An influx of visual inspiration and wonder is on its way, complementing the art we love every day in Bend, Oregon. Art in the High Desert returns for its 8th annual event on August 28 – 30, showcasing over 110 talented, professional artists here in the Old Mill District. The premier juried art fair is now ranked 12th in the nation out of 600 shows according to the Art Fair Source Book. On Friday and Saturday, Art in the High Desert will be open from 10am to 6pm and on Sunday, 10am to 4pm.
We asked event co-founder Dave Fox about the history and influence of Art in the High Desert. He shared these insights plus a few tips on how to make the most of the experience, for first time visitors and returning fans alike.
OMD: What inspired the genesis of Art In The High Desert?
DF: We’d moved from Portland where we were both very active running shows. We loved the process, the people, the energy. And we kept traveling back to Portland to continue to be a part of things over there. Gradually we decided that we lived in Central Oregon and we wanted to focus on our new community. Looking around we realized while there were lots of music, athletic and performing arts things happening in Central Oregon, there was very little for the visual artists. Put that together with our skill, interest, expertise and a show was born! Since the beginning the fabulous venue and the support from the Old Mill District have enabled the Art in the High Desert spirit and our plans to become a real and unique event nationally.
OMD: How has the event’s growth and success surprised you?
DF: We knew the potential was there, but how Central Oregon would embrace it was an unknown. Plus while we had this great idea as the economy was on the upswing, the first year of the show (2008) was when the bubble had burst. We were very surprised at how fast it became a “rated” show nationally.
OMD: How has Art in the High Desert changed the local arts scene?
DF: Hard to say. We think it has had a hand in invigorating it and helping make Bend a cultural destination as well as a recreational destination. We hope that it shows how something big can start very small. We did not have a grant or a large pot of money to get the show going. We started with loans from the board, totaling $1,000. Those loans were repaid after year #1.
We know that Art in the High Desert has opened many people’s eyes to the quality and variety of the visual arts around the country and hopefully enlarged everyone’s perceptions of how exciting fine art and craft is.
OMD: What is your favorite aspect of Art in the High Desert?
DF: The people. The patrons, the volunteers, the people who work with us to make it happen, the artists. We wanted to get more involved with our community when we started this. We have and we are constantly in awe of what a wonderful place we live in. It takes a town to put on this event and the synergy of everyone moving together to that end, is so wonderful to be a part of.
OMD: What are your top tips for enjoying a full weekend of Art in the High Desert?
DF: Take your time. Walk the show, visit with the artists, come-back and see the art- work again with different eyes. Enjoy the show and the Old Mill District. Visit with the artists. They are a fascinating bunch from across North America (including Central Oregon) with great stories as to why they are artists, why they chose the media they do, their creative journey.
Don’t be shy about buying a piece of art from an artist. If it speaks to you, it will for years to come as you view it in your home. We are amazed at how pieces of art make us smile even though they’ve been in our lives and home for years. And when you see the price of art, know it represents a lot of the artist’s life and thought as he/she made that piece. Yes, you can get “art” cheaper at the big box stores, but you can’t support a small business nor take home something that will touch you for years.
Thanks Dave, and congratulations on the continued success of Art in the High Desert! We look forward to sharing this weekend with you!
This year, the first 20 art buyers each day of the show who spend over $1,000 and present receipts at the Information Booth will receive Thank You Gift Bags. Art in the High Desert is also awarding $2,000 in Art Bucks for your shopping pleasure. That is $100 each to 20 lucky buyers. There will be 10 winners Friday and 10 winners Saturday. Come to the show; complete the survey with volunteers or at the Information Booth. Drawings are held Friday and Saturday evenings at 5pm.
On Friday afternoon (August 28th) Katrina Sarson, host of OPB’s Oregon Art Beat, will moderate “Art Beat Conversations” at Art in the High Desert. The public is invited to join in these lively conversations with artists. Oregon Art Beat is OPB’s Emmy Award-winning local arts series. 7 Oregon Art Beat alumni will be featured at the 2015 AHD.
Here’s to a wonderful weekend in Bend!