Northwest Mural Fest : LAPC & MM

In late August, while out exploring places along the Columbia River, we stumbled upon the Northwest Mural Fest in The Dalles, Oregon. Painters from all over the country met in The Dalles to create 15 murals in three days. Yes, it was a huge undertaking, literally and figuratively.

The Walldogs


The 200+ sign painters and mural artists who took part in the event belong to a group called The Walldogs. Imagine a “pack” of artists gathering in a town for a few days to create unforgettable works of art. The murals depict places, people, and products that have local significance. The murals attract tourists and give residents a sense of hometown pride.

Honoring the History


The artists working on this mural, by Anat Ronen, must not have a fear of heights. This mural portrays photographer Benjamin Gifford. He moved from the Midwest to Portland in 1888, and to The Dalles in 1896. His work highlights scenic views of the Columbia River and the scenic highway running beside it. Gifford also featured portraits of local Native Americans.

Northwest Mural Fest

The Benjamin Gifford mural is being painted on the back of the Clock Tower. This photo shows the building, built in 1883, from the front.

Clock Tower

This mural by Brad Johnson, completed in 2021, features Blanche McGaughey, a woman bronc rider and bulldogger. She was a pioneer in a field dominated by men in the 1910s. McCaughey had a job with the 101 Wild West Show and impressed the audience with her skills in roping, riding, and wrestling steers.

McGaughey painting

This mural, by Sonny Franks, Eric Skinner, and Russell Kelly, shows rancher Ben Snipes. It’s on the same building as the McGaughey painting. At one time, Snipes owned a herd of 125,000 cattle. His big claim to fame was moving 500 cattle 208 miles into Canada after riding 62 hours on a single horse.

Northwest Mural Fest Ben Snipes mural

This mural, by Jasper Andries, shows a portrait of Chief Tommy Thompson (Celilo Wyam). He tried to stop construction of The Dalles Dam on the Columbia River. It would destroy Celilo Falls, a prime fishing site. Though unsuccessful in his quest, people remember him as being an advocate for the fishing rights of Native peoples.

Chief Tommy Thompson

Northwest Mural Fest in The Dalles

Here’s a map showing the locations of the murals being painted during the Northwest Mural Fest by the Walldogs.

Northwest Mural Fest map

There were signs supporting the Walldogs throughout town. I liked this one in particular. Must be because it has a dog on it.  😀

Northwest Mural Fest Walldogs

Here’s a photo of the historic downtown area.

The Dalles

Brief History of The Dalles

You may not have ever heard of The Dalles, but it is an important town historically. The Oregon Encyclopedia notes, “The Dalles is one of the oldest permanently occupied places in Oregon, significant to Native people for over ten millennia and to Euro-American settlers since the 1830s.”

Native peoples often met here in large gatherings to trade and visit, especially during the fall and summer fishing seasons. Wasq’ó-pam people (Wascoes), the resident tribe known as the People of the Horn-Bowl, were primarily fishers.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark noted the dangerous waters rushing through a long, narrow channel at this location in their journals. French Canadian fur traders gave the town its name, The Dalles, in recognition of this natural feature.

Fur traders and pioneers settled in and around The Dalles, beginning in the early 1800s. When emigrants traveling the Oregon Trail reached The Dalles, they either traveled by raft or boat westward along the Columbia or took the overland route over Barlow Pass. The Dalles was designated as the end of the Oregon Trail in 1906 by Ezra Meeker.

This mural, by Robert Thomas and Debbi Lunz, was painted in 1997. It portrays the Umatilla House, once considered the finest hotel west of Chicago and north of San Francisco. It was open from 1857 to 1930 and reconstructed twice after fires. Visitors included Humorist Mark Twain, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Edison, England’s Lord Litchfield, and Author Rudyard Kipling.

Umatilla House mural

When gold was discovered in the vicinity in the 1850s, the population increased significantly, as did the conflicts. Read more about the town’s colorful history here.

Other murals in The Dalles

The Dalles already had 12 murals in various parts of the downtown area. They created two more in the last couple of years. As of August 28, 2022, when Mural Fest ended, the town now has 29 murals.

