Collage of six images and with a logo across the bottom saying "Whatcom Artist Studio Tour"

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour Showcase

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023

Old City Hall

The Whatcom Artist Studio Tour juried showcase features selected works by artists participating in this year’s studio tour. Celebrating its 29th year, the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour (WAST) features more than 50 artists in 31 studios and more than a dozen different media. WAST offers visitors insight into the creative process, work-life, and work environment of area artists and provides an opportunity for people to purchase original works. This year’s tour runs the first two weekends in October, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Visit www.studiotour.net for more information on the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Color still life photograph of a vase with red/orange flowers, a sculpture with a peeled blood orange on top and one squished on the table.

let it shine: Photographs by Mina Afshari

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

The Museum is pleased to showcase California-based artist Mina Afshari’s photographs for her first museum exhibit. Afshari is a young Iranian woman who longed for freedom not only from the oppressive regime of Iran but also from prolonged family trauma. After arriving in the United States and experiencing the wind of freedom in her hair, she has found beauty and healing in allowing herself to open up to the expansiveness of her new home. The photographs in Let it Shine were created in her Carmel, California apartment, using a single light source—a window—to illuminate farmer’s market produce and flowers. She captures the beauty of the contrast between darkness and luminous light. This exhibit is the story of losing oneself in the dark edge of life but being given another chance to be alive in the most colorful way.

About Mina Afshari

Growing up in Iran, Mina Afshari witnessed even the most basic human rights being denied. She had to fight for her safety against the government, as well as at home, where she experienced physical and emotional abuse. These experiences awoke her to the world at an early age. Now, she’s fighting to reclaim her innocence.

When Afshari was five years old, and her brother was two, they were kidnapped for four months, where she witnessed him being abused. Feeling helpless, her response as a five-year-old was to fight by dumping food on the carpet or throwing clothespins off the balcony.

Throughout her childhood, Afshari was faced with hardships, such as providing emotional support for her father, enduring anger from her mother, caregiving her mother through terminal cancer, experiencing deception and manipulation from extended family, and the death of her brother. From a very young age, she promised herself never to feel again and, through the years, detached and numbed out her emotions as she learned to people please to find safety.

Color still photograph of red sunflowers., fruit and vegetables in a basket.

Mina Afshari; A Dance in Light l, 2023; Photographic print. Image courtesy of the artist.

As a teenager, Afshari was compelled to find a corner of freedom for herself, rebelling against the enforcement of Iran’s rules over women’s clothing and head coverings. She cut her hair short, wore boy clothes, and rode her bicycle at night to feel freedom and the wind in her hair. Eventually, she was arrested at gunpoint by Iran’s “morality police.” When they insisted that her family had to bring proper clothing to release her, she defied them, stating that she had no family and no other clothes. Eventually, to her surprise, they released her. She raised her hand for a cab feeling victorious as she walked out wearing the same “inappropriate” clothing she was arrested in.

It was after coming to the United States during her mother’s cancer treatment and grieving the loss of her mother that Afshari entered a gym for the first time and began her slow journey of healing. Through the years, her childhood traumas manifested in illness and hopelessness. She learned that her traumas were at the root of her illness and began to get help through meditation, exercise, and education.

The pandemic gave Afshari a new opportunity to shift her focus. During the shelter-in-place orders, she started taking photographs of produce from the local farmer’s market to promote their services on social media. She became obsessed with capturing the produce in the most flattering way, using light from a single window in her apartment and exploring the contrasts of darkness and luminous light. Picking up the camera was very healing for Afshari, who felt grounded and at peace. She says, “Experimenting with still life photos, I feel I’m reclaiming my innocence again.”

Afshari, currently a university student pursuing a degree in economics, has taken on the role of a research apprentice in the realm of behavioral economics. Guided by her mentors, she employs quantitative methods to explore the intricate interplay between personal history and individual decision-making. Afshari is especially interested in investigating the lives of founders and CEOs as she can personally relate to the resilience and unrelenting resourcefulness of the individuals she studies. Her burning question is to answer what causes us to become compassionate towards each other and what transforms self-preservation into compassion.

