Bend Belluno Sister Cities Cultural Exchange

BEN ARRIVATA                   DI                       EVENTI                       SCAMBI                   METTE IN EVIDENZA              CONTATTO

From the right James Knox, COCC Music professor, 3 month resident of Belluno on a family exchange,  Rebecca Franklin COCC Forest professor, recently returned from Belluno making plans for sabbatical, Ruth COCC Art Department Chris Wick Bend-Belluno sister city and Italian Art Advocate, Venus Nguyen, Head of COCC Art Department, Kit Carmiencke, Great Bend Rotary and Bella Bend Beautiful Belluno (B4) sister city exchange.  

Individually Arranged Exchanges, another exchange Opportunity between Our Sister Cities

In celebrating ten years of our sister city relationship between Bend and Belluno, we have been making plans for a unique cultural exchange focusing on frescos, a true Italian art form with a long and rich history.   Honoring our 10th anniversary, this cross-cultural exchange will share in the planning, artistic creation, and application of a fresco in each community, commemorating our association and international accomplishments.

Groups from each community have been meeting during the summer and fall of 2022 with a timeline to complete each city's fresco in the late summer and early fall of 2023.  This project's unique and critical asset is that one of the few remaining active fresco studios is at the International School of Affresco of San Vittore e Corona outside of Feltra near Belluno. 

​Independent Exchanges

What Bill Smith has done for our community and his vision will be an essential part of Bend for generations and decades to come.  Bend is a better place because of the influence and vision of Bill Smith.

From the right Davide Piol member B4 commission and incoming president of the Rotary Club of Belluno, Gianvittore Vaccari secretary of the International School of Affresco and member of Rotary Club Feltre, Tiziano Sartor, president of the International School of Affresco and member of Rotary Club of Feltre, Patrizia Pedone past president of Belluno Rotary, Stefano Perer of Portland/Feltre, and Angelo Paganin (Rotary Club Belluno)

And now you’ll find an identical Plaque in Belluno!

​   ​2023 Summer Youth Exchange

The  Summer Vacation - That Lasts a Life Time

Questions, please text us:

Laurel  541 390-9099

​Steve   541 280-1674

"Ciao for Now" to our good friend, Bill Smith (1941 - 2022)

President Felice Gaiardo of the Belluno Rotary club and the Governor of District 2060 Massimo Ballotta of the formal signing ceremony in Belluno, Italy.  This is part of a celebration in Belluno of the Rotary International theme of "Rotary Connects the World"


 Every visitor to Bend from Belluno wants to see the Plaque that Bill envisioned.  

Check back more details of Rebecca's exciting and productive excursion, August 2022

Resting after group hike in the Dolomites (2019)

A highlight of the project is that fresco maestro Vico Calabrò is at the International School of Affresco of San Vittore e Corona.  Vico Calabrò is one of the world's leading authorities on frescos. 
The proposed plan is being developed as a cooperative project between the art department at Central Oregon Community College, headed by Venus Nguyen, college and community liaison Zak Boone, the International School of Affresco of San Vittore e Corona, headed by Tiziano Sartor (president of the Cultural Association for the Frescos), and Gianvittore Vaccari (association secretary and member Rotary Club Feltre). 

We are currently considering sending a delegation to Belluno in the late summer of 2023.  The group consists of a COCC art department art instructor and two art students.  A group of students will be proposed by the art department, with the selection made by a committee of Rotary and community members.  Additional “students” could include community members interested in Italian culture and art.

The first step of the fresco plan is that the Bend Fresco group will travel together through Venice and spend 3-4 weeks in Belluno for an introductory course, skill development, and work on actual fresco projects under the direction of instructors at the Fresco Institute. Transportation, housing, and other details will be worked out.

The second part of the cross-cultural exchange would focus on instructors from the Fresco Institute coming to Bend.  Two instructors and two students from the Fresco Institute would travel to Bend. These experts would help finalize locations of the Bend fresco project, help acquire proper materials, and lead the actual fresco project with students from Bend. They would be available to the community for informative sessions and serving as visiting instructors at COCC.

Later as we headed for dinner, Bill circled back, found us, and said he had come up with the idea for a sister city plaque in the Old Mill District.  Two days later, we met in the Old Mill District, and Bill pointed to the spot he had picked out for the plaque with Angelo and Marco.  Next year Bill had Neil Huston design and fabricated our Bella Bend Beautiful Belluno Plaque and had it placed next to Greg’s Grille. 

"Sister" Rotary clubs - Belluno, Italy and Bend, Oregon.

