in the Alley Program in Columbus, Ohio, in the hopes that in-alley installations will jump-start a more artistic Bend and bolster cultural tourism.

"We want to expand the project, as interest grows, to span much of the city," said Doug LaPlaca of Visit Bend.

Locations are perhaps not the most appealing in town, but that's the point. Three pieces will hang in the city's parking garage on Lava Street, and one will adorn the exterior wall of the Oxford Hotel.

Megan McGuinness, local painter and former Source cover artist (on January 24, 2013) whose bright creations look like illustrations from a vivid blocky "Where the Wild Things Are," is one of four participating artists.

"I want it to be whimsical because I feel like that represents Bend," explained McGuinness, referring to the look and feel of her contribution. "It represents Oregon in general and the High Desert and Cascadia, and it will be colorful because of the location."

Contributions from McGuinness, Jesse Roberts of Rise Up International, and Andy Wachs, a local metal artist are among the four artists. Art will go up Friday, May 24.

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