This presentation of Afshari’s photographs is her first exhibit at a museum. Afshari’s work is a direct reflection of journeying through trauma and communicates the innocence that exists within each of us regardless of the darkness through which we’ve traveled. She believes that there is immense power within each individual, even when feeling completely helpless and hopeless. Through her work and her story, she hopes that others find their own strength to take positive, empowering actions to gain back what seemed to have been lost.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Top portion of a red sleeveless dress with text to the right in white and red that says Whatcom Community College and Whatcom Museum present The REDress Project. A white feather with a red trip is underneath the text.

REDress Project 2023 – Honoring Indigenous People

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

The Whatcom Museum is hosting an art installation in partnership with Whatcom Community College to honor and remember Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People (MMIWP). Red dresses will be on display in the Lightcatcher Courtyard, representing the thousands of Native women, men, children, and non-binary people who go missing or are murdered each year.

The original “REDress Project” by artist and Métis Nation member Jaime Black began in Winnipeg in 2011 to draw attention to crime against Aboriginal women in Canada. The project has since spread to the US and calls attention to the lack of reporting, data, and justice for Native American women.

There is a lack of meaningful data collected on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Some studies have been conducted, including in Whatcom County. The information is heartbreaking and triggering.

  • Washington State was #2 in a study conducted by Urban Indian Health Institute.
  • Seattle was #1 in a study conducted by Urban Indian Health Institute.
  • Native women face murder rates 10 times above the national average. (wernative.org)
  • Nationally, 86% of sexual assaults against Native women are committed by non-Native men.
  • Native women are the only population that is most likely to experience sexual assault by people outside their racial or ethnic group.

Learn more about this issue by visiting the Urban Indian Health Institute website, www.uihi.org, and the National Indian Council on Aging website, nicoa.org.

Watch a video by the National Museum of the American Indian featuring artist Jaime Black (Métis), who talks more about this project: The REDress Project at the National Museum of the American Indian – YouTube

Children of the Setting Sun produced a video as a prayer to missing and murdered Indigenous women. Produced in 2019 it features the West Shore Canoe Family, with a song composed by Antone George: The Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women – YouTube

In 2016, Canada’s unions staged a powerful performance with music by A Tribe Called Red, honoring missing and murdered Indigenous women: Performance for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women – YouTube

 

The REDress Installation is organized jointly with Whatcom Community College Native staff and the Whatcom Museum.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Oil painting of boats in a marina in blue and yellow-brown tones

Coastal Views: California and the Pacific Northwest

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

Featuring coastal landscape paintings from Northern California to Washington, spanning the 1880s to present, this stunning exhibition highlights the work of many well-known artists from both regions, as well as several who were underrecognized in their day.

Visitors are invited to examine both the similarities and differences in style in the works from these two regions, which extends from the coastline of Big Sur to the Monterey Peninsula to the Coast Range mountains and northward to the Puget Sound and Cascade mountains. The artists traveled back and forth between the two states and often knew one another, sharing common values about the land and drawing inspiration from the wilderness. The misty, foggy weather patterns are often represented in these works.

The paintings in Coastal Views are drawn from the Whatcom Museum’s collection, the Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey artist Warren Chang, and the private collections of Phil and Mary Serka of Bellingham, Wash.; and Paula and Terry Trotter of Carmel, Calif. Coastal Views is co-curated by Patricia Leach, Executive Director of the Whatcom Museum, and Sarah Clark-Langager, retired Director of the Western Washington University Gallery.

Image credit: Armin C. Hansen; Monterey Harbor, c. 1927; Watercolor; 24 x 25.75 in. framed. From the collection of Terry and Paula Trotter.

 


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Black and white photo of a man running in a crowd of spectators in 1913.

Mountain Runners: America’s First Endurance Race and its Legacy Today

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023

Old City Hall

On Thursday, August 9, 1911, as the hour of 10:00 p.m. fast approached, twenty-thousand spectators swarmed the streets of Bellingham to witness fourteen contestants embark on the first recorded mountain adventure race in American history. Competitors raced from the bay city at outrageous speeds aboard stripped-down automobiles and an old Iron Horse toward two competing trailheads at the foot of Mount Baker. Disembarking from their contrivances, they ran in darkness through dense forest, on snow and ice fields, over glaciers and crevasses, against savage storms and whiteout conditions to the 10,781-foot summit and back again. All for a cash prize in gold.

No one could have predicted a year earlier that the opening of the Mount Baker wilderness to tourism, development, and potential national park status would depend in part, on the outcome of a race involving loggers, laborers, coal miners and packers, a student, a timber-cruiser, a wrestler, a poultry breeder, and a bedspring maker.

