The majority of public art projects in Bend are private—located on private land and privately funded. We are immensely lucky to have an array of patrons in our city who have paid for the installations of sculptures in roundabouts or paid for murals on their privately owned buildings, like in the Old Mill.
As of now, the only area of the city where murals can be installed, with a permit and permission from a building owner, is the Bend Central District, thanks to the lobbying of the BCD and The High Desert Mural Festival. In addition, students at Pine Ridge Elementary have been lobbying city leaders to expand the mural area, so that they can add art to a retaining wall near their school.
The city does allow for businesses to add signs to their buildings, and these signs can contain art, though they are subject to size and placement restrictions. City leaders are beginning to take a look at expanding the code to more areas of the city. The Planning Commission met April 22 to discuss and will hold a public hearing May 13.
Local artist Kaycee Anseth is hoping the change in the code will help her carry out the Franklin Avenue underpass project she's been working toward for the past couple years. Using art and landscaping, the goal is to make the Franklin Underpass a safer area, easier for pedestrians and bike riders to navigate, while also beautifying the long-neglected area.
Anseth has been working with the BCD board to develop a plan for the area and has been working to obtain permission to start the first phase of the project: a mural on the north side wall.
"There are many spots in Bend that could really benefit from having an artist adopt them," suggests Anseth. "I think that if the mural code was open to not just the Makers District, if it was open to surfaces besides buildings, and if there was an easy, clear path to getting projects off the ground, it could transform the city into a very beautiful and vibrant place."
You can let the city know your thoughts on expanding the mural code before the Planning Commission Hearing on May 13 by sending an email to [email protected].