Tag Archive | "Cynthia Sears"

BIMA party

Night at the Museum: One Heckuva Party at BIMA (w/ Photo Gallery)

A jester on stilts and an Oompa Loompa (of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame) greeted guests at the front doors of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) last night, December 13, for a lavish evening to remember hosted by BIMA architect Matthew Coates.

In a kind of thank-you gesture, which happened to fall on the 6-month anniversary of the Museum’s opening, Coates pulled out all the stops to celebrate the impressive achievement of those who created the Museum, as well as those whose creations it was created to showcase.

As if the art itself was not adornment enough, the party featured a live Marie Antoinette serving table; intricately appointed mimes in green, blue, red, and gray; a magician full of surprises; a lively band; and twinkling holiday decor. Champagne, martinis, and wine flowed freely, as did the schmoozing among museum supporters.

Matthew Coates, Bill Carruthers, Cynthia Sears, Gayle Bard

Matthew Coates, Bill Carruthers, Cynthia Sears, Gayle Bard

Chef Greg Atkinson, his wife Betsy, and their Restaurant Marché crew dished up delicacies that included oysters on the half-shell, mushrooms on a bed of phyllo dough, steak kabobs, Brussels sprouts with squash, bacon-wrapped dates, and mini sandwich thingies with fresh greens. The “hearty appetizers” were followed by a colorful array of unusual and tasty desserts, such as plum cake, green tea cake, and chocolate balls.

An evening highlight was the presence of artist Gayle Bard, whose bold work is currently exhibited in the Museum’s lovely second floor space.

More surprises ensued. Coates presented founding visionaries Bill Carruthers and Cynthia Sears with original art works by Gayle Bard. With help from three volunteers, the magician levitated a woman about 1.5 feet out of her chair with what appeared to be a genuine Reiki-like energy. And going again with the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theme, Matthew Coates surprised the crowd with a secret hidden golden coin in one of the boxes of chocolate handed out to guests. The winner received a hardbound copy of BIMA’s book A Singular Vision, about the Gayle Bard exhibit.

Crab legs on ice

Crab legs on ice

In another display of thanks, the Coates Design crew was treated to appreciative applause for their work on the Museum building.

Executive Director Greg Robinson proudly announced the Museum’s tally of 32,000 visitors thus far, and stated for the record that it would continue to welcome visitors free of charge through 2014. Robinson also told me about his journey from jobs in more renowned museums to the rewards of working for the fledgling BIMA, where he said he has the creative freedom to curate shows without the dictates of large prepackaged touring exhibits that often appear in more established venues.

Judging by the presentation of the two current exhibits by Richard Jesse Watson and Bard, in addition to the permanent displays, Robinson is doing an exquisite job of displaying an eclectic mix of artistic work with coherent narrative, thematic integrity, and aesthetic appeal, while optimizing places for visitors to engage with and contemplate what they are seeing.

The architectural achievement of the Coates design was evident in the versatility of the space as an appealing party venue in addition to a forum for displaying top-notch art, from hanging sculpture, to intimate viewing boxes, to large-scale paintings, and more.

The Bard and Watson exhibits run through January 5, 2014.

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Matthew Coates, Bill Carruthers, Cynthia Sears, Gayle Bard

Matthew Coates, Bill Carruthers, Cynthia Sears, Gayle Bard

Matthew Coates, Bill Carruthers, Cynthia Sears, Gayle Bard

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BIMA party

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Photos by Julie Hall.

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East Endicott Road, Adams County, by Gayl Bard

Bainbridge Artist Gayle Bard’s Wallop of an Exhibit Headlines New Things at BIMA

The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art’s new headline exhibit is not one that sits quietly and politely requests your contemplation. Island artist Gayle Bard’s giant oil landscapes, most barely contained by thick black frames, fly open like windows on sweeping vistas and blast a breeze in your face.

The exhibit occupies the entire main Rachel Feferman Gallery. After you get a glimpse of what is to come in the top-of-the-stairs Cynthia Sears gallery, you enter through the double glass doors into a transformed space. BIMA staff and volunteers have completely altered the museum landscape, moving and repainting walls and adjusting lighting to make space for and to best display Bard’s work. They have relied on as much natural lighting as possible—too much bulb light would have reflected unnaturally off the canvases and diminished the ability of the paintings to “absorb” viewers.

