REDMOND, OR -- For the first time, a city is being recognized by the Deschutes Cultural Coalition for its efforts to promote local art and culture. Redmond has received the Ben Westlund Award, in honor of the late Central Oregon lawmaker who co-founded the Oregon Cultural Trust.
City Manager Keith Witcosky tells KBND efforts over the past few years have created a “sense of place” for the community. "We’ve created really good public places where there’s public art, where there’s well thought out sidewalks and nice street lighting, with flowers and banners and all these kinds of things that make this place attractive, rather than just making a place be redeveloped."
Along with the award comes a $1,000 charitable contribution, and Witcosky says that will be donated to the city’s Commission for Art in Public Places. "Art is really what helps create a sense of place and the work that they’ve done and the effort that they’ve put into public art in Redmond and culture in Redmond. It’s really, in some ways, an economic development tool as well. And, people want to be able to hang out in a place, and live in a place, that they’re not just working and living, but they can appreciate some of the amenities and design that’s around them."
The Deschutes Cultural Coalition says the city was chosen because of its high aesthetic standards in urban renewal planning and development. Witcosky says Redmond’s transformation of downtown isn’t over yet. "The work is continuing with Evergreen. When that project is done in about a year, that’ll be the next opportunity to show how we do public redevelopment. The opportunity following that, will be the block that Evergreen is on, as it gets redeveloped. The work of the Arts Committee continues. They do the Art Around the Clock, basically selecting a number of different public pieces and placing them out for a year or two; that’s going to go on as well."