Oran and Jane Teater were the early founders of our Bend-Belluno exchange. Oran Teater presents at the first Bend-Belluno Sister City celebration at “The Plaque.” Bill and Trish Smith are at the edge of the group to the right.

“At the Bend-Belluno Plaque” has been the site for our annual Bend-Belluno Sister City celebration for a number of years. Each year the event has grown and allowed us to introduce our summer exchange students to our Bend community.

After three years without our popular B4 (Bella Bend Beautiful Belluno) Student Summer Exchange, the Rotary Club of Belluno and the Rotary Clubs of Bend have set plans for the 2023 Exchange and are now accepting applications. 

The Bend-Belluno Sister City Committee working through Rotary International's Short-Term Exchange Program (STEP) is offering a
seven-week cross-cultural exchange opportunity for students from Bend.
This program is open to high school students who will have completed their junior year and would like to experience life as part of an Italian family in our sister city of Belluno.  Students will have great experiences plus enjoy international friendships, and will gain an expanded worldview,

This is a reciprocal exchange - Bend students stay with a Belluno family for 3+ weeks and then would host with their family an Italian student from Belluno for 3+ weeks in Bend. If you want to experience daily life in an Italian family and be part of our sister city of Belluno, then this program is for you.​​

From Black Butte Ranch to the Old Mill District to the beautiful and colorful flower beds on all of his projects, Bill Smith, has left his mark on our community forever.  

Bill was an early and constant supporter of our Italian sister city of Belluno.  It was just like Bill to be involved with many small but creative and important projects in our community.  Our Bend-Belluno sister city experience was one of many projects he quietly and successfully supported.

In 2010 after a signed sister city agreement between our cities, Belluno sent a delegation to Bend to help us celebrate our international friendship agreement.  At that time, we had the honor of introducing Marco Parole and Angelo Paganin to Bend.  

As with all of our cross-cultural exchanges with Belluno, we wanted to share “our community,” both the common elements but also differences. As volunteerism is one of our commonalities, we invited Marco and Angelo to one of our famous Bend Fundraisers. The event was Central Oregon Community College's annual fundraiser at Anthony's in the Old Mill District.  Over cocktails, we introduced Bill and Trish to Angelo and Marco.  Trish, our Italian ambassador, immediately spoke to Marco and Angelo in their native Italian. As Bill smiled, Trish, Marco, and Angelo had a friendly, energetic exchange about Italy, Belluno, and our hopes for our new sister city relationship.

Ilaria and Eleonora, Andra, Ursala and Zara from Belluno, working through our sister city organization each spent a month as part of the Bend community.  These are individually arranged working exchanges allowing.  Each of our guests from Belluno have participated in volunteer activities and joined in with Italian conversation groups plus enjoying being part of a Bend family for the month.  These individual exchanges have been particularly meaningful for as Coach Bob Bruce pointed out after his masters swim exchange in Belluno, ""The 'sister city' connection is great, but it's particularly meaningful when one finds a group of people in our sister city that share your passion."  

The Fresco design will be a cooperative endeavor to define the themes highlighted in the frescoes: friendship, collaboration, various activities of our exchanges, and similar environments.
This cultural exchange project is the vision of Stefano Perer.  Stefano grew up in Feltre, known as “the city with the castle” near Belluno.  He currently lives outside of Portland with his wife, Kate.  Stefano became acquainted with the Bend-Belluno sister city project through his work as an ophthalmic frame representative of Safilo, a large Italian frame designer and manufacturer/distributor.  His professional responsibilities include visiting Bend and, eventually, he has become involved in the Bend-Belluno sister city connection. 

​​Breakfast on camp out at Sparks Lake (2019)

Our Bella Bend Beautiful Belluno sister city communities are planning a Fresco Cross-Cultural Art Exchange Project.

While we don’t have energetic and fun-loving Belluno students this year to celebrate with as we have the previous 7 years, we still have international goodwill by recognizing the Belluno friendships that continue to bring a smile in our hearts.  We joined with members of the The Rotary Club of Greater Bend, to toast our common International Friendships, in this case Italy and Guatemala.


Rotary Club of Greater Bend and Bend-Belluno Sister Cities 

OUTDOOR International Friendship Celebration 

Bill points to where he envisions the future plaque with Marco and Angelo from Belluno.

Connections between our Communities

Thinking about travel in Italy?  Why not include a visit to our sister city of Belluno.  Here are some insiders notes to help you "feel at home" while being in Italy.

​Travelers Tips

Rebecca Franklin, Ph.D. Department of Forestry

Central Oregon Community College

makes a summer educational excursion to Belluno.