Steptoe Canyon Road by Gayle Bard

Steptoe Canyon Road by Gayle Bard

In much of Bard’s work there is the merest thumbprint of human activity but without the human presence, which creates a haunting effect. Farm- and rangeland are unoccupied. A painting named after a road doesn’t show the road. Trimmed hedges and lone deciduous trees mark an otherwise empty landscape. A suitcase sits open on a bed. A Mexican mountain range is viewed only through a grate covering a window. Two paintings targeting the war in Afghanistan are stone windows framing darkness.

Bard’s intricate and impossible structure-sculptures offer small lens 3-D views of an unoccupied nursery or a sunlit house with no one home, dotted with vestiges of the people, the baby, the family who were once there, including a drawer containing a baby shoe and black and white photo, a Christening dress, and a mirror reflecting only the viewer.

Gayle Bard

Gayle Bard sculpture

The mirror is a playful nod to Velázquez and his Las Meninas. Connecting Bard’s work with that of Velázquez and other Spanish masters is entirely appropriate. Like Velázquez or Zurbarán, Bard is a master of the interplay between light and dark. Just as a bit of light will reflect off a pewter tankard in a Zurbarán painting, in one of Bard’s landscapes eerie light touches on the surface of water or a storm cloud is beautifully backlit. Just as the dark borders of a Velázquez or El Greco painting are as carefully painted as the light center, Bard takes as much time on the shadows of trees, a cloud-shaded mountainside, a storm sky.

Her resume is as long as her paintings are large. She has been included in a wide list of exhibits. She has created public art for a vast array of entities including the Washington State Arts Commission, Bainbridge Island City Hall, the King County Arts Commission, the Capitol Terrace in Olympia, the Bainbridge Island Public Library, and Virginia Mason Hospital. She is represented in numerous public collections including Microsoft, the City of Seattle Northwest Special Collection, the City of Seattle Water Department Collection, and the City of Seattle City Light Portable Works.

After you can shake yourself away from Bard’s paintings, visit the gift shop to peruse the full-color artbook created specially by BIMA for the occasion of the exhibit and the archival quality giclée prints of two of the artist’s landscapes.

Hermit by Richard Jesse Watson

Hermit by Richard Jesse Watson

Also opening at BIMA is the Richard Jesse Watson exhibit in the ground floor gallery. Port Townsend-based illustrator Watson is prolific—he’s illustrated more than a dozen children’s books— and versatile, hard to pin down in terms of style. Part Jan Brett, part Norman Rockwell, part N. C. Wyeth, and part Rube Goldberg, Watson can capture a rabbit’s curiosity, explore a forest through a child’s eye, send a flying machine skyward, and spook with a firelit storyteller. He has an easel on display too and kids can look through the books he has illustrated.

Don’t miss the new exhibit in the Sherry Grover Gallery of Cynthia Sears’s private collection of artists’ books. I spent a good twenty minutes marveling at the myriad ways artists have interpreted the concept of “book.” Don’t miss Barbara Helen Berger’s two book creations hanging on the wall.

Star Gazer and Infinity Within by Richard Jesse Watson

Star Gazer and Infinity Within by Richard Jesse Watson

And when you’re done with all that, stop at the newly “soft-opened” BIMA Bistro and enjoy its light, contemporary design. True to the Northwest focus of the museum, the bistro emphasizes regional suppliers, locally grown foods, and local beer, wine, and coffee, including a special BIMA blend made by Grounds for Change. Starting next week, the Bistro will be offering French press pots of coffee as well. Can’t decide what to have? Staff will make a “curated sampling flight” for you so you can taste a variety of offerings. The Bistro has been designed so that the facilities can be used for catered parties and events.

Admission, as always, is free, and the museum is open seven days a week. It’s located at the corner of Winslow Way and 305.

Montañas de Guanajuato by Gayle Bard

Montañas de Guanajuato by Gayle Bard

Skagit Flats by Gayle Bard

Skagit Flats by Gayle Bard

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Photos by Sarah Lane. Featured photo shows East Endicott Road, Adams County, by Gayle Bard.

