Arts and Entertainment

Sounds like poetry to our ears

Poet Billy Collins speaks to a crowd of nearly 700 people at the Bainbridge High School gym. - Dave Curran photo
Poet Billy Collins speaks to a crowd of nearly 700 people at the Bainbridge High School gym.
— image credit: Dave Curran photo

With less than a year until its anticipated opening, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art has a little more work ahead. And that costs money.

As luck would have it, the museum has friends in poetic places who can help out.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins spent a weekend on Bainbridge Island to help raise money for the art museum. Three island appearances treated nearly 900 people to the poet, and in turn, helped to fund the museum currently under construction.

“We wanted to raise some funds, but really, awareness about the art museum and the fact that we will showcase all art forms, including poetry,” said John Ellis, board member of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

“Billy is the rock star of poetry and inspires both youth and adults with his talent,” he added.

Collins’ first stop was a free event for 75 educators at the museum’s auditorium. He answered questions from teachers about his own experience teaching poetry. He offered advice on how to inspire students with poetry and to help spark interest in the art form.

On Saturday, Oct. 20, Collins met with 100 people at a reception held at IslandWood and was interviewed by KUOW reporter Marcie Sillman. Attendees enjoyed a reading from Collins’ yet-to-be-release book, “Aimless Love: Poems 2003 – 2013.”

Collins’ final appearance on Sunday, Oct. 21 drew nearly 700 people to the Bainbridge High School gym to hear the poet read and for a chance to get an autograph.

Tickets for the event were $10.

“I was thrilled to see so many young students in the audience on Sunday,” Ellis said.

The three days filled with poetic appearances required more than 40 volunteers.

“To host these events, dozens of volunteers and many organizations contributed. It would never have been possible without their support, and for that we owe them - and our entire community - a huge ‘thanks,’” said Christina Opalka, Board Member of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Work continues at the museum property on Winslow Way.

Two classrooms, and an auditorium for the museum have already been completed and have been open to the public for a year.

So far, the remaining portion of the building is approximately 46 percent complete. Of the $15.6 million needed to fund the construction of the art museum, $13.5 million has been raised.

The museum is expected to open in the summer of 2013.

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