BEND, Ore. - The Deschutes River Trail just became even more beautiful – and this time it's art, not nature, that adds to the visual appeal of this popular walkway.
The two tunnels underneath the Columbia Street Bridge in the Old Mill District are now graced with striking murals, thanks to the efforts of unique collaboration between non-profit organization Arts Central, a team of designers from Portland-based Nike, and the Old Mill District.
Cate O'Hagan, executive director of Arts Central, was contacted by Nike during the summer about a design leadership team meeting they had planned in Bend. The team wanted to contribute to the community in a creative way while they were here and O'Hagan suggested the tunnel murals as the perfect undertaking.
"To be encouraged and recognized by Nike as a creative community asset is a huge honor," said O'Hagan. "We want arts integrated learning to be a priority for the region as we move into the age of innovation and support from Nike and the Old Mill District helps us accomplish this goal."
Arts Central created an agreement with the Old Mill District to take the project on, and one of the group's teaching artists, Paul Bennett, created the mural design for Nike to review. The artwork in both tunnels reflects the rich and thriving riparian areas along the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District. To complete the painting, more than twenty Nike designers and staff worked shoulder to shoulder with the same number of Arts Central's Art Academy students and kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs. The murals were completed during a two and a half hour "marathon" painting session earlier this week. O'Hagan continued, "This is a perfect example of a corporate and non-profit collaboration that brings even more beauty to Bend."
According to John Hoke, lead Nike designer, giving back to community in a way that supports and fosters creativity is a priority for Nike Design. To show appreciation for Arts Central's arts education programs, Nike Design will make a lead special appeal gift to Arts Central's upcoming Black & White auction to be held at the Riverhouse Sunday, October 8th.
About the Old Mill District
One of the Pacific Northwest's most distinctive and dynamic mixed-use developments, the Old Mill District is located on 270 acres that formerly housed one of the largest sawmill operations in the world. The rich history of the land is coupled with spectacular mountain views, scenic river vistas and an extensive trail system to enjoy the outdoors. More than 55 local, regional and national retail outlets and businesses call the Old Mill District home, as does the park-like Les Schwab Amphitheater which can accommodate up to 8,000 patrons for concerts and other events. The Old Mill District – Bend's most unique shopping, dining, living, and entertainment experience.
The Old Mill District is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Many stores, including Regal Cinemas and restaurants, have extended hours. For complete information on the Old Mill District, visit www.theoldmill.com.