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BPRD seeks new home for art, clay programs

November 12, 2021

After years of operation in the historic train depot in the Old Mill District, Bend Park and Recreation District is seeking a new home for its popular art and clay programs. Community members with an interest in supporting the future of community art programs including the availability of suitable facility space are invited to contact the district.

The train depot building is owned by the Old Mill District and has been home to the Art Station through a generous lease for more than 20 years.  The lease will end in March 2022.

“We are thankful to the Old Mill District for many years of partnership to support art education at the historic and unique train depot,” said Don Horton, executive director. “We’ve known since assuming operation of the Art Station 5 years ago that a long-term home may need to be located elsewhere and we are pursuing other opportunities that may enable us to continue the strong art programs for youth and adults.”

“The Old Mill District now needs the Railroad Depot building to support its Amphitheater event programs,” said Bill Smith, William Smith Properties, Inc. “We have been able to host arts programs in the Depot Building for over 20 years. Bend Park and Recreation District does a wonderful job with art classes for children and adults.  We will continue to support the district and the arts in the future.”

In fall 2016, BPRD worked quickly to restart Art Station programs that were previously offered by Arts Central in the same building when the not-for-profit organization closed. Programs have featured a variety of mediums including painting, drawing, printing, sculpture, jewelry, glass arts, ceramics, pottery, textiles and mixed media.

Since 2016, 3,286 people have participated in BPRD’s art programs at the Art Station. Approximately 71% of participants are youth, including many who attend popular day camp programs during summer and no-school days. Some adult art programs have been offered at Larkspur Community Center, home of the Bend Senior Center, as well.

“The district helps individuals pursue their passions in whatever ways those recreation opportunities speak to them – and for many that includes creative arts,” said Matt Mercer, recreation services director. “We have a full schedule of offerings this fall and winter and I invite art enthusiasts to take a class before our time in the historic train station comes to an end.”

BPRD staff are in discussions about possible short-term and long-term options for continuing programs that have been located at the Art Station.

The best option would be a dedicated space with adjacent outdoor space that supports the specific needs of art programs and allows programs to grow in the number of participants and in the breadth of offerings. A new location would also need to be low-cost to keep program fees affordable and accessible to youth and adults.

Programs at the Art Station will continue through March.  Limited space is available now for fall programs at the Art Station. Winter program registration opens Dec. 7.