The Whatcom Museum celebrates both the 110th anniversary of the last Mount Baker Marathon race (1911-1913) and the 50th anniversary of the present Ski to Sea race (1973-2023). On exhibition are numerous images spanning the marathon and Ski to Sea years, as well as film, sound recordings, and memorabilia.

Watch the movie The Mountain Runners, at the Pickford Film Center on Wed., May 24, 6pm. The film tells the story of the Mount Baker Marathon, America’s first mountain endurance/adventure foot race. More info at https://pickfordfilmcenter.org/movie/mountain-runners.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Abstract landscape painting of a river on a white wall

Susan Murrell: Sift / Shift

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

Abstract mixed media painting of a river coming out of a white wall and onto a gray floor with colored sand.

Susan Murrell; Sift / Shift (detail), 2023. Image courtesy of the artist.

Susan Murrell’s works are meditations on passageways, life transitions, and the constancy of matter. In the summer of 2023, she will create a site-specific installation specific to the Museum’s Lightcatcher gallery. The immersive work employing sand, painting, and sculptural elements will explore our very human proclivity to be co-creators of the landscape as we assign value to materials, excavate and harvest, delineate, and build. The artist states, “We live in a place where various cultures have long negotiated a beautiful, fertile, and difficult landscape in hopes it will sustain us. I’m interested in how the prevalent philosophies and priorities of our time sculpt the physical environment and how this place is more porous, interconnected, and transitory than we often realize.”

Susan Murrell; Sift / Shift (detail), 2023. Image courtesy of the artist.

Murrell’s work also explores how our concept of landscape has changed through technology. The visible horizon traditionally defined our relationship to the world; now, with our expanding perspective, we feel a kinship with microscopic images and aerial views of planets. Vestiges of built environments, architecture, or even scientific illustration have been added to our visual vernacular and create a sense of place for us. Our bodies are quite literally composed of recycled matter from the stars. We are reshuffled molecules. In this context, Murrell considers herself a landscape painter.

Murrell has been awarded residencies at programs such as Yaddo, Ragdale, Arteles in Finland, and Westfjords in Iceland. She has exhibited at Siena Heights University, Boise State University, Schneider Museum of Art, Carnation Contemporary, and Portland State University, among others. Her works are in the University of Oregon and the United States Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division collections, and she is currently a Professor of Art at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon.

This exhibition is supported by funds from the Oregon Arts Commission. Additional funding is provided by The Ford Family Foundation and Eastern Oregon University, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, Jean Andresen, and The City of Bellingham.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Cockatoos

Vintage Vaudevillians Returns

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

Vintage Vaudevillians returns to the Lightcatcher, in partnership with Whatcom Reads. This photographic exhibition highlights a dozen vaudeville acts that performed in Bellingham in the early 20th century. Originally used to promote the acts, these publicity photos were saved by James Warwick, stage manager at downtown theaters during vaudeville’s heyday. The Whatcom Reads book selection, The Cold Millions by Jess Walter, features a vaudeville character, Ursula the Great, who performs with a live cougar. Learn more at whatcomreads.org.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Glowing laptop screen with the side profile of a young, female identified person

Picturing Justice: Youth Photographs for Social Action

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

This fall the Whatcom Museum partnered with three Squalicum High School AP English Language Arts classes on a new student art program, called Picturing Justice. The goal was to feature photographs that reflect student concerns about equality, justice, and equity. Students worked with a variety of community partners to prepare for the project. A visit to the Museum introduced students to looking closely at art. The Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center taught skills for empathetic discussions. Dr. Lauren McClanahan, Director of the Bellingham Youth Media Project, shared strategies for taking impactful photographs. Through these lessons, students learned how art, identity, and social justice connect together. They then identified a justice issue that spoke to their identities and experiences. Going out into their communities, they captured images that highlight causes they are passionate about. From climate change to racial justice, these images show the challenges affecting the lives of these rising community leaders. See these student works on display in the second-floor hallway of the Lightcatcher building.

Support of Picturing Justice is provided by Shirley Prichard, Squalicum High School English teacher; Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center; Dr. Lauren McClanahan, Director of the Bellingham Youth Media Project; and Dakota Art.

More than 70 students participated in the project and below is a selection of the submissions. To see them all and read their artist statements, visit the exhibit in the Museum’s Lightcatcher building!

