An Insider’s Guide to Klamath County’s Arts and Culture Scene
It’s no exaggeration to say that art is everywhere in Klamath County: Drab utility boxes have become colorful canvases for local artists in downtown Klamath Falls, theaters and museums bring visitors closer to the arts, and live music can be heard in high-end theaters and on street corners around the region.
It’s not just the sheer volume of art that makes Klamath County so special; it’s also the creativity baked into each of these endeavors. After all, where else can musicians saddle up to pianos on a whim or create beautiful sounds at a neighborhood park? Where else are migratory birds honored with captivating paintings? And where else can history buffs view 10,000 years of indigenous history through the prism of curated artifacts?
Here’s an insider’s guide to enjoying the vibrant and enriching arts and culture scene in Klamath County.
Visit the Favell Museum
The Favell Museum has more than 100,000 artifacts showcasing indigenous tribes from the Americas. – Discover Klamath
The Favell Museum, just across the Klamath River from downtown Klamath Falls, examines the long history of the American West through a wide range of artifacts and artworks.
It has more than 100,000 artifacts that showcase life for indigenous tribes throughout North and South America, with a particular focus on Native American tribes. Those artifacts date back more than 10,000 years and include arrowheads, obsidian knives, stone tools, beadwork, basketry, and more. Also on display are original works from contemporary Western painters who tell the story of the West through a variety of artistic styles.
Visitors can also check out the Favell Museum’s rotating exhibits, some of which go beyond the American West and turn their attention toward other regions. One recent exhibit, for instance, displayed basketry from Native American artists up and down the West Coast; another spotlighted pottery from Native American artists in the Southwest.
Get Funky at Klamath Commons Park
Klamath Commons Park, the newest park in downtown Klamath Falls, opened in 2019 and offers plenty to love: Visitors can throw out a blanket on its massive green space, cool off on the splash pad, find some shade in the covered seating area, or even channel their inner rock star.
That’s because the park, at the corner of 11th and Main streets, hosts a variety of large musical instruments that children of all ages can play. The fun includes gongs, bells, and metal cymbals—all with attached tools for making noise or beautiful music.
Peruse the Murals of Klamath County
Vibrant downtown murals honor Klamath as a hub for emigrants, ranchers, farmers, military members, and lumber companies. – Discover Klamath
Klamath Falls has long been a kind of regional hub for emigrants, ranchers, farmers, members of the military, and lumber companies alike. That history—along with the natural beauty enveloping the city today—is honored with a series of vibrant murals throughout downtown.
Some of the city’s most notable murals pay tribute to the Applegate Trail (blazed in 1846 as an escape route in case war broke out with Great Britain), show off nearby Crater Lake (the nation’s deepest and clearest lake), commemorate the arrival of the first train to arrive in Klamath Falls in 1909, celebrate the historic Kingsley Field (a historic base that supports the Oregon Air National Guard’s 173rd Fighter Wing), and honor the farmers who have tilled the surrounding soils for roughly 150 years.
Klamath Falls isn’t the only city in the region to boast historic murals, though. In the heart of downtown Chiloquin, the colorful “Mazama to the Millennium” pays tribute to the history and heritage of the Klamath Basin—including the Klamath people, agriculture, and Upper Klamath Lake. You’ll also find brightly painted murals adorning walls in the communities of Malin and Merrill, as well.
Check out the Colorful Bird Boxes around Klamath Falls
The Klamath Basin sits along the Pacific Flyway migratory bird route and routinely draws hundreds of thousands of birds on their annual migrations each year—and that yearly phenomenon is cherished in several ways. The region is home to a whopping six national wildlife refuges and hosts the Winter Wings Festival (one of the oldest birding festivals in the United States) each February.
The region’s close connection with the annual migration also shows up on more than a dozen colorful utility boxes all over downtown Klamath Falls. Local artists have painted the drab boxes with eye-catching works that feature bird species found around the Klamath Basin—such as the great horned owl, ring-necked pheasant, great blue heron, bald eagle, pileated woodpecker, mallard duck, Canada goose, and sandhill crane.
Play a Number for the Klamath Piano Project
Sit down and tickle the ivories of one of many pianos placed around downtown Klamath Falls as part of the Klamath Piano Project. – Discover Klamath
The next time you walk around downtown Klamath Falls, don’t be surprised when you hear a song in the distance or stumble upon a one-person concert on the sidewalk outside of the area’s most popular businesses.
It’s all part of the Klamath Piano Project, which rolls out full-size, colorfully painted pianos around the heart of Klamath Falls between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The pianos are placed throughout downtown for anyone who strolls by to sit down and tickle the ivories. (Some pianos can be accessed at indoor businesses throughout the offseason, as well.) The idea behind the project is to give artists the chance to show off their skills, unlock their creativity, and create a sense of community around the pianos.
Visit a Local Theater
Klamath Falls has a long history of supporting the arts; in the 1940s, for instance, six theaters offered live performances, showed movies, and more throughout the area. While those numbers have dwindled over the decades, a pair of performance venues are working to keep the arts alive and thriving in Klamath County.
Nowhere is that commitment clearer than at the Ross Ragland Theater, a 1940 art deco-styled performance hall that’s been turned into an 800-seat performing arts center in the heart of downtown Klamath Falls. The theater boasts outstanding acoustics and clear sightlines. It hosts a wide variety of events, including concerts from touring musicians, theater and dance productions from local troupes, classic movies on the big screen, symphony performances, and more.
A few blocks away, the Linkville Playhouse has been hosting local theatrical productions for more than 50 years—and today is home to the Linkville Players, the oldest community theater troupe in the Klamath Basin. The outfit routinely puts on a mix of comedic and dramatic performances in its cozy theater—where audience members are routinely just a few feet from the actors on stage.
To the southeast sits the Broadway Theater in the heart of Malin. The historic theater opened in 1930, showing films of the day, but closed a few decades later and remained dormant until recently. An area church group has been busy restoring the Broadway and has since reopened it as a community events center; today, the theater is used to show films, host conferences and concerts, and more.
Engage With Local Art at Two Rivers Art Gallery
Artists from all over Klamath are continually inspired by the region—its landscapes, history, and wildlife. And nowhere is that inspiration given its due like at Two Rivers Art Gallery in the community of Chiloquin.
The gallery and gift shop is filled to the brim with works from more than 80 artists, most of whom live in the area. Their works include paintings, jewelry, basketry, carvings, photography, pottery, and more—and much of that art reflects the region that birthed it.