A desire to protect Valley history and a vision to see community art flourish have brought together a new group, North Bend Art and Industry. The group aims to create a central location to foster creativity in North Bend.
North Bend Art and Industry plans to turn a historic train shed into an “Art Barn” as workshop and learning space for artists in the Valley.
A piece of history was under threat of demolition as Tanner Electric prepared to build a new substation in North Bend. The 1924 locomotive shed was one of the surviving buildings from the region’s logging history and had once served as an office for the North Bend Timber Company.
When Beth Burrows heard the historic shed was in danger, she jumped at the chance to save it from demolition. Burrows, a longtime North Bend resident and current owner of the North Bend Theater, began discussions with Tanner Electric who agreed to donate the shed to Burrows. In 2018, the shed was catalogued and disassembled to be moved to Burrows’ 2.5-acre property adjacent to the Public Works Department on East North Bend Way.
Safe from demolition, the shed became the centerpiece of an idea to cultivate the artistic community of the city. Burrows started the local group North Bend Art and Industry with several other residents as a way to promote artists and begin work on transforming the train shed into the central location for art in the city.
North Bend Art and Industry formed a board and applied to become a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Burrows said the group is now waiting to receive their designation.
The train shed will become an Art Barn, a creation and gallery space for local artists. The Art Barn is just phase one of a larger plan to turn the whole property into an arts workshop space.
Debra Landers, the vice president of North Bend Art and Industry board, explained that creating a space for artists to meet each other and collaborate is one of the biggest priorities for the project.
“To have a place where people of all ages can gather and collaborate and create is going to be really cool,” Landers said. “There are so many artists and so many hidden artists because there is not a single place that they gather. Once we started to reach out, many people are out there that are untouched, unrecognized, unpromoted, and are so excited about collaborating with other artists.”
Right next to the Art Barn sits a farmhouse, built in 1910, which will become a writer’s retreat in phase two. From there, future plans for the site include a workshop for industrial art like wood and metal working.
But first, the group is focused on “building the barn” in 2020. The roof of the shed is already on the property and the group is working to raise funds to rebuild it as it stood for decades at its new location. Through fundraising activities and the pursuit of grant funding, Burrows hopes to meet the financial goal of the rebuild next year.
She also aims to apply for a King County Historic Landmark designation which will allow the organization to apply for additional funding options.
North Bend Arts and Industry held a community art event on the property on Saturday, June 22, featuring local artists and live music. Burrows said the group plans to continue to feature big community events at the property at each solstice, as a way to build awareness of their vision and fundraise for the project.
More information on North Bend Art and Industry can be found on the group’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NorthBendArtandIndustry.