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Bainbridge Island Museum of Art announces new museum's opening exhibits

'Priestess' by Robert Carlson is part of the opening exhibits at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art has announced its first exhibits for the new museum's opening on June 14.

Museum officials said Sunday that the Jon and Lillian Lovelace Gallery on the first floor will showcase pieces from the museum's growing permanent collection, which now includes a hundred works of art donated from private collections.

The collection includes art from West Sound and Puget Sound, with pieces from Alfredo Arreguin (Seattle), Jenny Andersen (Bainbridge Island), Larry Avakana (Suquamish), Gayle Bard (Bainbridge Island), Jan Hoy (Whidbey Island), Philip Levine (Seattle), Christopher Martin Hoff (Seattle, deceased) and Phillip McCracken (Guemes Island).

The museum's MESA Gallery will feature "Barbara Helen Berger: Vision Revealed." The show is a survey of the long-time Bainbridge Island resident's work that spans 40 years and includes paintings, assemblage and sculpture, as well as original works from her children’s books.

Berger said she is excited that the museum will present works from a wide range of artists.

"There is something about a museum that lends respect and importance to what's in it," Berger said. "It will shine light on the wonderful artists that [in the West Sound]."

In the Steve and Harriet Davis Community Gallery, the display will include by instructors for the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District. The gallery will rotate works from the community, including collaborative cultural partners and individual artists, according to museum officials.

Opening exhibits on the second floor include "Sea ‘scape" from Port Townsend artist Margie McDonald in the Beacon Gallery, and "First Light," a regional group exhibition, in the Rachel Feferman Gallery.

McDonald works predominately with recycled wire and other reclaimed materials. Through her creative touch, old pastel spools of switchboard wire become jellyfish or a 1940s rain gutter turns into an underwater serpent.

The Rachel Feferman Gallery is the largest single gallery in the museum, and the first display was collectively curated by Greg Robinson, the museum's executive director and curator, and six regional art curators and aficionados; Max Grover (Port Townsend), Norie Sato (Seattle), Jake Seniuk (Port Angeles), Janice Shaw (Bainbridge Island), Cynthia Sears (Bainbridge Island) and Barbara Earl Thomas (Seattle).

The exhibition includes a diverse selection of regional works by more than 50 artists, including Lanny Bergner (Anacortes, wire mesh sculpture); Marita Dingus (Seattle, mixed media sculpture); Lisa Gilley (Port Townsend, painting); Anne Hirondelle (Port Townsend, ceramics); David Kroll (Seattle, painting), Jane Martin (Bainbridge Island, jewelry); Heather Dew Oaksen (Seattle, video); Julie Speidel (Vashon Island, bronze sculpture); and Steve Wilson (Seabeck, documentary photography).

The museum said the Rachel Feferman Gallery will highlight artist retrospectives in the future, plus large group shows and special collections on loan from around the Puget Sound region.

The opening for the museum is planned for Friday, June 14.

Doors will open to the public at noon after a short, first-day celebration.

“We are excited to host this special ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:15 a.m. and invite people from across the entire region to celebrate with us,” said museum board president Christopher Snow.

The 20,000-square-foot art museum includes a reception area with a two-story atrium and grand staircase, seven formal galleries, two classrooms, a 95-seat auditorium, conference room, community gallery, bistro, museum store, and a green roof garden and patio.

“People will really be able to engage with this building and with the art that’s in it. It will be one of the places they always go to get refreshed and inspired,” said Matthew Coates, architect for the new museum.

The George and David Lewis Roof Garden, located on the museum's rooftop terrace, will also be dedicated at the June opening. This sustainable roof consists of “riverscapes” of rocks, sedums and grasses, with large handmade concrete boulders made by the artists.

An open house at the museum will run from opening day through July 4, and the museum expects to present a variety of different cultural offerings throughout the year.

Exhibitions will rotate on a regular basis, and there will be approximately 12 to 16 shows per year.

Gallery tours, artist talks, panel discussions, films, print and digital publications, hands-on art activities will be featured in the 95-seat auditorium, and the museum expects to host artist lectures, films, classical films, poetry and theatrical readings, musical performances and community meetings.

The fundraising effort to pay for the $15.6 million museum is continuing, officials said, and the capital campaign has $1 million left to raise.

The campaign continues to seek support at all giving levels, from major gifts ($10,000 and above to be listed on the most prominent donor wall) to founding memberships ($100).

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