Upcoming Exhibitions


May 9 - August 30, 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. Based on a book of the same title by Seattle photographer and author Paul Bannick, he is known for his intimate wildlife photography, which supports environmental conservation efforts. 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.

Save the date! Join the Whatcom Museum, the North Cascades Audubon Society, and the North Cascades Institute for a slideshow and presentation by Paul Bannick in the Rotunda Room of Old City Hall on Tues., Aug. 11 at 7pm. Ticketed event. More info here.

Open concurrently, May 9-30, Birds of Washington permanent collection at the Syre Education Center.



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Northern Saw-whet Owls. Photo by Paul Bannick. 



Opens May 20, 2015, 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.


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 2015 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 will include 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 will receive cash awards--$2000 first prize, $1000 second prize and $500 third prize. The exhibition will also include a popular choice award of $500, offering the community an opportunity to give their feedback on the artworks.

Save the date! 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.


June 27 - October 11, 2015, Lightcatcher Building

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). Native American culture nurtured her creative spirit and empowered her to transcend the confinement of ordinary life, poverty and decades committed to an asylum.


Helmi Juvonen, Vantage, circa 1953-1956; Gouache
on rice paper. Gift of Dr. Ulrich & Stella Fritzsche.

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; and prints based on the Makah Wolf Dance experienced at Neah Bay. The exhibition suggests the complexity of Helmi’s vision by displaying some or 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.


September 27, 2015 - January 3, 2016, Lightcatcher Building


This exhibition surveys recent directions in 'Book Art' through the diverse work of 60 prominent artists in the field from across the country (including Great Britain and Australia). It explores the limitless potential of the book as an independent, creative medium through both intimately-scaled pieces and large installations. Many artists carve old volumes or twist their pages into unique, sculptural configurations. Others make their own books and experiment with a multitude of different formats: accordion, pop-up, tunnel, concertina, among others. Some artists reconfigure ancient book forms, such as the scroll or codex, to create unique forms. Books are often combined with other materials - both manufactured and natural, such as plastic, crystals, twigs, even meteorites - to astonishing effects.

Unhinged not only highlights myriad styles and processes, it also presents artists' personal experiences as well as messages about identity, human justice issues, and environmental concerns. From political statements to metaphysical ideas, book artists interpret their medium through expressive and sometimes humorous constructions. After visiting this exhibition, viewers will never look at a book in the same way again.

Image credit: Carrie Ann Schumacher, Emil, 2013; Romance Novel Dress. Courtesy of the artist.

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