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Spring Sea by Alfredo Arreguin

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art Gets . . . Art!

We know the building: Matthew Coates’s eco-friendly and possibly soon-to-be certified LEED Gold stunner at the corner of Winslow and Highway 305. We’ve been hearing about the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art for months. But the persisting question that has bubbled, at least in my mind, is “What about the art?”

Yesterday, June 10, on a brief exploration of the new museum, as volunteers scrambled to get everything hung in time for grand opening on June 14 and a few smaller functions before that, I finally got to see what is—let’s face it—the main point of BIMA: what goes inside it. My reaction was to jump up and down with excitement—I’m not kidding. (There is at least one witness to my unrepressed, possibly immature response.)

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea ‘Scape by Margie McDonald

My excitement comes from the fact that BIMA Executive Director Greg Robinson and his hand-selected co-curators on one of the main opening exhibits—Jake Seniuk, Max Grover, Janice Shaw, Cynthia Sears, Norie Sato, and Barbara Earl Thomas—get it, and by it I mean the essence of being a Puget Sound artist, now, which is not any one single thing but instead a multitude of things tied together by some nebulous essence that is inexpressible except in art.

However, that won’t stop me from trying. It has something to do with (a) a strong presence from the outside world; (b) a tendency toward irony, humor, or playfulness combined with a refusal to be daunted by big feelings; (c) a willingness to take risk; and (d) a refusal to be restricted by genre or convention. There. That was my attempt, and I will happily entertain corrections and revisions to it.

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Artist: Carl T. Chew

Take as an example, a naked baby carved of wood affixed face to the wall. Or a black and white comiclike representation of the artist’s worktable, including Post-It notes, a readable personal letter, and a sketchbook with a brief Mail Art Correspondence Course Lesson on affixing a stamp. Or the eerie photograph of a lone penguin stranded on a melting ice floe. Or the ceramic sawed-up log on the floor, its rings painted in bright, happy colors.

Those are just a few examples of BIMA’s first art, representing new and established artists from all over the region. The museum’s opening launches no fewer than eight exhibits and shows:

  • First Light: Regional Group Exhibition: showing the vibrant work of more than 60 artists selected by the team of seven curators.
  • Sea ‘Scape: This mesmerizing installation of recycled wire by Port Townsend artist Margie McDonald was hung by the artist in the top-of-the-stairs Beacon Gallery. McDonald told me that she had a fiber art background. She took a job at the Port Townsend boatyard. When she learned to weave a wire splice, she had the insight that wire was just another fiber, and she began to play with it in a new way, creating a new kind of woven art. Robinson said that finding her for BIMA was like winning the jackpot at a slot machine in terms of her work lining up with the museum goals: “She’s off the grid, she’s not well-known, she uses recycled materials.” You can play slot machine or slots online for free using this lets play slots website.
  • Vision Revealed: A 40-year retrospective of the work of Bainbridge’s own Barbara Helen Berger, the exhibit includes Berger’s children’s books, preliminary illustration sketches, collage, sculpture, and special displays offering glimpses into her process.

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    Artist: Michael Paul Miller

  • Heikki Seppa, Master Metalsmith: Seppa, a Finnish artist, who spent his last years on Bainbridge, created silver and other metal sculptures by hand.
  • Selected Art Instructors: BI Metro Park and Recreation District: BIMPRD’s Sue Hylen collaborated with Robinson to select works by BIMPRD art instructors: John Adams, Gillian Bull, Sylvia Carlton, Julie Hewes-Everett, Chuck Kirchner, Jane Martin, Terry Seibert, Marty Sievertson, and Sherri Underwood Grossbauer.
  • Selections from the Permanent Art Collection: More than 30 artworks are exhibited in the Jon and Lillian Lovelace Gallery.
  • Artists’ Books: Cynthia Sears’s collection is matched with a six-artist jewelry show.
  • George and David Lewis Roof Garden: The museum roof garden is surrounded by a permanent installation of sustainable plantings and artist-made, concrete boulders.