 

Smudged

Asian culture has been pushed down and erased in America since the first time Asian immigrants stepped foot in America. Chinatowns, home to cultural traditions from all over Asia, face the gentrification of larger companies. Local businesses, from restaurants to hospitals, are pushed out by white-owned chain restaurants and large apartment complexes. Asian culture in America is actively being invaded and torn down by people who are blind to the community formed through shared culture; to the home Asian Americans find through coming together and sharing their traditions.

Growing up, I’ve been made fun of for “gross” school lunches my mom woke up early in the morning to pack for me. My name is mispronounced persistently, and there are times I don’t even think to correct it. In my photo, I used a glass window to reflect an image of a barbie against a doll dressed in traditional clothing, representing the contrast between Asian culture and expectations for Asian Americans. The barbie is blurry—a clouded image of someone untrue to oneself, an expectation—whereas the doll behind the window stands her ground. If her identity were to be stripped away, her culture and way of life are still there, simply pushed away. The culture forced upon her, a blurry reflection, is the one unfamiliar to her. My purpose with this photograph is to encourage the audience to be more accepting of cultures they aren’t used to, even in the small actions they take when presented with unfamiliar customs.

Action Statement: I can be unapologetically proud of the culturally diverse aspects of my family, from food to linguistic differences. We can respect cultural hubs such as Chinatowns as places for Asian communities to come together and celebrate their culture.

Photograph of a sunset sky with gray clouds and orange and pink in the horizon above houses

 

A Field of Broken Glass

I took this photo in Brazil while I was volunteering with Athletes in Action. Most of this photo is of the open sky framed with a beautiful sunset reflecting off the clouds. As you look closer at this image you see the apartment complex and finally the soccer field. At first people don’t see a soccer field, or at least one that is recognizable to them. This field is all that this community in Teresina Piaui has to offer for their athletes. I took this picture as the kids were taking a water break. As I looked around, some of them didn’t have shoes on and yet all I saw was smiles from the kids as this was their passion. It was enough. I reflected on the photo I had taken that night and realized that there needs to be a movement for equal access to sports and equipment globally.  I had only ever played soccer on a beautiful turf field with a pair of cleats that fit me. I don’t even like soccer and yet I had such easy access. For the youth in Teresina soccer is their life and passion and are forced to play on a field filled with sand and glass.  My hope is that this image draws attention to the fact that there is a need for equal access to materials and I would encourage more support for programs like Athletes in Action that are helping provide materials for everyone.

Action Statement: I plan to return to Brazil this summer to help provide resources and equipment as well as lead sports camps to help grow their athletic community. You can help to support this mission by aiding programs like “Athletes in Action” and by raising awareness of the unequal access to athletics on a global scale.

 

 

 

 

Trash

I found this image at a time when wildfire smoke filled the air. Dissatisfied with the weather, to summon fall, I went to a local park. Here, I found the image of what appeared to me like a leaf, melted onto the top of a trash can lid. I knew that it illuminated my thoughts on the environment exactly. I photographed the lid of the trashcan, using a top-down view to not reveal the entire object and to have the focus entirely on the melted part. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and growing up surrounded by nature, makes it more infuriating to witness extreme heat and flooding that damages my community. I hope to invite the viewer to consider first what the image is and secondly how it came to be. The lid of a trash can melted in the image of something that looks entirely natural. There is a plethora of knowledge and wisdom to be gained by studying and connecting with the natural world. The viewers of my image will hopefully consider the immediacy of damages caused by climate change, both to the natural world and the human world.

Action Statement: I will vote for a politician who will value the health of the environment over the health of corporations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dresses

This image represents the slow death of a culture. My culture. The image shows two dresses hung up on a wall. Both dresses are different colors, the designs on the dress are fading but the colors are still vibrant. The dresses are traditional clothes worn every day in Pakistan. The fading design represents fading culture, but the bright colors represent the parts of culture that are being “Americanized”. Typically, second and third generations of immigrants no longer wear traditional garbs anymore. We now wear jeans and sweaters, which makes us slowly lose the culture of our homeland and connections to past generations. I think this is in part due to a fear of not fitting in, of not being “American” enough. Due to this fear, we lose a part of ourselves, our history, our legacy, trying to be the “ideal” American.

