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BAC still seeing red – dots on the walls, that is
It was just about this time last fall when Bainbridge Arts & Crafts’ Executive Director Susan Jackson sparked a red-colored uprising at City Hall. Nonprofit organizations appealed to City Council to spare the arts and humanities from wholesale budget cuts, and to some extent the outcry made some impact. But Tuesday, with the city still seeing more red than black, the ax came down hard.
The show must go on, as they say in theater, and it applies to gallery exhibits, readings, festivals, and all creative celebrations of the human experience.
Luckily, timing of such news coincides with BAC’s resurrected Crab Feed Benefit Oct. 23 at IslandWood. An island tradition, the Crab Feed took a 15-year hiatus before being reinstated last year to rave reviews.
The inimitable John Ellis will emcee the event which includes the crab feed dinner, dessert dash, jazz entertainment with The Thomas Fritchman Experiene, a silent and live auction, and a raise-the-paddle appeal for threatened programs.
This year’s 20-item live auction will feature Guilt-free Pie A la Mode which includes a pie a month from Bainbridge Bakers, a monthly quart of ice cream from Mora Iced Creamery, and 12 day-passes to Bainbridge Athletic Club; Planting of oyster/clam beds on private tidelands by Puget Sound Restoration Project; A jazz package featuring a $100 Jazz Alley gift certificate, the top 10 jazz albums, and two jazz books; a week’s stay in Costa Rica; and over the top, a chance to participate in a Tug Boat Race on Captain Hale’s Tugboat Noreen.
At least 70 artists have donated works for the event.
“So very generous,” Jackson said Tuesday.
“We can’t cut expenses,” she said. “We don’t have any. This is about furloughs, people’s livelihoods.”
Still, she is encouraged that sales of artwork were actually up in 2010. A pleasant trend she hopes continues.
Last year, BAC took a chance at the auction by identifying four programs in danger of being cut if funds couldn’t be found. These programs don’t pay for themselves and yet add a rich dimension to the community’s experience of art:
School shows in May:
BAC has offered its walls to showcase student work each May. The popular exhibit is a thrill for emerging young artists.
Art After 60: BAC, which turned 62 in January, pays artists to do demonstrations at retirement homes, giving elder citizens a window into creativity and self-expression.
Mixed Nuts: Like the student shows, Mixed Nuts features work by youth while teaching them the business side of being an artist.
Art in the Lobby: Artists demonstrate at Harrison Medical Center.
For more about BAC’s programs, see sidebar at right.
For more information, visit www.bacart.org.
Beyond the walls
BAC’s been a Bainbridge institution for 62 years, and everyone’s familiar with the nonprofit’s gallery, which hosts nearly 40,000 visitors per year. In 2009-2010, BAC returned $252,110 to local and regional artists from the sale of works.
What is less known is BAC’s myriad of other programs:
BAC invests in art education by sponsoring youth art shows such as Mixed Nuts and the May Student Show; offering workshops by local artists (Kay Walsh and Art Grice, for example); hosting the film “Art of Collecting” at Lynwood Theatre in June; presenting Victoria Josslin’s lecture series “The Random Art History Study Group;” hosting educational tours such as the one to Seattle Art Museum for the Alexander Calder exhibit; and presenting artist demonstrations in the gallery and other venues.
Each year BAC awards two scholarships to local art students. This year’s Pauli Family Scholarship ($2,000) went to Wes McClain to attend The Rhode Island School of Design. The Rosalyn Gale Powell Scholarship ($1,000) went to talented photographer Julia Chamberlain.
BAC awards a $3,000 grant to Bainbridge Island Public School art teachers who use the funds to buy art materials for class.
In a partnership with the Bainbridge Public Library, BAC solicits and sells used art books at the gallery, contributing 100 percent of proceeds to the Bainbridge Library to purchase new art, design and architecture books.
In a unique partnership with West Sound Wildlife Shelter, BAC is selling an estate collection of Henry Dietrich paintings, sharing proceeds with the shelter.
Another unique program BAC offers is art rental at local medical facilities and to island real estate companies.
Rotating part of its substantial collection, BAC staff hand-selects and hangs art in the halls of Harrison Medical Center, both Bremerton and Silverdale campuses; Harrison Rehab; Harrison Hematology and Oncology; Liberty Bay Internal Medicine and Peninsula Cancer Center, all in Poulsbo.
“This is way more than decorating. We help people feel better,” Jackson said.