All exhibitions are located in the Lightcatcher building (LCB) unless otherwise noted.

Current Exhibitions


June 27 - October 11, 2015, Lightcatcher Building


 Helmi Juvonen, Vantage, circa 1975-1976; 
Gouache on rice paper. Gift of Dr. Ulrich & Stella Fritzsche.

Helmi Juvonen (1903-1985), known in her day simply as Helmi, was a prolific artist whose creativity embraced diverse media. She was drawn to the ceremonies and arts of Northwest aboriginal culture and developed a rapport with the chiefs of the Lummi, Swinomish, Muckleshoot, Makah, and Yakama tribes. Helmi devoted years to studying and drawing Northwest Coast Indian and South Pacific objects in the Washington State Museum (later the Burke Museum).

Helmi’s World presents 65 artworks—paintings, drawings, prints and ceramics—drawn from the Whatcom Museum’s collection of her work, which numbers 250 objects. Some of her finest pieces are highlighted, including paintings of petroglyphs from Central Washington, watercolors of Lummi masked dancers, and linocut prints based on the Makah Wolf Dance experienced at Neah Bay. The exhibition suggests the complexity of Helmi’s vision by displaying some of her most unusual artworks, where images and symbols from a variety of cultures converge. The influences of Mark Tobey, Pablo Picasso, Scandinavian Folk Art, and Judeo-Christian and Buddhist iconography are also explored.



Juried by Scott Lawrimore, Director of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, University of Washington

May 31 - September 6, 2015, Lightcatcher Building

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Bellingham National Art Exhibition & Awards is a juried exhibition featuring artworks in a variety of media, including video, photography, ceramics, mixed media, paintings and more. Representing artists from 16 states, including Washington, the exhibition includes 101 pieces from more than 60 artists.

Juried by Scott Lawrimore, Director of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, University of Washington, the exhibition attracted more than 600 artists who submitted works to be considered. Lawrimore selected pieces that inspire not only a sense of wonderment, but also curiosity and reflection about the meanings of art. "There is a strong undercurrent of social justice, gender identity, ecological, human rights, and other political issues running throughout the exhibition," says Lawrimore. "While this represents some of the societal concerns of artists working in the 21st century, I also wanted there to be pure aesthetic reflection and contemplation 'breaks'…of art with more formal concerns."

The top three artists were announced at the May 30th opening reception and received cash awards--$2,000 first prize, $1,000 second prize and $500 third prize.

1st Place: Alison Bremner, Kingston, Washington
2nd Place: Robert Campbell, Vashon, Washington
3rd Place: Rengin Holt, Blackburg, Virginia 

The popular choice award of $500 was announced at the Downtown Art Walk on Fri., August 7th.

Robert Campbell, Vashon, Washington

About Scott Lawrimore: As a curator, writer, art historian, and gallerist, Scott Lawrimore has dedicated his career to championing contemporary artists. He was recently appointed the first director of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, University of Washington. From 2012-2014, Lawrimore was deputy director of collections and exhibitions at the Frye Art Museum, where he curated historical exhibitions drawn from the collection as well as innovative contemporary shows, such as the forty-year retrospective, Buster Simpson // Surveyor. Lawrimore held positions with Art Access Magazine, Foster/White Gallery, Davidson Galleries, and Greg Kucera Gallery before opening his own space, Lawrimore Project, in 2006. He also taught for graduate and undergraduate students in various colleges and universities. He holds a bachelor of art degree in art history from the University of California, Davis, and a master of art degree in art history from Sacramento State University.

Juror's Perspective: Walk through the exhibition with juror Scott Lawrimore on Sun., May 31, 1pm at the Lightcatcher Building. More info here.

 Image credit: Kalee Appleton, Untitled 2, Archival Inkjet Print (binary collage), 2014



May 9 and extended through October 25, 2015, Old City Hall

Featuring the work of Seattle photographer and author Paul Bannick, The Owl & the Woodpecker introduces museum visitors to the most important species of owls and woodpeckers in North America, illustrating how they define and enrich the specific habitats on which they depend, and highlighting the critical importance of conservation. The exhibition includes:


  • Twenty-five large-format, framed color prints by Bannick
  • Text descriptions of each bird, written by the photographer, plus several thematic text panels that highlight the conservation issues affecting different owl and woodpecker habitats across North America
  • Audio recordings of the calls and drumming sounds of the birds featured in the photographs, provided by audio-naturalist Martyn Stewart, who has recorded more than 200,000 bird sounds worldwide.


Paul Bannick is known for his intimate wildlife photography, which supports environmental conservation efforts. He his the author of a book by the same title as the exhibition, and his work has appeared in Audubon magazine, the National Wildlife Federation Guide to North American Birds, Smithsonian Guide to North American Birds, and in many other books, magazines, parks, refuges, and other places in North America and Europe. The Owl & the Woodpecker: Photographs by Paul Bannick was organized by the Burke Museum, University of Washington, created with Paul Bannick and Braided River, a partner of The Mountaineers Books.

The Whatcom Museum, the North Cascades Audubon Society, and the North Cascades Institute featured a slideshow and presentation by Paul Bannick in the Rotunda Room of Old City Hall on Tues., Aug. 11th. 



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Northern Saw-whet Owls. Photo by Paul Bannick. 



On the 2nd floor passageway of the Lightcatcher Building

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Fairhaven Park Wading Pool, c. 1925

Bellingham's parks have always been a locally loved and widely admired part of the city. This exhibition from the Whatcom Museum's Photo Archives, and the second with a parks-theme, features a dozen "new" historical views of Bellingham parks including images of Cornwall, Fairhaven, Whatcom Falls and Elizabeth parks, among others. It's a celebration of the community green in glorious black and white, perfect inspiration for getting outside in the summer months ahead.


Sun Aug 30 @ 1:30PM - 02:30PM
Docent Tour: Helmi's World
Sun Sep 06 @ 1:30PM - 02:30PM
Docent Tour: Helmi's World
Thu Sep 10 @12:00PM - 05:00PM
Syre Education Center Open: Honoring First Nations
Fri Sep 11 @12:00PM - 05:00PM
Syre Education Center Open: Honoring First Nations
Sat Sep 12 @12:00PM - 05:00PM
Syre Education Center Open: Honoring First Nations
Sun Sep 13 @12:00PM - 05:00PM
Syre Education Center Open: Honoring First Nations
Sun Sep 13 @ 1:30PM - 02:30PM
Docent Tour: Helmi's World
Sun Sep 13 @ 2:00PM - 03:00PM
People of the Sea and Cedar Tour
Thu Sep 17 @12:30PM - 01:30PM
Brown Bag: Helmi's World: Curator's Gallery Tour
Thu Sep 17 @ 3:30PM - 04:15PM
FIG: Exhibit Play for Ages 5-11

Wednesday - Sunday, noon-5pm;
open Thursday until 8pm; open Saturday at 10am

250 Flora Street, Bellingham, WA 98225  

Family Interactive Gallery (FIG)
Wednesday - Saturday, 10-5pm; Sunday noon-5pm
250 Flora Street, Bellingham, WA 98225


Thursday - Sunday, noon-5pm; for select programs.
121 Prospect Street, Bellingham, WA  98225

Wednesday - Friday, 1-5 pm.
201 Prospect Street, Bellingham, WA 98225

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