As a person of color whose grandparents immigrated to the United States, I see myself slowly losing my culture. The first thing that went was the clothes. Both my parents no longer wearing traditional Pakistani clothing. The second thing that left was the language. My parents never passing it down to me due to being shamed for not speaking English. I hope this picture helps people to understand that one’s culture is important and worth saving, even when you’re afraid and shamed for being “different”. Instead, we should be proud.

Action Statement: I can encourage myself and other people to be more open-minded about wearing traditional clothing. We can normalize the representation of accurate traditional clothing in the media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safe Protesting

I took this image on November 7th at the Denver capital in Colorado as the Trump and Biden Presidential elections were happening. This was one of the first protests I’ve experienced as a young American and it scared me. I’ll be turning 18 in another year, and I want to be able to vote and protest peacefully. I fear that if we do not engage in peaceful protesting, protests will spiral out of control. We saw this happen at the Capital on January 6th, 2022. During this violent protest, five people were killed, as more than two thousand rioters attacked the capital building.

As I look at this image, I wonder about the future of protesting. Will there be armed guards at every corner? Will tear gas and riot shields be the norm? It’s not fair to young voters, like me, who want to safely express our right to speech, assembly, and expression of grievances. As a society we need to change our current approach to protests. We don’t need more riot armor, pepper spray, and rubber bullets. Instead, we need calm voices that are willing to express their needs peacefully and safely. Violence cannot be the only way to promote change.

Action Statement: I can lead by good example and encourage the people in my community to calmly and peacefully join in protesting for other social justice issues. You can refuse to participate in protests that are violent while talking to people that frequently join in protests and encourage them to stray away from actions of violence and hate in order to make a change.

 

 

 

Unlocking Vulnerability

I don’t take photos of my surroundings very often. But when I do, it’s because it has meaning to me. I like to see things and picture a deeper meaning to them. I photographed a picture of a small snippet of hundreds of lockets all connected to one fence. I took this photo only focusing on the lockets themselves because that’s where all the narrative is. People come from all over the world to see it. This picture was captured in Paris, France. I took this photo because it made me wonder about all the personal stories connected to each and everyone of those lockets. Most of them have an initial plus another. Who are these people that have a locket? Are they lovers? Parent and child? Friends? Each locket connects to a story of two individuals. Each person who is putting a locket on, is sharing a piece of themselves and their person. It’s vulnerable. Instead of locking away their love and compassion inside, they’re putting it on a locket, and into it. Each locket represents love shared between two. Its brave and unprotected in theory. But the love is protected by the strong metal locket that will never break open. I hope seeing this photo made you think about how brave it is to share yourself with others, and why it’s the strongest thing you really could do.

Action Statement: I can continue to advocate and show that being vulnerable is a strong emotion and makes you brave. We can encourage others to show their vulnerable side by normalizing vulnerability.

Glowing laptop screen with the side profile of a young, female identified person

 

False Sense of Serenity

I took this picture with the idea of expressing the high expectations that every high schooler faces. Whether feeling pressure from coaches, teachers, parents, or peers, the universal truth is that society puts an overwhelming level of stress upon students. This year, I’ve taken on several difficult classes and joined many intensive extracurricular activities. This photo uses light and contrast in order to convey all the pressure students are under. I first started to understand the overwhelming expectations at the beginning of sophomore year, when I took AP US History, which, while being an extremely rewarding class, was difficult to succeed in as the workload was intense. This endeavor taught me how to be a successful and organized student, but for some, it soured them against school and caused them to give up. While students are constantly working, we are also still in the process of growing and learning and figuring out who we are. For some, these burdens cause overloads of stress, which can spark anxiety and other mental health issues. Mental health issues can lead to decreased focus, leading to lowered grades and decreased capacity for the normalized burdens. Adults often don’t understand this and keep pushing their children when that may be the worst thing that they can do. Many of my peers have suffered from this stress, and it can be very scary to go through this when one’s adults do not understand. It takes an incredible amount of creativity and stamina in order to succeed in the way that the adults in our lives want us to. I’ve had to come up with creative ways to complete the required amount of homework while still learning and doing my extracurriculars. I’ve mentally planned out essays while figuring out physics problems, practiced songs for choir while doing even more physics problems. While this photo may seem serene, the blaring light of the computer overshadows the real chaos on the desk. My current life is represented in this photo: Spanish and physics homework, pointe shoes on top of sheets and sheets of music. In spite of all of this, the photo seems serene. But if you look closely, under the surface, there is a storm of pressure. I hope that this photo helps to illuminate the incredible expectations for high schoolers, but to also provide understanding for the adults in our lives to have sympathy and compassion for us.

