Located on Bainbridge Island in Kitsap County, Washington, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art is an contemporary art museum offering a variety of rotating exhibits and public art educational programming. The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art was the vision of Cynthia Sears, who formed a nonprofit organization in 2009 to oversee the creation of a contemporary art museum to serve the Puget Sound region.

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A location for the museum was secured near the island’s Highway 305 in the town of Winslow, located near the island’s ferry terminal, and the museum’s founding board of trustees entered into a partnership with Island Gateway to create a combined campus for nonprofit and commercial space. Funding for the project was secured in 2010, and the museum’s first executive director was chosen. The museum’s campus, which was designed by architect Matthew Coates, completed its first phase of construction in 2011, with second-phase construction completed for an official public opening in June of 2013 with the premiere of a group art show entitled “First Light.”

Exhibits and Facilities

Since its 2013 opening, the museum has attracted more than 90,000 annual visitors from throughout the Puget Sound region and beyond. The museum is renowned for its unique environmental design, which earned the facility LEED Gold certification, the first art museum in the state to achieve the rating. As a cultural and educational resource for the Puget Sound community, the museum is committed to showcasing the works of upcoming regional and national artists and engaging Bainbridge Island residents with current topics and voices in the contemporary art world.

Due to its mission to raise the voices of new and upcoming voices in contemporary art, the museum’s galleries are dedicated to rotating temporary exhibits. Major exhibitions rotate approximately three times a year, with up to 20 new shows presented annually. Past exhibitions showcased at the museum include Ulrich Pakker’s Visions Rendered, Patty Rogers’ Joys Within Reach, Catherine Alice Michaelis: Imprinted and Unbound, and the group shows Women in Photography, Revering Nature, and Native Hands: Indigenous Art of the Salish Sea. The museum is also in the process of developing a Permanent Art Collection in conjunction with the Art Acquisitions and Exhibitions Committee, consisting of fine art donations from multidisciplinary artists throughout the Puget Sound region. Submissions for consideration for the collection may be inquired about by contacting the museum directly via phone or email, and pieces donated may be used by the museum for other purposes if not selected for permanent collections.

In addition to collections and exhibitions, the museum also is the home of a number of community cultural spaces, including the George and David Lewis Roof Garden, constructed as a riverscape of sustainable plantings and landscaped boulders. Pieces on permanent display from past exhibits include Harmony by William O. Walcott, which blend realism, humor, and narrative elements to depict regional landmarks. A 68-seat theater is offered for film showings, live performances, and event presentations, showcasing a state-of-the-art projection system and acoustic specifications. The BIMA Bistro offers light breakfast and lunch fare from chef Melinda Lucas, the founder of the island’s Café Nola. The campus’ Museum Store also offers a wide variety of handmade artisan works and gifts, including one-of-a-kind pieces and exhibition-related items.

Ongoing Programs and Events

As a community educational resource, the museum offers a wide variety of educational opportunities for local youth and students, including curriculum-incorporated field trips for elementary and secondary school students. Art classes and workshops are offered for participants of all ages, including an After School Art Club for students in grades 5-8, a Summer Portrait Sessions workshop, and a Looking and Drawing series. An annual summer camp offers hands-on work with multidisciplinary art forms, and a variety of family drop-in events are offered throughout the year, including Art In Action events and regular Family Parties.

A variety of public programming is presented by the museum, including the Art Museum Encounters podcast series, which features interviews with artists and conversations about current and upcoming exhibitions. All podcasts are archived on the museum’s website and available for listening and downloading. The museum’s Book Arts gallery and program is one of the largest of its kind in the country and offers periodic book talks with book artists and illustrators. Several local film festivals are hosted at the museum’s auditorium, including the Port Townsend Film Festival and Manhattan Shorts, and regular trunks shows and craft fairs are hosted at the Museum Store. Other public special events hosted by the museum include gallery artist meet-and-greet programs, artist and author lectures and readings, and food tasting and dining events at the BIMA Bistro.

550 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA, website, Phone: 206-842-4451

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