More than 3,400 visitors have stepped inside the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art in the 10 days since the new museum threw open its doors.
The $15.6 million, 20,000-square-foot art museum opened June 14 to rave reviews. Museum officials said then they couldn't predict how many people would visit the welcoming landmark at the corner of Winslow Way and Highway 305 in the days and weeks to come.
So far, however, the numbers have been impressive.
"We truly wanted this to be the library for the arts. And it has become that. People are thrilled; there's been a lot of people come in," said Renate Raymond, the museum's development and marketing director.
Raymond said many of the visitors are from Bainbridge Island, but they are bringing family and friends from off-island to the museum.
Many other visitors have come from Seattle, as well as a few from Germany, England and Korea.
Visitors to the new showcase of local and regional art have been filling up the museum's comment book with laudatory praise.
Wrote one museum visitor, on the retrospective featuring the art of Barbara Helen Berger: “The Barbara Berger show really spoke to my spirit and has given me a renewed sense of calm and peace. Thank you!”
Berger's artwork is on display in the MESA Gallery. The exhibition features 40 years of art from the longtime Bainbridge Island resident, including paintings, sculpture, assemblage and original works from her children’s books.
The new museum does not charge admission. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Upcoming hands-on activities and artist demonstrations in the museum's second-floor classroom include "Spirit Arrows" with Caroline Cooley Browne, from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, June 27; and "Accordion and Flag Books" with Ali Holmes, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, June 28.
On Sunday, June 30, the museum will welcome Munenori Takeda, one of the most respected young Noh performers in Japan, for "The Samurai Warrior on the Noh Stage."
The performance is 6 p.m. in the museum's auditorium. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at http://www.sugoiexperiencejapan.com/.
The event is officially supported by Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle and the Bainbridge Island Japanese American community.