Here’s a look at a mural created through Travel Oregon. They feature The Dalles in their Oregon Mural Trail project. The Valley Gorge Hub mural, by Blaine Fontana, was painted in 2018. I think it’s my favorite of the murals I’ve seen so far, but I’ll have to make another trip to find them all.

Magnificent mural in The Dalles, Oregon October 2019

Additional People to Recognize in The Dalles’ History

This mural, by Joe Diaz and Doug Haffner, shows glimpses of the Chinese Community in The Dalles in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Chinese laundries, restaurants, and stores were an important part of the community. Six hundred Chinese workers helped construct railroad lines in this region. They also worked the gold mines in eastern Oregon.

Chinese Community mural

During the Northwest Mural Fest, visitors could read informational signs posted near each work in progress.

Sign at Northwest Mural Fest

This alley shows several smaller murals in progress related to Thomas Condon. The murals, by Lili Lennox, will be moved to the library when completed. In the 1860s, he was a well-known frontier preacher of the Congregational Church. Condon began collecting fossils from the Painted Hills area and became an authority on them. Thomas Condon is Oregon’s first official geologist. Stop by the amazing Thomas Condon Paleontology Center if you’re ever out near Mitchell, Oregon.

Thomas Condon paintings

This mural, by Aaron Taylor, portrays author, H. L. Davis. Davis was a poet and novelist who wrote about the realities of life in the West in the early 1900s. He worked as a cowboy, typesetter, and surveyor. The landscape played a major role in his writings, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for Honey in the Horn (1935), an unflinching portrayal of Oregon homesteaders.

H. L. Davis mural

This mural, by Jennifer Thomas, shows dancer Eleanor Todd Moffett Borg. Borg began dancing to overcome polio. She taught dance from the age of 12 and eventually danced as a New York City Rockette. Borg enjoyed showing horses and taught horsemanship to many local children. She also served as an aviation cadet during World War II.

Eleanor Borg mural

When leaving town, we glimpsed this Sunshine Mill Artisan Plaza and Winery sign. Even the business signs in The Dalles are works of art!

Winery building

After seeing all these works in progress during the Northwest Mural Fest, I realized I’d have to come back to see the completed work. Maybe then I’ll have time to see the National Neon Sign Museum…

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC)- Urban Environments

Monday Mural (MM)

Sisters Oregon mural: Monday Mural

This Sisters Oregon mural in Central Oregon is full of life. North Sister, Middle Sister, and South Sister volcanic peaks hover in the background. Local wildflowers and wildlife fill the bottom of the frame.

I especially liked the great gray owl in the middle of the mural. If you stand in front of this mural in just the right spot, it looks like you have wings. Great for pictures!

Sisters Oregon mural

The Sisters Oregon mural was created in 2020 by local artists, Katie Daisy and Karen Eland. You’ll find it on the wall of Marigold and True, a boutique gift shop. Katie also contributed to murals painted in Foxtail Bakery, which I featured in a previous post.

As noted in this article in The Nugget Newspaper, Katie and Karen had known the store’s owner, Kelley Rae, for ten years. She commissioned them to paint this piece and it turned out beautifully.

I was in town taking pictures of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show when I stumbled upon the mural. The arts are alive and well in this small town.

Monday Mural

Dr Jolly’s colorful façade: Monday Mural

When cannabis was legalized for recreational use in Oregon in 2015, dispensaries popped up all around Bend. Dr Jolly’s is one of these appropriately named establishments.

The first picture shows a vibrant mural at the south end of the building. This looks like a color-filled view of Cascade peaks located near Bend. Red flowers and blue marijuana plants grow in the foreground.

Dr Jolly's mural

The second photo shows a view of the front of the building. A hand points the way to the entrance. Barbers poles, with green stripes instead of red, flank the doors.

Storefront in Bend

The artwork at this business was created by Janessa Bork and Josh Ramp, of VIVI Design Co., in 2020. Their website refers to Janessa and Josh as the “dynamic duo [who] founded VIVI in 2018 with a focus on unique tactile presence.” They create murals – inside and out, signs, menus, and other graphics. The pair’s impressive talent is on display at Dr Jolly’s and many other local businesses.

