▶️ 20 years of art programs in historic train depot coming to an end

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After years of operation in the historic train depot in the Old Mill District, Bend Park and Recreation District is looking for a new home for its popular art and clay programs.

The Art Station must move to make way for more and larger events coming to the Les Schwab Amphitheater.

The historic train depot building is owned by the Old Mill District and has been home to the Art Station more than 20 years.

The lease will end in March of next year.

“We are looking for a place that would allow us to provide a variety of programs…multimedia classes, painting, drawing,” said Sue Boettner, recreation services manager for Bend Park and Recreation. “We do a lot of art camps on no school days; full day art programs. Summertime we do art programs all day long. The majority of services we offer are for kids. We do have adult programs.”

More than 3,200 people participated in art programs at the Art Station the past five years, testifying to the demand for creative arts classes.

The challenge now is finding suitable and reasonably priced space in which to conduct the programs.

“We are looking for a place that will hold 12 to 24 people to provide for our camps. We’d like a little grass area like we have here so that at lunchtime, the kids have someplace to run around and get the wiggles out before they sit back down for the afternoon session.”

“We didn’t want to pull the rug out from under the park and rec district or the Art Station,” said Beau Eastes, Old Mill District digital media director. “They’ve known for a while that this is a possibility. This will hopefully give them plenty of time to figure out a new home for these art programs.”

Eastes said the Old Mill District has no specific or immediate plans to utilize the historic train depot building.

Eastes said the building and landscaped grounds around it likely will become part of large events at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, a stone’s throw away.

BPRD is offering a full schedule of art classes this fall and winter in the old train depot before its lease expires.

The park district is exploring possible short-term and long-term options for continuing art programs.

Bend Park and Rec welcomes suggestions from the community on where future art programs can be hosted.

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