Action Statement: I can do this by changing my mindset about how I deal with my workload, from feeling stressed about all the things I need to do, to feeling grateful for having these opportunities. We can do this by changing the fundamental way society views college admissions by increasing societal understanding of the pressure that students face.

 

 

 

Tighter

I would always freak out when people asked me my dress or pant size. Negative self-talk would make its way to my head, eating me alive. Why did I think this way? When you look at your favorite TV shows or magazines, how thin are the women in them? I sadly couldn’t stop myself from comparing myself to them. And then, as I grew older, I realized that I wasn’t the only one comparing bodies, sadly lots of people do.

Orchids are beautiful. When one looks at orchids, no matter how colorful, big, small, tall, or short, if they have a pattern on their petals or not, they are always loved. Why can’t it be like that with women’s bodies? If you are a size too big you are called fat, a size too small you are seen as sick, if you are too tall you are a giraffe, and if you are too short you look like a child. These measurements get tighter and tighter until at one point the flowers can’t breathe, and they fall. Why do we want a world with the same flowers, when we could have a world with a breath-taking variety?

Action Statement: I can change the way I view myself by using affirmative language and appreciating more my body. We can break these standards by having more variety and inclusivity in social media, our communities, and our personal lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Choice

Like many people my age, I have been consumed by social media. Social media has many issues, but I chose to represent one in my picture. With the spread of social media, so many options are shown to users. Whether it’s the opportunity to travel the world, or to pick up hundreds of new hobbies, the options become overwhelming to the point where sometimes it’s easier to just do nothing. By doing nothing, we start to get upset and frustrated that we can’t be productive, which causes us to shut down even more. This is known as the “Paradox of Choice”, where a person has so many options that the choice becomes stressful and hinders their decision-making. In my work, I overlayed two images. One of me lying in bed and the other of me sitting up in bed. This photo represents the way I feel when I am overwhelmed. Often, I have found myself in bed instead of finding something to do. I hope to let others who understand this feeling know that it’s okay to be overwhelmed easily, especially during a time where social media is controlling our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shedding Light

I want to comment on the ignorance and lack of empathy our society shows towards homeless people. I believe we should engage in justice-oriented acts for people struggling in situations like this. I captured this picture to remind everybody, including myself, that even in the beautiful parts of where we live, there are deep inequities that we need to solve. The longer we continue to avoid finding a solution for this concern, the more we risk it becoming a norm in our society.

My image is of a place near Civic Stadium. Nearly every day I drive to the Stadium—a place that holds community track meets, graduation celebrations, and lively concerts—yet…still, I freeze for a second as I glance at these homes that are overshadowed by Civic’s presence. As a community, we have enjoyed the space of Civic so much, without realizing the homeless that also take refuge in this space. My hope is that by examining this image, and how it juxtaposes the two spaces, our community will give this pressing inequity the attention it deserves. Actions need to be taken, because everyone deserves a home.

Action Statement: I can help this happen by engaging in homeless outreach programs, instead of pretending I don’t notice them. You can do this by calling attention to the homeless population and treating them like people, so that we all understand we need to find solutions around mental health & affordable housing.

Indigo blue panels with white flying birds printed in a circular pattern

Katazome Today: Migrations of a Japanese Art

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

Katazome Today presents contemporary visions of a unique and historically significant Japanese textile-dyeing process. Traditionally used for kimono dyeing, katazome involves the application of a rice-paste resist using special stencil papers with complex designs. Both the techniques of katazome, and those of the intricately hand carved stencil papers (katagami), have been passed down through generations of artisans over several centuries.

Although there is less demand for katazome products in Japan today, many artisans still practice it in its traditional form. The technique is increasingly gaining attention globally as contemporary artists explore katazome in new ways and see it as a form of artistic expression.

In this exhibition seven national and international artists share fresh perspectives on katazome through their current interpretations. They present a range of pictorial imagery, and non-traditional expressions such as large-scale installations and free-form painting techniques, relating katazome to themes of personal identity, shifting environments, and the globalization impacting the cultural landscapes of their home countries. The works preserve an endangered traditional technique while envisioning endless possibilities for dynamic cultural exchange.