VolunteersUntil the opening, 16 volunteers and two part-time staff managed by Lead Installer Vince Warner will be scrambling to put the finishing touches on the shows. On Monday, volunteer Amy Goldthwaite was trying to ascertain the location of the vertical and horizontal centers of an odd-shaped two-dimensional piece. Three other volunteers were cutting circles out of mesh wire to affix to 280 lamps as filters, a crucial cost-saving measure. Lamps with pre-made filters would apparently cost much more than the $45-a-piece ones being used, the thought of which made my hands sweat as I tried not to knock them off the table where they were gathered like another art installation.

Despite the fact that she is working hard for no pay, volunteer Marci Williams said, “I’m so grateful the Museum is letting us in, allowing the community to engage and participate.” I felt the same way: Grateful to be let in to write an article about the art. That is the power art can have.

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Artist: Bill Curtsinger

The responsibility for corralling that power in a single building falls squarely in Robinson’s lap. He said that, typically, a person would take two years to plan a single show properly. But he didn’t have that kind of time to do all the things that needed to be done on eight, including, he said, answering a long list of questions: What work? Where is the work? What is its condition? How will it fit? How will it all look together? How can we change the space to make it fit better? He credits his partner Steve Charles, also a curator and a volunteer at BIMA, with helping to answer the questions, and he credits his co-curators with helping to define—in the museum’s first major show, First Light—just what BIMA is, what it will mean to our community, and what it will mean to art in the Pacific Northwest.

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonald

Margie McDonald

Margie McDonald

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Artist: Nicholas Green, Lummi Island

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Artist: Deborah Lawrence, Seattle

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Artist: Michael Paul Miller, Port Angeles

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Artist: Linda Okazaki, Port Townsend

Koi Blue Vase 6 by David Kroll, Seattle

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Koi Blue Vase 6 by David Kroll

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Artist: Dan Corson, Seattle

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Artist: Fay Jones, Seattle

Coil V by Anne Hirondelle

Coil V by Anne Hirondelle

Coil V by Anne Hirondelle

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Artist: Bill Curtsinger, Port Townsend

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Artist: Scott Fife, Seattle

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Artist: Carl T. Chew, Seattle

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Artist: Mark Calderon, Seattle

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Artist: Richard Gilkey, deceased

Volunteers

Volunteers

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Artist: Jenny Heishman, Bainbridge Island

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Artist: Barbara Helen Berger, Bainbridge Island

Surprise Glacier by Lisa Gilley

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Surprise Glacier by Lisa Gilley, Port Townsend

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Artists: On left, Philip McCracken, Guemes Island, and on right, Jay T. Scott and Nikki McClure, Olympia

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Internment Barracks by Roger Shimomura, Kansas

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Artist: Diane Jacobs, Seattle

Each in the Other's Heart by Patty Rogers

Each in the Other's Heart by Patty Rogers

Each in the Other's Heart by Patty Rogers, Bainbridge Island

One Two Necklace by J. Martin (sterling, mixed metals, and stones)

One Two Necklace by J. Martin (sterling, mixed metals, and stones)

One Two Necklace by Jane Martin (sterling, mixed metals, and stones), Bainbridge Island

Spring Sea by Alfredo Arreguin

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Spring Sea by Alfredo Arreguin, Seattle

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Artist: Barbara Helen Berger, Bainbridge Island

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Sculpture by Phillip Levine

Sculpture by Phillip Levine

Phillip Levine, Seattle (donated by Barbara and Grant Winther of Bainbridge Island)