Monday Mural

The Bend Wall: Monday Mural

You’ll find The The Bend Wall mural on the side of Newport Market, a neighborhood grocery store in Bend, Oregon. The bright painting covers a 100-foot long wall on the side of the building.

This impressive piece of artwork was created by Bend artist, Kim Smallenberg.

The mountain in the center of the mural is Pilot Butte, a dormant volcano. On the right side near the peak, you can see a small fire. On the Fourth of July, commercial fireworks are launched from Pilot Butte, and sometimes, it catches on fire. Our Fire Department is always there and ready.

The Bend Wall

A large metal sculpture of a bear sits in front of one end. The mural behind the bear shows dogs around a campfire. Bend is a dog-centered town. Many residents own one, or two, or…

Bear sculpture & dogs mural
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Whimsical doors in Tumalo, Oregon: Thursday Doors

I noticed these whimsical doors in Tumalo, Oregon while visiting a pod of food trucks. The Bite currently hosts five food trucks. You can get an assortment of beers on tap inside the main building. There is comfortable seating inside and out.

These paintings were done by local artist, Nicole Fontana. There are more pictures of her work at The Bite here. She even included her whimsical take on things in the signs for handicapped parking spots. 🙂

whimsical doors
Fishing fly painting

Thursday Doors

Sisters quilt mural: Monday Mural

Sisters quilt mural

This Sisters quilt mural is located in Barclay Park in Sisters, Oregon. This work by local artist, Jerry Werner, celebrates all that makes this town a vibrant community. In the past, Jerry worked as an illustrator for Walt Disney. His artwork includes murals, fine art, paintings, illustration and graphics, and sculptures.

The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show bills itself as the world’s largest outdoor quilt show. More than 1,300 quilts are hung outside along the town’s main streets and visitors use maps to find them all. The quilts are amazing and show so much creativity and skill!

Monday Mural

Mix Tape A & B Mural: Monday Murals

This Mix Tape A & B mural, by artist Erik Hoogen, is located at Silver Moon Brewing in Bend, Oregon. Erik worked on this labor of love seasonally for two years. This large work of art is located in a narrow alley so instead of trying to show it in one photo, I took several.

I am so impressed by this mural! It’s difficult to paint with a monotone palette and Erik made it look easy.

Mix tape A & B

He captured the essence of these musicians from different times and genres.

Musician mural

Many of the musicians are portrayed in iconic poses.

Mix Tape A & B
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Born Again Babaylan mural: LAPC & MM

This Born Again Babaylan mural, created by Bekah Badilla, is located on the eastside of Bend, Oregon. Bekah is a Filipina/White American who was born in Alaska and now lives in Bend.

The first photo shows a close up of Babaylan.

close up of mural

The second photo shows the entire 18′ x 44′ mural in the light of dawn.

Born Again Babaylan

The artist put a lot of thought into this work. Here is an excerpt from her site describing the Born Again Babaylan mural:

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Landscape of Dreams mural: Monday Mural

This brand new Landscape of Dreams mural shows special sights you might see near Bend, Oregon. The mural is located in southeast Bend at the Bend Upstyle store.

The dream-like mural includes a landscape of volcanic peaks surrounded by towering trees and colorful wildflowers. A bighorn sheep ram gazes into the distance. Meanwhile, a longhorn bull, with a quail perched on one horn, looks directly at you. What’s the quail whispering to the bull as they drift through the landscape?

Landscape if Dreams mural

This rendering of Landscape of Dreams was created and painted by Kelly Odden of Kelly Thiel Studio. She was grateful for the assistance of her friend, Kristen Buwalda, for several hours.

Kelly, whose studio is in Bend, creates sculptures and paintings that include impressionistic portraits of animals and people. When I contacted her about the mural, she said the following:

“One of the best parts of working there was the folks who would stop by to chat, watch and ask questions! I had everybody from house painters to moms with sweet, disabled children come over to chat. It was wonderful to connect with others like that!” 

