Bellevue Arts Museum has unique beginnings. Inspired by an art fair that was started in 1947, the museum was finally founded in 1975 to provide year-round viewings. The Bellevue underwent several changes over the years before being redesigned by Washington architect Steven Holl. In 2001, Bellevue Art Museum was finally able to exhibit works from a permanent facility.
The Bellevue Arts Museum features art and craft works from artists all around the world. The expansive collection includes fine art, unique furniture designs, culturally significant everyday objects, and more. Bellevue Arts Museum celebrates the exchange of ideas in craft and design with several exhibitions.
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The Bellevue Arts Museum has a permanent collection that features locally and regionally produced art works and pieces specially commissioned by Bellevue. There is a Community Education Gallery that exhibits student work. This gallery is intended to promote cultural awareness and education through artwork. Special exhibitions include a lighting installation with works created by artists in the Pacific Northwest, glassworks, hanging sculptures, and other artworks inspired by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Included in the current exhibition is a collection of samplers created by artist Bren Ahearn. These embroidered pieces tell a story of cultural change, particularly with respect to gender roles in society. Samplers where once used to educate women and instill religious teachings. Historically, samplers have generally not been considered as medium for artistic expression, which is what makes this exhibition so unique. There are messages of self-discovery in the samplers as well as the challenges of confronting narrowly prescribed gender roles.
Metalmorphosis: Another exhibit currently on display is Metalmorphosis, a collection of metal works by 49 artists, most of whom are from the Pacific Northwest. Metalmorphosis is the current edition of BAM Biennial, a juried exhibition that assigns a different focus for each collection. The focus can be a particular medium, theme, or technique. For each edition, the jury reviews applications and selects a limited amount of artworks for exhibition.
The Bellevue Arts Museum offers several programs that foster cultural enrichment through art appreciation and creative expression. Talks, specially tailored tours, and hands-on projects help put art into context and encourage connection to creative expressions. There are programs are geared toward public participation, families with children, teens, and schools.
Special public programs include artist lectures in ongoing programs include Free First Friday, in which admission is free on the first Friday of each month, and language tours in French, German, Italian, Mandarin, and Dutch. Kid-friendly Crafty Saturdays are craft workshops held every Saturday and feature projects with seasonal themes. During the holiday season, crafts include fall printmaking, metal embossed snowflakes, and gingerbread houses. Teen programs include special exhibitions featuring young artists, free admission for teens on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, a teen docent program, and a Teen Arts Council that enables involvement in planning events and curating teen art exhibitions.
School and Educator programs are available to provide an experience specific to curriculum and interests.This way, the museum can act like an extension of the classroom and generate ideas for projects relating to course curriculum. This is especially helpful with art appreciation classes, as it puts the subject matter into a visual context for the student to analyze.Specialized tours can also help budding artists explore new mediums and techniques before creating new works of their own.
Imagination Stations are areas located in the museum that highlight specific themes.Current themes are shape, light and color, paper cutouts, and space portraits.At the Imagination Stations, visitors of all ages are encouraged to create their own works of art with focus on that station’s theme.Participation is free with admission, and stations are open daily.
The Art of Discovery Project is a program designed to help educators and students experience regional art without having to leave the classroom.The Art of Discovery features the Northwest Art Collection which includes works from artists of the Pacific Northwest.Art exhibits are brought directly to the classroom along with lesson plans and hands-on projects for the students to establish connections with art.
Each year, the Bellevue Square and Bellevue Arts museum hosts the BAM ARTSfair, which is the biggest arts and crafts festival in the Pacific Northwest. Over 300 artists are featured, along with activities for kids, food, and performance exhibitions. This arts and crafts fair is curated by Bellevue Arts Museum with focus on independent creators and their unique offerings. A wide range of styles are supported, so classic, modern and experimental works are displayed.
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510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004, Phone: 425-519-0770
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