Art influences, inspires, educates and mobilizes the community it thrives in.

For the small coastal town of Bandon, Ore., art has brought the locals and tourists together. Galleries in old town Bandon showcase and sell thousands of works made by local artists and local artists’ works are being seen, talked about and sold all over the world. The art movement has brought attention to an underrated type of economic stimulus. Art is attracting people to small towns like Bandon and there are many great examples to showcase.

Local motel co-owner of La Kris Inn, Susan Dimock is a professional photographer who has influenced nature photography in the area. Known for her stunning shots from Face Rock Beach, she and her husband, who is also a photographer, have prints being sold in a number of places including neighboring towns such as Coos Bay.

As she produces her art and sells them she is also expanding her business due to a niche in the market that needed to be filled, guided photography sessions with a local photographer, a great example of sustainable tourism.

“People see me as a good resource to guide them and teach them on the local beaches,” said Dimock. “I don’t put all my eggs in one basket, I kind of diversify. I sell down at the galleries and off my website and then most recently I’ve been doing some private lessons on the beaches. People have been calling me, that’s where social media comes in handy, and they pay a good fee.”

Susan Dimock capturing tourists volunteering at Circles in the Sand.

Another great example of how art has brought in many tourists is actually one of Dimock’s clients. Dimock is contracted to make a calendar for the legendary artist, Denny Dyke. Dyke is a sand artist, Circles in the Sand, that organizes and creates

labyrinths during the low-tides of the beach since 2011.

Fast forward to today, Dyke has transformed his art into a community event, and for the last five years has been raking circles in the sand as a full time public venture. With dozens of labyrinths drawn during the summer season, over 20,000 people have walked the paths of the labyrinth, attracting locals and tourists alike from all over the world.

A non-profit art gallery located in the heart of Bandon is a prime example of how art can be used to promote sustainability but is also an attraction for tourists to see while visiting the area. Washed Ashore creates exhibits and art pieces from plastics that wash ashore Oregon beaches. They encourage people to reduce their plastic wastes by showing them through art how much plastics are in our oceans. They also educate the harmful effects it has on marine life and the ecosystem as a whole.

Tufted Puffin at Face Rock scenic viewpoint from Washed Ashore exhibit.

Art is a tool, a passion, a form of communication. It is an outlet to express what is going on in the world and a way for individuals to share their imagination with others. Art brings the community together in many ways, indirect or direct.

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