(541) 389-1813 | 129 NW Idaho Ave., Bend, OR 97703

Rockwell Blahnik Memorial Sculpture Call for Artists


DCHS seeks artistic proposals for an outdoor work of art that incorporates geologic materials from Klondike Kate Rockwell’s rock hound collection. While there is no restriction on artistic interpretation, the inspiration of the piece should be from a) the life of Kate Rockwell, her love of the region and b) the celebration of the all the creative and independent women of Deschutes County. Material on the history of Kate and her time in the region will be provided, and access to the archives of the Deschutes County Historical Society for additional inspiration will also be provided. Video to a presentation on Klondike Kate’s history can be viewed here: 

Specifically, the sculpture will be presented in memory of artist Charlene Blahnik, who was born and raised in Deschutes County.

Kate’s rock hounding efforts were captured by her biographer Ellis Lucia as follows:

“Ever since her homestead days on the High Desert, she had ranged over the central Oregon plateau by wagon, horseback, and in later years a battered car. She never returned empty-handed, hauling back stony fragments of primeval trees, large chunks of various petrified woods, huge agates, geodes, jasper, strange lava pieces, thunder eggs, obsidian, fossilized bones, Indian artifacts, and gorgeously colored semiprecious stones. She loved tramping about alone, risker her neck climbing down rocky defiles or venturing into the dark, foreboding caverns. In her snorting, blowing old car, Kate beat her way along faded trails and wagon ruts, and across dry washes or straight through the sagebrush, the radiator steaming until she gave it a breather. If she blew a tire, she got out and made the change.

Kate hauled her treasures from the Bear Creek buttes, Antelope, the Crooked River gorge, Fort Rock, the High Desert, the Deschutes canyon, Silver Lake, and innumerable mysterious volcanic craters and out-croppings. She also had some prized stones from the Yukon and from the Spokane River near her girlhood home. All told, Kate’s collection weighed about three tons.”

Some of the geological materials


Constructed in 1914, historic Reid School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The three story stone school building sits on over an acre, with an expansive lawn and shade trees that make it an inviting cultural center bordered by the Old Town Neighborhood Historic District and downtown Bend, Oregon. The preferred site for the sculpture on the grounds is next to a grove of aspen trees on Museum grounds on the southeast corner of the property.


The work of art must be fabricated in durable, permanent, outdoor media that is safe, easily and inexpensively maintained, and has proven its viability in public artworks. The final sculpture will not exceed six feet in height.


The funds available for the commission of a work of art shall not exceed $12,000. The funds are made available through generous donations in memory of Charlene Blahnik. Total project budget for this commission must include any permit fees, drawings, transportation and installation. Only finalists will submit an itemized budget for the proposed project.


The completed and installed sculpture becomes the property of the Deschutes County Historical Society. The Artist shall retain copyright to the work and will grant DCHS a license to display the work and create and distribute reproductions of the work, including digital and photographic images, for archival or promotional purposes.


This is an open competition for professional artists residing in the western United States, specifically Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Northern California. A committee will evaluate all submissions based on artistic excellence, innovation, interactivity, originality, and the work’s ability to utilize the materials and subject matter. Three finalists will be invited to present a full project proposal, including an artist model and budget for their submission. Finalists will be reimbursed $400.00 towards the cost and time of their proposals.


The application, images and other required materials must be submitted electronically by midnight Pacific Time on September 30, 2017.


Artist must submit the following items for the project:

1. Current resume including statements regarding your artwork/art education. Brief exhibition records only.

2. A total of 4 artwork images are required. Please note medium, dimensions, location, and price.

3. A statement of interest in the project is required. Please express your initial ideas on the work of art you’ll propose.


Questions about the project may be directed to ATTN: Memorial Project via email at info@www.deschuteshistory.org or by calling 541.389.1813.


Application due: December 4, 2017

Notification of Finalists: Mid-December 2017

Presentation of Models by Finalists: Early March 2018

Selection: Late March 2018

Installation: Fall 2018