Art is not dead, even in the recession. As a supporter of the “make local habit” campaign in Bend, my favorite place is downtown on Minnesota Ave. PoetHouse, as locals call it, just celebrated their one-year anniversary with a party, dancing, a DJ and great artsy atmosphere! Located above the Wine Bar on Minnesota, PoetHouse is a non-profit art studio and gallery, serving as a community space for all ages. PoetHouse started as a place to help people discover and celebrate art, with an emphasis on resident artists mentoring youth who are interested in art and has been an active avenue for the arts in Bend, partnering with other community businesses to provide dance lessons, art classes and a safe place to create and practice various forms of artistic expression for youth.

Resident artists work in the space, creating beautiful paintings, fiber arts, sculptures, mixed media projects and photographs. Last weekend I went to their art sale, colorful works covered every inch of space showcasing the creations of the local artists. It was a great opportunity to support local, buy affordable art to decorate my home and meet some of the artists! PoetHouse also gives back to the community through multiple events such as a free “Kids Art and Dance Day”, also last weekend, where youth were invited to paint, learn hip hop, jazz and contemporary dance moves and practice kid yoga and do other art projects. It also offers workshops and classes throughout the year for artists, and art lovers alike.

Also, the first Friday of every month all year, PoetHouse opens its doors for the First Friday Art Walk in Bend. The artists put on a professional gallery show open to the community, usually 5pm to 10pm. It’s a great place to stop by, watch the artists work, get inspired by the creative process and support a local non-profit that has been a great resource to the community.

Sarah McMurray is a wanderlust, a hopeful romantic, an artist, a writer and a passionate connoisseur of coffee and culture. She holds a BA from Seattle Pacific University and has been transitioning from higher education to the non-profit sector. Currently she resides in Bend, Oregon where she feels she is the luckiest girl in the world to call herself a native.

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