Sea 'Scape by Margie McDonaldSea 'Scape by Margie McDonaldSea 'Scape by Margie McDonaldSea 'Scape by Margie McDonaldMargie McDonaldArtist: Nicholas Green, Lummi IslandArtist: Deborah Lawrence, SeattleArtist: Michael Paul Miller, Port AngelesArtist: Linda Okazaki, Port TownsendKoi Blue Vase 6 by David Kroll, SeattleArtist: Dan Corson, SeattleArtist: Fay Jones, SeattleCoil V by Anne HirondelleArtist: Bill Curtsinger, Port TownsendArtist: Scott Fife, SeattleArtist: Carl T. Chew, SeattleArtist: Mark Calderon, SeattleArtist: Richard Gilkey, deceasedVolunteersArtist: Jenny Heishman, Bainbridge IslandArtist: Barbara Helen Berger, Bainbridge IslandSurprise Glacier by Lisa GilleyArtists: On left, Philip McCracken, Guemes Island, and on right, Jay T. Scott and Nikki McClure, OlympiaInternment Barracks by Roger Shimomura, KansasArtist: Diane Jacobs, SeattleEach in the Other's Heart by Patty RogersOne Two Necklace by J. Martin (sterling, mixed metals, and stones)Spring Sea by Alfredo ArreguinArtist: Barbara Helen Berger, Bainbridge IslandIMG_4857Sculpture by Phillip Levine

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A Sneak Peek at the Bainbridge Island Art Museum in Progress

Photos by Sarah Lane. Photo of Coil V and Jewelry courtesy of BIMA. Featured photo is Spring Sea by Alfredo Arreguin.

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BIMA

A Sneak Peek at the Bainbridge Island Art Museum in Progress

Friday night, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, still under construction, glowed orange from its choice spot at the intersection of Winslow Way and 305, like a happy, grinning jack-o-lantern. Inside about a hundred people milled around over the course of the evening, privy to a nonpublic sneak peek at what is to come.

BIMA

Rendering of louvered facade.

Architect Matthew Coates gave mini tours of the still unheated, unfinished space, gesturing at different features and filling in gaps with architectural renderings. Coates explained to a small crowd the challenge of his assignment: “Most museums are black boxes. It’s rare to have windows and natural light” because of the stringent requirements for displaying and caring for works of art. But, he explained, the prominent positioning of this museum in the gateway to the island meant that he “couldn’t get away with designing an internal building. Transparency was required. It supports the mission,” which is making art accessible.

Architect Matthew Coates and Museum Executive Director Greg Robinson

Architect Matthew Coates and Museum Executive Director Greg Robinson.

So he designed a curved outer wall of windows that angles out toward the street, as if reaching toward the cars and people passing by in the busy intersection. A supergraphic of the word ART partially blocked by concrete floats over the windows. The glass windows are louvered, and the louvers slowly change from open to shut and from vertical to horizontal depending on the sun intake, so the building too will appear to change. Coates happily described this as “creating a building that is alive.”

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A view of the main gallery.

The louvres are also part of a well-designed plan to make this building environmentally low impact. Coates excitedly talked about the very likely possibility that the building will achieve LEED Gold status, making it the first museum to achieve that high-status national environmental benchmark in our state.

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Part of the geothermal system.

The main reason it is in the running for LEED Gold is that Coates and his team of collaborators have devised low-impact ways of regulating light and temperature, the usual big drains in art museums. The automatic, rotating louvers will adjust the light entering all day long according to the building’s temperature needs. Carefully positioned skylights will allow natural, diffused light to flow into the main gallery without damaging artwork. Fourteen geothermal wells, some as deep as 400 feet, will pull up water from an underground aquifer and cycle it through a loop of pipes in the building either to heat or cool the inside, depending on the season. These wells will provide 80 percent of the building’s heating needs in the summer. Insulation made from recycled jeans denim (provided by Levi Strauss & Co.) will help maintain the building’s temperature. A photovoltaic array on the roof will assist with the building’s energy needs.

Denim jeans insulation

Denim jeans insulation.

The main brain behind the geothermal heating and cooling system is museum board member Ralph Spillinger, who just so happens to be retired from a career that included 25 years in the Navy and 11 years with NASA as that organization’s Manager of Design and Construction. Coates says he was relieved when Spillinger volunteered to oversee that part of the design. Spillinger says he took on the challenge when he sensed “that they wanted to do it right.”

The still-unconstructed main staircase will eventually bring visitors up to the main gallery floor, which will feature the sunny Cynthia Sears Beacon Gallery, showcasing nonsensitive artworks. Through there visitors will enter the main gallery, which will maintain the stringent temperature and lighting requirements of art museums. Coates explained that humidity can only be allowed to vary suddenly by 2 percentage points either way. “What ruins artwork are sudden changes,” he explained. It is in that more protected gallery that the regional, travelling shows will be displayed.

