Designed to promote the arts in Oregon’s high desert, the Central Oregon Mural Trail was originally inspired by Travel Oregon’s successful “Only Slightly Exaggerated” illustrated campaigns.
Prineville is home to Travel Oregon’s “Only Slightly Exaggerated” mural on Main Street. This project was in partnership with Forest for the Trees, an Oregon-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation of contemporary public art and bringing artists together in collaborative settings. Visit Central Oregon partnered with Forest for the Trees, Warm Springs Community Action Team, Tananáwit: A Community of Warm Springs Artists, Madras Chamber, and talented local artists for three stunning murals located in Warm Springs and Madras.
In FY2021, Visit Central Oregon developed a new theme for the Central Oregon Mural Trail, “GREETINGS FROM…,” and took the ambitious project in-house. The RDMO commissioned two well-known artists in Central Oregon, Karen Eland and Katie Daisy. Karen and Katie’s creative collaboration brings “GREETINGS FROM….” to life by infusing community landscapes, flora and fauna, and wildlife into each unique mural along the trail.
These engaging murals draw people to explore and experience different parts of the region along the Central Oregon Mural Trail. Much like the murals spread throughout Nashville and other popular destinations, the “GREETINGS FROM…” murals create a “sharable” moment where people will take their photo in front of them and post to their favorite social media channel.
The desire to invigorate Central Oregon as a destination for arts and culture was expressed by Central Oregon stakeholders at the Regional Listening Session held May 2018 in Sisters. By highlighting regional arts and culture, Central Oregon’s reputation will be broadened beyond being known for outdoor recreation.
Murals have been installed in Central Oregon communities where there is opportunity to amplify and expand awareness of the region’s vibrant arts and culture scene. The region’s rural communities have priority for the new “GREETINGS FROM…” murals, with the first one installed in La Pine. Through the lens of creative art, the mural trail enhances and strengthens arts and culture throughout the region by encouraging new and returning visitors to discover areas they may have not chosen to explore otherwise.
Despite most RCTP programs being reformed or paused in 2020, the murals were one of a handful of projects that could continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Central Oregon Mural Tail features four stunning murals that embellish and inspire travelers to explore Central Oregon’s unique communities through arts and culture.
For visitors, the mural trail provides an opportunity to be inspired and explore while getting outside. With outdoor experiences considered a safe activity during the pandemic, this was an unintended benefit of the mural trail. Additionally, a known priority for tourism in Central Oregon to level seasonality, the mural trail is self-guided, and can also be experienced year-round.
Last year also allowed the opportunity to consider new developments for the Central Oregon Mural Trail. We are pleased to share that future “GREETINGS FROM…” murals will be installed in downtown Redmond, Maupin, Sunriver, Sisters, Bend and at our new Welcome Center in the Redmond Airport.
Featuring the uniqueness and natural wonders of each destination, the Central Oregon Mural Trail generates a sense of community pride, economic development and continues to grow and cultivate arts and culture initiatives.