Downtown Bend just got a little more colorful. A new mural was completed over the weekend outside the Chase Bank building on Franklin Avenue as part of a popular national art campaign called The Greetings Tour.
“It’s a project my wife and I had started in 2015 when we were living in New York. We packed our entire lives into an RV and spent the next six years creating these community postcard murals from coast to coast,” said Greetings Tour founder Victor Ving.
The Greetings Tour, which aims to create timeless landmarks through public art, was working on their latest mural outside the Chase Bank building on Franklin Avenue in Downtown Bend all last week.
“I never went to art school or anything. I kind of I learned it all through really just graffiti growing up in New York,” Ving said.
He started the tour with an original goal of painting a mural in every state. Now, eight years later, the goal has evolved, but the murals are still going up.
“Now we have over 60 murals across 27 states. But then we realized, like, what value is that give to other people? So along the way, we saw people reach out to us and they they’re like, if this mural, I went and found so-and-so. So we realize there’s something there,” Ving said.
Bend became the first greetings tour stop in Oregon.
“We’ve actually been trying to do a mural here since like 2018, and there was a mural artist at the time but not anymore. We’re glad we’re here and we’re donating this with the support of Chase to make this all happen,” Ving said.
To ensure the mural represents the spirit of each town, Ving works with the city he’s in and collaborates with local artists on each tour stop.
“We always try to incorporate elements like landmarks, history, culture, as well as local artist collabs everywhere we go,” Ving said.
Janessa Bork was one of two local artists that worked on Bend’s mural.
“Some of my my favorite vibes of downtown is how beautiful all of our roundabouts are and all the gardens that surround us. So I wanted to do some perennials in the foreground and then add, of course, one of our beautiful Ponderosas kind of towering over everything with some hops to give tribute to a lot of the local breweries here in town,” Bork said.
Bork is a professional illustrator with Vivi Design Co.
“It was pretty exciting to hear from (Ving). I know that this is their first mural in Oregon and they’ve painted a lot of them all over the U.S., so it feels very special that they picked Bend out of all the cities here,” Bork continued. “When he reached out, he let me know that I had the opportunity to design one of the letters and so I picked ’N’ and my inspirations are definitely Mt. Bachelor. That’s why I live here. So that was my go to, of course.
Over the years, Ving has found that the murals do a lot more than just look cool.
“We realize the draw of these murals actually helps businesses around where they live,” Ving said.
“I really think that it creates a dynamic between the locals as well as tourism,” Borque said. “It’s going to help attract more people to this street, which I think is kind of a sleeper street.”
After a week of painting, the work was done and another timeless public art landmark was complete.
The Greetings Tour will make its next stop in Azusa, California.
If you’d like to see more of their murals, you can follow them on all the major social media platforms. Just look for their handle: GreetingsTour.