Looking for something to add to your calendar this Friday? Downtown Bend offers a nice evening out with the First Friday Art Walk. Dozens of local businesses keep their doors open late for this monthly event. You will find the work of local artists on display throughout the various shops in the downtown area, with many serving snacks and drinks. So, come on down and enjoy a glass of wine while you peruse the creativity of our local artists and get in a little shopping while you’re at it!
First Friday Art Walk is a year-round event, and the downtown area comes alive! Local musicians flank the sidewalks for your entertainment, with our favorite being the Cascade Highlanders Pipe Band.
Many people often wonder if this is a family-friendly event. Kids are certainly welcome, however mine were a little bored after the first few shops, so it really depends on their age. If you go on the earlier side, be sure to hit up Leapin’ Lizards Toy Company and Powell’s Sweet Shop for some treats and a distraction or two. On the flip side, if you make it down for an early dinner with the kiddos in tow, you can buy yourself some time with a stop at Goody’s or Bonata for some ice cream or gelato!
My husband and I prefer to make a date night out of the First Friday Art Walk. There are a bunch of great restaurants downtown to make your evening complete. We usually make a reservation to ensure a table at our favorite eateries, however many do not take reservations. In that case, we put our name on the list and browse around while we wait. Oh, and speaking of date night, if you have older kiddos, drop them off at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center on your way into town. They host a special “Kids Night Out” specifically for First Friday (Fall-Spring, ages 6-10) so your kids can play, swim and do crafts while you get your art on!
As I mentioned in my last article, I have recently added a new “Bend Favorites” category to the blog. This is a place where I plan to highlight some of our local businesses, people and products. Sharing the backstory, the journey and the inspiration that makes these local favorites what they are today. Check out my first feature on ATLAS Cider, if you haven’t already. Next up…local artist MaryLea Harris!
MaryLea Harris is a parent, educator, author, and founder of Pink and Green Mama, an award-winning arts and crafts website for caregivers of young children. She is a visual artist specializing in painting, mixed media, sculptural books, and fiber arts since 1998.
Her abstract work features brightly colored backgrounds created by layering paint and scraping it away with plastic gift cards. “These cards are wonderful tools not only for scraping paint but also serve as a reminder of our consumer-driven society and how quickly we replace nature with man-made materials,” says MaryLea.
Her latest Map Series is meant to explore our relationships between physical place, connection, belonging, and our collective personal journeys. Authenticity > Perfection. The layers in her work analogize the interplay between positives and negatives in space and life. She focuses on the interplay of space as she reflects on her own positive and negative growth experiences in the past few years.
With over 15 years in the field of Arts Education, MaryLea has degrees in Studio Art and Art History from Sweet Briar College with an emphasis in painting and printmaking. She holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in painting. MaryLea created a performance art piece for the 2015 TEDxBend event and was the featured artist for Simplicity Homes during the COBA Tour of Homes ’15 and ‘16. She was a featured artist in Cascade A&E’s April 2015 issue and the February 2017 Cover Artist, a Harry D. Forsyth Fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and has exhibited her work at multiple galleries including Lubbesmeyer Art Studio, LUMIN Gallery, Franklin Crossing, City Walls at City Hall, the Ellipse Center, and the Betty Gray Gallery at Sunriver.
MaryLea is an active member of the Central Oregon art community. She served as the co-organizer for the Women’s Artist Group of Bend, was the youngest member of the High Desert Art League, and shows her work regularly at First Friday events throughout Bend.
She maintains a sunny studio in Bend, Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters, Emma and Claire. MaryLea is kept company by her studio cats, Hazel and Charlie, and rescued retired racing greyhounds, Pippi and Ginger, while she works. Her colorful artwork is available for purchase on her website www.maryleaharrisart.com
I am proud to call MaryLea Harris my friend and I am honored to host her as a featured artist for the upcoming First Friday Art Walk at Bend Premier Real Estate. Please stop by for a glass of wine and say hello to MaryLea from 5:00-8pm on June 2. We are located 515 NW Franklin Ave, on the corner of Franklin & Bond. We look forward to seeing you Living the Bend Life at the First Friday Art Walk!