The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art was all set up with new displays of exhibits six months ago.
But then COVID-19 hit.
“They’ve been up since then,” Kim Seigel, curatorial associate and volunteer coordinator, said. “We wanted to give the artists their due. They’ll be up to the end of the year.”
Finally, even though it’s still just Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start program, suddenly the museum was able to reopen Sept. 4. It’s open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and it’s still free. Safety measures on in place, such as wearing masks, hand sanitizer available and social distancing. More cleaning of common surfaces is done throughout the day.
“We’ve had a nice steady stream of folks” coming since the reopening, Seigel said.
The museum has a mixture of 30 full- and part-time staff, but missing are their 160 volunteers.
“We want it to be super safe for them,” Seigel said. “We did a survey, and many of them want to wait for a vaccine.”
The museum, which opened in 2013, features regional artists. Exhibits now include one by Anna Teiche of Bainbridge Island called “Fragments.” She is a painter and fiber artist focused on textile patterns and bright motifs.
Almost 35 artists are featured in “Fiber 2020,” which explores diverse ways artists work with fiber and textiles.
Most of the art is on loan from private collections or museums.
“Normally we rotate the whole museum from top to bottom every four months,” Seigel said.
There are 10 gallery spaces and usually weekly film screenings, monthly workshops and artist lectures. For kids there usually are field trips for students, hands-on art projects, after school art clubs, and camps during school breaks.
The building itself offers green building features such as: zero waste, water saving fixtures, increased ventilation and low use of harmful chemicals, water-efficient landscaping with drought-tolerant native species, natural light, increased insulation and LED lighting, solar power and advanced heat and cooling systems.
BIMA relies on memberships – from $50 to $1,500 – and donations for funding, allowing admission to remain free. The museum has about 100,000 visitors each year.
Usually its top fundraiser takes place in June, but because of the pandemic it’s been delayed until Oct. 1, when members get first crack at their online auction. It will include Northwest arts and crafts, along with unique art experiences.
As part of it, there also will be a Collectors Marketplace of art, crafts, jewelry, antiques and collectibles.
Both events will be open to the public from Oct. 5-11. RSVP to www.biartmuseum.org/bidandbuy
“It’s the principal way we keep the doors open,” Seigel said of the auctions.
Jessica Perkins Miller of the museum said artists have donated most of the items for the auctions.
She said the Marketplace is where people can get good deals, as it’s “buy it now” with the price 50 percent off. The other auction is where bids keep driving prices up until the final day.
Miller said they are being cautious, but they don’t want the year to be all about COVID-19.
“This is a celebration” of art, she said.