History

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art began its long road to realization in 2009 with a spark of an idea to create a cultural and artistic bright spot to showcase our region’s outstanding artists, arts and culture. The museum was designed to be an active resource for our community, engaging artists, audiences, and students in its work. The founders were committed to creating a warm and welcoming cultural and educational organization that would be free to all, with no admission required.

Led by a founding board of directors, with support from throughout the region, the early years at BIMA were spent designing and building a museum that embodied that spirit of vitality, openness, accessibility, and passion that so deeply informed the founding vision. In June 2013, BIMA opened its doors to the public with the Museum’s inaugural group show First Light curated by Greg Robinson, Max Grover, Norie Sato, Jake Seniuk, Barbara Earl Thomas, Janice Shaw, and Cynthia Sears.

BIMA quickly established itself as a bright, new addition to the cultural landscape of Washington State and beyond. The Museum’s mission to engage a diverse population in the contemporary art and craft of the Puget Sound Region has been brought to life with an emphasis on the diverse and lesser-known artists, with a robust representation of Native American and Asian American artists, and Northwest strongholds like glass, printmaking, and sculpture. BIMA has been honored to host a multitude of outstanding artists and exhibitions since opening including Gayle Bard: A Singular Vision, Rachel Feferman Retrospective: A Hole in the Heart, Barbara Earl Thomas: Heaven on Fire, Native Hands-Indigenous Art of the Salish Sea, Chris Maynard: Featherfolio, and Women in Photography.

BIMA actively delivers its artistic vision through a variety of educational and cultural programs. In addition to its first-class exhibitions, which rotate fully three times a year, and feature the work of scores of talented Puget Sound artists, the museum is alive with a diverse series of lectures, workshops, films, festivals, special events, studio demonstrations, and open houses. BIMA is focused on advancing its multi-pronged educational program, which serves more than 4,000 students a year through a variety of offerings including field trips for students throughout the region during the school day, hands-on art projects to children of all age, after-school art clubs, and art camps for various ages during school breaks throughout the year.

Looking toward the future, BIMA continues to grow as an organization and expand artistic and educational programming, providing new ways for the community to engage with and learn from the breathtaking and thought-provoking art and craft of the Puget Sound Region.