We are lucky to have so many special artists sharing their work in and around Bend!

Monday Mural

A flying unicorn mural: First Friday Art

This is a flying unicorn mural I painted in my daughter’s room when she was little. She could not decide between a flying horse and a unicorn so I painted both in one. 😀

I prefer working on small projects and had never worked on something so large. Piles of eraser dust accumulated on the floor beneath my rough sketches. I used acrylic paints, and a lot of patience, to complete this mural.

flying unicorn mural

Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

First Friday Art

South Tunnel Murals in Bend: Monday Murals

The South Tunnel Murals, designed in 2012 by local artist, Paul Allen Bennett, are located in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon. These works were completed by 20+ designers from Nike working side by side with Arts Central Art Academy students and Boys and Girls club members.

South Tunnel Murals

See the tracks of shoes running along the lower border? I wonder if those could possibly be from Nike shoes. Hmm…

Bright paintings in Bend

These brightly colored images of fish echo the inhabitants of the Deschutes River, located right next to this tunnel.

Fish paintings in Bend

For now, there are no paintings on the exterior walls of the South Tunnel Murals. I’m hoping another artist will brighten up the dull concrete like they did for the “Tunnel of Joy” nearby.

South Tunnel Murals

Monday Murals

Colocasia esculenta Mural: Monday Mural

Colocasia Esculenta mural

This Colocasia Esculenta mural, created by Danny Fry in 2020, shows colorful elephant ear plants. This plant, referred to as taro or kalo, is common in Hawaii, where Danny grew up.

The colorful leaves of this mural represent the mix of people here in Bend, Oregon. Many people move here from other locations, and this mural reflects that growth in a positive light. For example, Bend hosts several thriving restaurants and businesses run by Hawaiians.

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Deschutes River mural in Bend: Monday Mural

Deschutes River mural in Bend, Oregon

The Deschutes River mural is by husband and wife artists, Paul Bennett and Carolyn Platt. The artists created this mural in 2012. This piece, along with their Dogs mural, is on display at the Strictly Organic coffee shop. These works are in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon.

In this shot taken from a distance, you can see the smokestacks of the old mill building that now houses a REI store.

Mural in Bend, Oregon

Monday Mural

Mayors Square Mural in Troutdale: Monday Murals

This photo of the sun-dappled Mayors Square Mural reflects past times in Troutdale, Oregon. Muralists Dwayne Harty and Tammy Callens created a depiction of what the town looked like in the early 1900s. Completed in the fall of 2016, this work shows every type of ground transportation available in the beginning of the 20th century. The mural includes a train, horse & buggy, automobiles, bicycle, freight truck, and freight wagon.

Mayors Square Mural

Monday Mural

Art with a twist: A riddle in pictures

These three pieces of art with a twist by Dennis McGregor are displayed in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon.

Why do they come with a twist? Each piece represents the name of a local wildlife species but you have to figure out what they are. Can you guess?

Art with a twist in Bend, Oregon July 2020
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Art at the Amphitheater in Bend

Art at the Amphitheater , Bend, Oregon November 2018

When I walk my dog in the Old Mill district, I always smile when I see the art at the amphitheater. The Les Schwab Amphitheater is the main venue for large events in Bend, Oregon. Minneapolis artist, Erin Sayer, painted the crow on one side of the stage and the owl on the other.

Fellow Minneapolis artist, Yuya Negishi, assisted her. Yuya painted a dragon mural on the side of a building across the river and another mural on a staircase.

Owl mural in Bend, Oregon December 2018
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A sweet spot: The Foxtail Bakeshop

We recently visited a newish bakery for a cup of coffee and a sweet. This sweet spot has a good variety of sweets and beautiful artwork.

Check out this large mural full of flora and fauna. Find out more about the six artists that helped create the artwork in this space here.

Sweet spot. Foxtail Bakeshop, Bend, Oregon. February 2020

The front counter has bold black and white tilework.

Foxtail Bakeshop counter. February 2020
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Pub Art at Silver Moon Brewing

This pub art at Silver Moon Brewing captures many of the iconic landmarks of Bend, Oregon. Artist Natalie Fletcher included Smith Rock in the background flanked by the Painted Hills on the left and Mt Bachelor on the right. The Deschutes River winds through the scene.

