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Art on Two Wheels: Cross Culture gives the bike people a look at Bend's art scene 

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You may have already seen them: cyclocross people. There's a chance they are dressed in generally tight-fitting clothes and perhaps the men wear muttonchops and old-timey cycling hats and the occasional scarf and the women, well, they might look the same, save the muttonchops. Or, more likely, they look a lot like you or your neighbor.


While the cyclocross community - which has descended on Bend again this year for the 2010 Cyclocross National Championships - might not carry with it a distinctive outward appearance, this group is nonetheless an active and often vibrant cycling subculture. During the Cyclocross weekend, Bend will showcase some of the art that's inspired by this faction, and the cycling culture in general, something that's already present in Bend, but very well might be new for out-of-town racers and fans who've descended on the city for the weekend of competition.

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The event is called "Cross Culture: Bike + Art Love" and as organizer and founder Cassondra Schindler says, it's "exponentially bigger" than last year's inaugural cyclocross art show. Schindler says that while much of the art is related, in some way, to cycling culture, the event is more geared toward showing off Bend's vibrant art community than merely displaying paintings and photographs of bikes.

"People are going to come here and have an amazing time. And they'll see Bend in a way that we like to perceive ourselves," says Schindler, whose husband is a cyclocross racer, giving her further reason to find herself wrapped up in the 'cross community.

The format for Cross Culture isn't all that different from Bend's monthly First Friday art walks, but Cross Culture has a much wider scope, with several events pushing beyond the limits of a mere art show, including a spoken word event hosted by The Nature of Words at Portello Wine Café on Thursday night (8:30 p.m.) in which participants can tell a story related to biking - like that time they face planted out at Phil's Trail or had your huffy stolen from the middle school bike rack. On Saturday night there's also a screening of Where Are You Go, the cycling documentary that follows riders as they trek from Egypt to South Africa.

But the crux of Cross Culture is the paintings, photography and other art (cycling related or not) that will be taking over galleries, stores and other spaces downtown and in the Old Mill District. Most notable artists in Bend will be showing somewhere in town.

For Schindler, the sport of cyclocross - and all its muddy, sweaty goofiness - fits perfectly with the artistic world.

"[The event] is designed for interaction and expression. That's what I love about cyclocross - it's such an expressive sport," says Schindler, "There's a lot of costumes and also a lot of heckling, you know?"

Also on Friday night is a party at tbd Loft called Artcrank Bend, the localized version of a "poster party for bike people" that has previously only been held in larger cities like Seattle, London and San Francisco. Several notable artists will have their work on display, including Dana MacKenzie, Adam Haynes and Alex Reisfar, among others.

But there are some intensely bike-focused displays to be seen during Cross Culture, including the "pop-up gallery" at the Liberty Theater building where hand-built bicycle frames will be on display, and their makers will be there, too.

Some would think that our world-famous trails and race events would be enough to display to visitors here for the national championships, but in Schindler's mind, if we've got all these folks here, we might as well show them how we roll, both literally and artistically.

"If you're coming from Georgia or Massachusetts you should see some of the talent that's here in Bend," says Schindler.

For More information about Cyclocross, click over to visitbend.com.

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