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Archive room. This was built first and sat for six months as the rest of the building design and construction proceeded.

The ground floor will include a reception area, the already built and frequently used auditorium, a cafe, and a gift shop. A gallery will house the museum’s permanent collection, which will be rotated through four times a year. And below ground will be the main archive room, which will not be open to the public. It will house the museum’s collection as it grows.

During our sneak peek, Coates showed us the geothermal system, stored beside the archive room, which is comprised of pipes, pumps, cisterns, and heat ducts. One vistor commented that the pipes themselves make a fascinating work of art.

Art wall to be covered in construction

Art wall to be covered in construction.

During the evening, visitors were invited to add their own thoughts and artwork to two museum walls that will then be “buried”—that is, covered up to make them unseen. (Like Kilroy, Inside Bainbridge made an appearance on one of those walls and will, therefore, be preserved, hidden, along with the openly exhibited art.)

Speaking of art, that is the one thing no one was talking about with specificity Friday night. The building is slated for a June 14 opening, and Coates is confident his part will be done before that. “The contractor and the curator,” he said, “are the ones who have to make that deadline.” What this carefully designed building will be exhibiting remains to be seen.

Photos by Julie Hall.

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Island Music Center Changing Its Tune

Formerly Island Music Guild, Island Music Center (IMC) hasn’t only taken on a new(ish) name. By hiring Julie Duke as its Executive Director this September, IMC made a major overture toward change. As Duke explains, “the previous director thought of this as a music academy, whereas I am seeing it more as a community resource.”

Rest assured, IMC is continuing its tradition of excellence in music instruction. With 20 talented teachers of 17 different instruments—from sax to fiddle, drums to voice—and some 228 students of all ages, IMC is still committed to its core mission of teaching, and it has the resources and ambition to bring on more students. But, with Duke at the helm, IMC also aims to expand its service as a vibrant arts center for the community of Bainbridge Island by supporting and partnering with local organizations.

By way of example, Duke told me that she is connecting with the Downtown Association to bring more music to downtown events. She is working with the new Bainbridge Art Museum to coordinate small music workshops to help bring community involvement to their space. And she hopes to support school music programs by offering private lessons and rehearsal space for band members. But perhaps what Duke is most excited about is starting a Music Appreciation Series with guest speakers and performances in a range of musical styles.

Susan Anderson and Julie Duke.

Susan Anderson and Julie Duke.

In 2011, IMC held 40 performances in its concert hall, drawing local and regional musicians including Grammy winners. Duke hopes to expand that number in 2012. She explained that as a nonprofit organization IMC does not hold concerts primarily as a source of revenue but rather to provide affordable performances to the community.

Even people who have attended events at IMC or had lessons there rarely are aware of all that it offers. Duke pointed out that people rent the concert hall for a wide range of purposes, including recitals, church services, art classes, and recording sessions. To prevent noise during performances and recordings, the auditorium is oil heated through the floor rather than through noisy air vents.

Duke brings a wide range of experience to her new position at IMC, which is “technically part-time” because of funding constraints. In truth a lot of hours go into running the center, and Duke’s extensive experience working in nonprofit business management for various organizations over the years has prepared her well for the nitty gritty of IMC responsibilities. From connecting with parents and community outreach to donor contact and grant writing, Duke has a lot on her plate and the know-how to make things happen.

Perhaps what makes her best-suited to the job, however, is her experience as a musician: “As a blues musician I did the solo thing for a while, playing gigs most recently on Bainbridge at places like Pegasus Coffee House.” A year ago she formed the Julie Duke Band, with veteran blues musicians backing her vocals and guitar, to enthusiastic reviews.

Island Music Center concert auditorium.

Island Music Center auditorium.

As I was wrapping up my visit to the Island Music Center, Advisory Board member Susan Anderson showed up for a saxophone lesson. She was animated about the Center and its new direction under Duke’s leadership. She mentioned the Flute choir, the jazz workshop, the center’s connection with Centrum, and the upcoming January fundraiser. But mostly she wanted to talk saxophone. It’s that love of music that binds IMC students, teachers, patrons, staff, and board members—from kindermusic novices to accomplished pros and everyone in between.