Can you see the source of the river? An overflowing glass of beer of course. Little Lava Lake is the “real” source and it’s a great place for kayaking.

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Tunnel of Joy in Bend: LAPC

I often walk through this “Tunnel of Joy” by the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. I call it that because the bright artwork is so joyful. I’ve previously featured one side of the bridge and the other but never the inside of the tunnel.

Tunnel of Joy in Bend, Oregon July2017

The abstract painting lining the tunnel is by artist, Tom Cramer. He works in a variety of media and is one of the most successful artists currently working in Portland, Oregon. His best-known mural was “Machine”, painted in 1989.

Tunnel of Joy in Bend, Oregon July2017

At first this mural appears to just be random shapes, but if you look closer you may notice shapes you recognize. I see faces, hearts, snakes, and wings. You can use your imagination to find objects in an abstract work of art.

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Magnificent Mural: A Photo a Week Challenge – Signs

Magnificent mural in The Dalles, Oregon October 2019

We recently saw this magnificent mural in the downtown area of The Dalles, Oregon. Isn’t it fantastic! This is The Valley Gorge Hub by Blaine Fontana. Blaine and Jeremy Nichols used hundreds of cans of spray paint to create this mural in 2018. Toma Villa consulted on this project. He is a colleague of Fontana’s and an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation.

This building has murals painted on the north, south, and east sides. You can see a small sign for Kung Fu classes on the left side of the building.

This Valley Gorge project is one of many planned to bring together the communities near the Columbia River Gorge. They plan to “build a more inclusive mecca for creativity, culture, outdoor recreation, and opportunities for new and existing businesses.”

Blaine created another magnificent mural in The Dalles as a part of the Oregon Mural Trail. This project is funding seven large murals in seven small Oregon towns located throughout the state.

The Dalles has an amazing collection of murals. The Dalles Mural Society has more information on them.

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week Challenge – Signs

Stairway of Art: LAPC

The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.

Vance Havner
Stairway of Art 24November2018

This stairway of art in the Old Mill district of Bend invites you to hear its story. The garbage can and utility box are supporting cast members in this tale.

This work is by Yuya Negishi. I show another of his pieces and tell a bit more about him in Big Bold Art in Bend.

Here is a short video showing Yuya creating this stairway of art.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Street Art

Dog Art+ in Bend, Oregon

This mural is by husband and wife artists Paul Alan Bennett and Carolyn Platt. Can you see why I titled this post Dog Art+? One of those “dogs” looks a little different.

Dog Art+ in Bend 19April2019

Here in Bend, we are into dogs so it only makes sense they are featured in our public art. We have many dog-friendly businesses and plenty of trails to hike with your four-footed friends.

Big Bold Art in Bend: LAPC

Big bold and beautiful

This summer a new big bold mural was added to the collection of outdoor art in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon. Yuya Negishi created this artwork. He was inspired by the mountains, colorful skies, and brilliant flowers of Central Oregon.

Did you notice that the dragon in this mural is breathing flowers instead of fire?

Big bold mural Bend, Oregon 19October2018Here’s more about the artist from a post about Art Murals Around Bend.

“Yuya Negishi is a Japanese visual artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work combines his extensive background in the classical Japanese techniques of calligraphy and SUMI with Japanese pop culture images such as koi, dragons and Buddha’s. Yuya approaches his work in the spirit of play often exploring new ideas and mediums. He also teaches hands on workshops sharing his approaches to SUMI and Calligraphy.

Yuya was born in a small farming community in the mountains beyond Tokyo. Yuya draws artistic inspiration from the memories and sensations of growing up in the Japanese countryside, where he would roam “like a hidden Ninja” exploring the woods, temples and mountain tops of the breathtaking Gunma region.”

See more of Yuya’s amazing art on yuyart .

This big bold artwork is right next to the flag bridge and it can be seen when you’re walking the Mill A Loop trail or floating the Deschutes River.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – BIG can be beautiful too!