The Art Scene and Galleries in Bend and Central Oregon

For generations, artists from all walks of life have been drawn to Central Oregon’s natural beauty—its snow-capped mountain peaks, the rolling hills and juniper forests of our expansive high desert, and the sense of stillness and contemplative beauty that pervades it all. 

Today, a dynamic art culture has taken root in Bend and across Central Oregon—with studios, galleries, public pieces, and popular events catering those with an appreciation for art. It’s easy to peruse galleries in downtown Bend and take selfies in front of colorful murals in the midst of your adventures around the region.

Here’s a rundown of the best art events, offerings, and galleries in Bend and Central Oregon:

Ready to explore Bend, Oregon, art galleries? Read on for more.

Art Events and Culture Across Central Oregon

Local artist Abi Jane displaying artwork at First Friday Art Walk.

Photo courtesy of Visit Bend // Local Bend artist Abi Jane Creative.

First Friday Art Walk in Bend

Among art aficionados and casual admirers alike, there are few more beloved traditions than First Friday—a monthly celebration that takes place on the first Friday of each month. As part of the fun, galleries and local businesses open their doors, stay open late, pour local wine, and showcase works from local and regional artists. More often than not, the artists with work on display are on hand to talk about their inspiration, process, creativity, and the pieces on display. 

Around Bend, visitors and locals alike have two First Friday events to choose from. The Downtown Bend First Friday Art Walk celebrates local artists with displays and exhibits in several local businesses—typically with free wine samples, snacks, discounts on food and drink, special sales, and other fun attractions. Nearby, three galleries and a handful of shops welcome visitors to First Friday Art Walk in the Old Mill District with new exhibits and limited-time displays—along with curated samples from a wine bar housed in the Old Mill District.

Art in the High Desert

Each year, one of the premier art events in Central Oregon is Art in the High Desert—a three-day juried show of arts and crafts that brings together roughly 150 artists from throughout the United States and Canada.

Artists are chosen in spring following a blind competition in which works are presented to a jury that changes each year. When summer rolls around, selected artists showcase all manner of art—including sculptures, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, and more—across three days at Riverbend Park in Bend. Works are generally for sale, as well, in case you see a piece that captures your imagination.

Central Oregon Mural Trail

In recent years, city codes across Central Oregon have been updated to allow more public art—a development that spurred the creation of the Central Oregon Mural Trail

In all, the mural trail comprises nine large-scale paintings—all crafted by local artists—with design flourishes that reflect and pay tribute to the community in which each is found. That means you’ll spy Smith Rock State Park in the area’s “Greetings From Redmond” mural; La Pine’s colorful painting, meanwhile, shows off a nighttime scene at nearby Paulina Lake. (Pro tip: Each mural makes a perfect selfie stop to document your Central Oregon adventures.)

Central Oregon Mural Trail painting in Sunriver, Oregon

Top Art Galleries in Bend, Oregon

Mockingbird Gallery

Since 1990, Mockingbird Gallery in Bend, Oregon, has been a mainstay on the local art scene—showcasing paintings and sculptures from an eclectic lineup of more than 40 fine artists from across the United States. Exhibits rotate monthly, but chances are good you’ll see media that depicts wildlife, rural settings, and outdoor scenery.

Jeffrey Murray Photography in Bend, Oregon

Photo courtesy of @jeffreymurrayphotography

Jeffrey Murray Photography

Jeffrey Murray knew he wanted to become a photographer in middle school—and has since carved out a decades-long career shooting landscapes, urban areas, wildlife, and other enchanting sites throughout most of the contiguous United States. Today, visitors can peruse his wide range of works—including several pieces shot around Central Oregon—at the Jeffrey Murray Photography gallery in downtown Bend.

Learn more about local artists, as well as the wide range of work they produce, with our Made in Central Oregon article.

Red Chair Gallery

Bask in the works of roughly 30 regional artists at Red Chair Gallery in the heart of downtown Bend—which since 2010 has showcased fine art works in a variety of media. Monthly exhibits may spotlight paintings, jewelry, photography, pottery, fiber arts, paintings, and even richly detailed glass pieces. Red Chair Gallery is owned and operated by Central Oregon artists, bringing a touch of the region to every piece on display.

Lubbesmeyer Art Studio & Gallery

Lubbesmeyer Art Studio & Gallery sits in the Old Mill District and has the unique distinction of being owned and operated by identical twins. Lori and Lisa Lubbesmeyer produce fiber art and paintings—many of which reflect Central Oregon’s dramatic landscapes—in their studio and gallery, which is open by appointment and during First Friday events.

Owners Lori and Lisa Lubbesmeyer standing in their gallery.
Art on display at Tumalo Art Co. in The Old Mill District.

Photo courtesy of The Old Mill District.

Tumalo Art Co.

The Tumalo Art Co. gallery opened its doors in 2002—and has become an artist-owned-and-operated collective, studio, and gallery that showcases some of Central Oregon’s most talented creative minds. Exhibits change monthly at the Central Oregon art gallery, but work from Tumalo Art Co.’s 14 member artists include hand-pulled prints, paintings, sculptures, glass work, jewelry, and more—with pieces, all displayed at the Old Mill District gallery, ranging from realistic to fantastical in their stylings.

The Workhouse

The Workhouse takes a creative approach to supporting and showcasing works by Central Oregon artists: The community space—an art gallery in Bend, Oregon—hosts several studios (open to the public), offers art classes, and is home to a gallery that sells a wide range of handmade works for buyers on a variety of budgets. The ever-changing selection runs the gamut from paintings and glass work to apparel, hand-crafted soap, and even artisan honey—and represents the creative output of more than 60 artists and makers from across Oregon.

Ready to keep exploring the region’s arts and culture scene? Learn more about museums & galleries in Central Oregon.

The Workhouse gallery and studio in Bend, Oregon

Photo courtesy of The Workhouse

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