Island Music Center is a nonprofit Island org that welcomes year-round donations and is part of One Call for All. Learn more at http://www.islandmusic.org/index.html.

Board of Directors: Marilyn Bonkowski, President; Sam Brodsky, Vice President; Norman Johnson, Treasurer; Jenny Coates, Secretary.

Advisory Board: Herb Elseman, Rex Olsen, Bruce Galloway, Michael Belkin, John Eisenhauer, Ruth Enderle, John Ellis, Cynthia Sears, Susan Anderson, Ken Masters, Craig Freeman, Wendy Tyner, Faith Chapel, John S. Adams, Elizabeth Jones, and Andy Loechl.

 

Photos by Julie Hall, 2011.

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Wham BAM! The Bainbridge Art Museum Takes Shape

At the corner of 305 and Winslow Way, right next to KiDiMu, there is a large, brand new building and a large recently flattened area of dirt, subject of much Island speculation. Part of the building now houses Pretty Stick, the flagship store of a new nontoxic makeup company, and Avalara, a provider of web-hosted sales tax and use tax management services. Violet Restaurant (formerly Real Foods) will be opening in the facility soon. Another part of the building houses the start of the Bainbridge Art Museum, or BAM (as I have decided to call it). In the area of flattened dirt in front of it will soon rise the rest of the 20,000-square-foot museum.

Completed part of BAM

Completed portion of the BAM facility

Although BAM is quite a ways from being completed–the earliest anticipated opening is late 2012–it already paints an impressive picture, and the description of what it is to become is quite ambitious. The brainchild of Cynthia Sears, who has been contemplating such a creation for a decade or more, BAM aims to house a permanent collection of works by contemporary regional artists, feature a gallery for changing exhibits (up to 16 per year), work with local schools and the Bainbridge Island Park District to display art by young people, and partner with local organizations, including KiDiMu, to support their efforts by offering space resources such as classrooms and an auditorium.

Greg Robinson, the museum’s Executive Director, says that since achieving nonprofit status for BAM in 2009, the founders have been asking themselves, “What does it mean to be right here, on Bainbridge Island, where the environment is so important?” Members of the board hope to reflect that reality through many of the exhibits they offer. And they intend for the museum’s physical incarnation to reflect the Northwest environmental sensibility as well. To that end the building has been designed to meet the standards of LEED Silver, the U.S. Green Building Council’s third-highest level of recognition, which Robinson says is always an accomplishment for a museum. Museums have particular lighting needs and temperature and humidity concerns that make it particularly challenging to attain LEED energy-use standards.

Solar panels on the roof, a mechanized louver system to maintain a constant temperature inside, the use of sustainable building materials including denim insulation (provided through a grant from Levi Strauss) and FSC-certified woods, recycled-fiber carpeting, a bamboo ceiling, waterless urinals, a green roof, living walls, a permeable surface surrounding the building, and, most impressively, the incorporation of geothermal energy tapped via pipes embedded on site are all part of the building’s innovative design.

BAM classroom

Bainbridge Art Museum Classroom

The finished facility will include a reception area and main lobby space; four galleries; a special collections display; glass display cases for smaller, more delicate items such as books and jewelry; a café; a museum store; art archives; and a rooftop garden named in honor of Island garden artists George Little and David Lewis. For now at this early stage, BAM consists of offices, classrooms, and a 95-seat auditorium. As part of its education-focused mission, BAM is inviting groups to use its existing spaces for lectures, classes, small concerts, and video screenings. Bill Baran-Mickle, one of BAM’s board members, is especially excited about the auditorium, as it will enable the museum to digitally document and present artists’ processes.

Island Gateway campus

The Island Gateway campus

The Island Gateway campus is set up as a condo association, with residents sharing responsibility for common areas. The BAM project’s architectural firm is Coates Design, project management is being handled by Asani, and the construction company is PHC. BAM will own the finished building. An additional retail/commercial building will be constructed in the southwest corner of the campus.

 

Architectural renderings courtesy of Island Gateway. Photos by Sarah Lane, 2011.

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