10 years ago, a group of artists, business and community leaders envisioned building a contemporary art museum on Bainbridge Island. The planning process for this new museum has taken several years. It began with researching museums in our region and exploring unfilled community needs, especially on Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas. Site visits and consultations with several non-profits and art museums in the region were completed. Over the years a founding group formed and began to solicit public input. Early efforts included four focus groups with over forty community residents, and feasibility discussions with several early phase donors.
In 2009, the vision for building an art museum on Bainbridge Island became a reality. A non-profit organization was formed with a founding board of trustees. The perfect location was secured at Winslow Way and Highway 305, a short distance from the ferry terminal. A significant donation was secured to purchase the land, and a partnership with Island Gateway was formed to create a combined campus for nonprofit organizations, retail and commercial offices. The project team was formed and is comprised of Asani, Coates Design (Matthew Coates, principal architect) and PHC Construction. Program and space planning was initiated. Public engagement continued through a design review event, First Friday Art Walk receptions in the former Discovery Center, and through local media including newspaper articles, and various community and arts blogs.
In 2010, after securing several million in initial funding, the museum’s board hired its first full-time Executive Director. The museum leadership worked through many organizational readiness questions including finalizing program visions; completing building designs, phasing plans and budgets; completing design reviews and permit processes; finalizing operating and transitional budgets; expanding the board and its committees; and organizing for the capital campaign, including forming a robust Capital Campaign Steering Committee.
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art is a collecting museum with a focus on artists and collections from the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas, as well as the broader Puget Sound region. Located just adjacent to the Seattle/Bainbridge Island ferry terminal at the corner of Highway 305 and the main street of Bainbridge, Winslow Way, the new art museum is a welcoming landmark and a prominent community resource for quality arts education and lifelong learning. Admission to the art museum is free through sponsors and members.
The art museum features themes and artists ranging from emerging and lesser known artists to recognized masters. The exhibitions will rotate on a regular basis – typically with the seasons and will amount to 12-16 shows per year. Education is a core value and is a primary function of the art museum to promote art education for people of all ages, interests, abilities, and skill levels.
We have gallery tours, artist talks, panel discussions, films, print and digital publications, hands-on art activities are featured in the classrooms, and in the 95-seat auditorium we host artist lectures, films, classical films, poetry and theatrical readings, musical performances, and community meetings.