A picture is worth a thousand words. But the new hand-painted mural outside Bend’s Newport Market will be worth a million smiles.

“The Bend Wall” is the work of local artist Kim Smallenberg, a project she started painting in May.

And it was no small task considering her canvas was 100 feet wide and 20 feet tall.

Newport Market CEO Lauren Johnson said they gave Smallenberg an overview of their vision for the project, but gave her free reign to work her magic and capture the spirit of Bend.

“We wanted to bring a little joy to our corner of the world, and to give people a reason to smile,” Johnson said. “We gave her a broad canvas, literally and figuratively, to use her talents to help us celebrate all the things we love about Bend.”

Mission accomplished.

The artwork includes several of the breweries in town, Pilot Butte, some of our parks, our beloved ski area Mt. Bachelor, Tumalo Falls, the historic Tower Theatre, Hayden Homes Amphitheater and more.

“I believe tourists and people from out of town can come here and get a real good lay of the land,” Smallenberg said. “It’s like a real, living map of Bend and one can come here and open their horizons on where to look and go explore in Bend.”

The mural even includes an homage to the Great American Eclipse, which passed directly through Central Oregon in late August 2017.

The big red heart was the first thing Smallenberg painted on the mural, using it, she said, as a sounding board and for rotating messages of love. She said she knows of at least one couple who got engaged in front of the mural with the heart as a backdrop.

“That just made my heart so warm,” she said. “I hope that happens many times over.”

Smallenberg, a Bend resident for more than 22 years, has been an artist nearly all her life. A lot of artists, she said, do pieces that only a few eyes see.

That certainly won’t be the case here. Newport Market is in the heart of Bend’s bustling west side and has been one of the region’s most popular grocery stores since opening in 1976.

“I’ve been able to do an amazing piece of artwork that so many eyes are going to see and so many images are going to be taken of it,” she said. “It’ll bring lots of memories. a lot of smiles.”