Art is a powerful teacher. Art teaches us about the world, ourselves, and each other. Art can helps us understand how an artist ‘ticks’, or serve as a gateway to other subjects like science or history. 

Here at Bend Art Center, we have a unique combination of exhibit and studio space, so students get a double dose of art. We use our exhibits to build art appreciation and explore broad subjects, then we bring kids to the studio to creatively process what they’ve learned.

Now in our fourth year, our school programs continue to expand across Central Oregon. We’ve served K-12 schools in Bend, Redmond, Sisters, LaPine, Sunriver and Prineville. Thanks to the support of Art on the River, Clabough Foundation, and people like you, we’re seeing more and more kids light up with art.

Photos by Milly and Ross Photography

“Who knew reptiles were so cool?”

Did you know…

Rubber boas use their tail as a decoy for their head?
Blue-tailed skinks only look poisonous?
Gopher snakes can mimic the sound of a rattler?

This spring, students learned about native reptiles and their surprising biological adaptations in our “Cold-Blooded Neighbors” exhibit. Kids were bursting to share their experiences with lizards, snakes and turtles (so many hands in the air!) and proved just as eager to test their eye and pick out line, pattern and positive/negative space in Abney Wallace’s detailed woodcut prints.

Thanks to our partnership with High Desert Museum, we shared amazing ways reptiles stay safely out of sight and use their adaptations to trick, warn or startle predators. 

“Can we make snakes?”

Inspired by Abney Wallace’s art in the gallery, students made snake prints. Kids picked a favorite snake and used photographs for reference. We reviewed the elements of design from our exhibit talk and challenged kids to create sinewy lines, positive and negative spaces, and patterns. 

“I’m an artist!”

The kids’ art revealed their grasp of design elements and their growing enthusiasm for our local reptiles. Every print was successful. And every print was unique! 

Best of all, every child—at least for a day—was as an artist.

Any donation, large or small, makes a difference! Support arts education in our region. Donate to our Art Sparks Campaign as a Friend, or become an Art Ally as a monthly donor.