Bend –A common strain running through residents of Central Oregon is the joy derived from artistic activities – especially music and dance, whether it be in food-cart pods or concert halls. This is true of long-time residents and it’s also true of those who have arrived more recently. So, it seems no wonder that the concept of a Central Oregon Center for the Arts is receiving warm support.
An important component of that support comes from people like Roger and Joyce Kirk, long-time Kirkland, Washington residents who five years ago traded the noise and bustle of Kirkland and Seattle, its close neighbor, for the serenity and beauty of life in Bend.
“It’s a beautiful place with a lot of good energy,” Joyce says of Bend. “We have so enjoyed the Central Oregon Symphony, the Central Oregon School of Ballet and Bend Opera – there’s just a lot of culture and arts here in Central Oregon.”
But while the Kirks love the cultural opportunities available in Central Oregon, they miss the expansiveness and comfort of the concert halls and auditoriums they are used to.
“Early on, when we first came here, I felt like we could do better. The auditorium at Bend High is OK, and so is the Tower. But we can do better,” Joyce said.
The educational outreach planned for the Central Oregon Center for the Arts would be critically important. “We went to a Central Oregon Symphony concert, the Rachmaninoff Piano Concert Number Two,” Joyce said. “It gives me chills to hear it on the radio. This was the first time I’ve heard it live. I was thrilled. But you have to get the word out, the word about the beauty of the music, of the arts. The arts can broaden perspectives, helping people learn something new.”
“We saw the Moscow Ballet at the Tower,” she continued. “I don’t know how they got all those dancers
on that tiny stage, but they did. I had a lovely time, but I really think that a new building, a facility that allows access for people who use walkers, better access, a theater that built to the American with Disabilities Act standards.”