Artists featured include Akemi Cohn (Illinois), Melinda Heal (Australia), Fumiyo Imafuku (Japan), Cheryl Lawrence (Washington), John Marshall (California), Yuken Teruya (Germany), and Mika Toba (Japan). Katazome Today is co-curated by Seiko A. Purdue, Professor in Fibers/Fabrics at Western Washington University and Amy Chaloupka, Curator of Art at the Whatcom Museum. A 48-page exhibition catalog highlights the artists’ work in depth and is available for purchase at the Museum Store. A print and digital version of our gallery guide is also available for more information.

Top image credit: Cheryl Lawrence; Snowstorm (diptych details), 2011. Katazome with indigo pigment on silk; 44 x 35 in. each panel. Courtesy of the artist.

vertical fabric artwork panels hanging on a long, gray wallAlso on display:

Daidai: Generation After Generation
Lightcatcher building Lighthall
Check out artworks created by Western Washington University’s Department of Art, ART360, Fibers & Fabrics class, led by Seiko A. Purdue. This collection of work is made using the traditional Japanese process of katazome and presented in the spirit of Daidai, a concept that expresses an appreciation for handing down valued techniques from generation to generation.

Support for Katazome Today is generously provided by Jean Andresen, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, the City of Bellingham, and Museum members. Funding for new work by Yuken Teruya is supported by Toshiaki Ogasawara Memorial Foundation, and for new work by Melinda Heal by artsACT project funding from the ACT Government. Additional support from a City of Bellingham Tourism Promotion Grant. Media sponsorship provided by Cascade Public Media KCTS-9.

Black circle logo with three black diamonds inside and the words Toshiaki Ogasawara Memorial Foundation to the rightCircle logo in black with a building and plant design and the words ECT Government to the right

Black and white photo of two men operating a series of wall dials and looking at gauges

There Was a Time: Whimsical Relics & Eclectic Images

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023

Old City Hall

The Whatcom Museum collects, safeguards, and makes accessible thousands of artifacts which we hold in trust for the community. But why keep this stuff? What do these artifacts tell us? The exhibition There Was a Time: Whimsical Relics & Eclectic Images will showcase a diversity of items from the Museum’s history collection and photo archives that rarely see the light of day. What these objects tell us about our shared sense of place, the past, and ultimately ourselves, is available for public interpretation. And it is a lot of fun!

Painting with blue, white, and black designs and paintings of a rabbit, owl, and ships on the left and red background paint with a painting of a deer sitting and an owl on its back to the right

Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art considers the diverse ways that contemporary artists employ animal imagery to address humanity’s interconnectedness and ever-changing relationship with the natural world. Comprising of approximately 50 artworks (c. 2000-2019) traveling exclusively from the permanent collection of the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY, this exhibition offers a wide range of works in a variety of media divided into four thematic sections: Tradition, Politics, Science, and Aesthetics. These sections act as overlapping chapters, investigating the ways we use animal imagery to tackle human concerns.

Un/Natural Selections is organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming and generously sponsored by Art Bridges. Additional support provided by Heritage Bank, Jean Andresen, a Pandemic Relief Grant from ArtsWA (sub-granted from the National Endowment for the Arts), the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham. This exhibition is presented in both Spanish and English.

Logo with a line drawing of a male elk and the words National Museum of Wildlife Art to the right of the drawing Graphic shape with triangles and cubes of red, orange, dark blue, and chartreuse designed into the shape of Washington state with the words ARTSWA in white overlaying and the words Washington State Arts Commission in blue underneath the shape

Black rectangle with the words National Endowment for the Arts, arts.gov in white and a red white and blue stripe underlining the words

 

 

 

Member Preview Reception
Fri., Sept. 9, 5 – 7pm; Lightcatcher building
Members, join us for our opening reception and enjoy wine, appetizers, and music while getting a sneak peek of this exhibition.

Featured image (above): Julie Buffalohead (Enrolled Member of the Ponca Tribe, United States, b. 1972); Six-Pack Colonialism, 2018; Oil on canvas; 29.25 × 82 in. Gift of the 2019 Blacktail Gala, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Julie Buffalohead. M2019.006


Selecciones Un/Natural: Arte Contemporáneo de Vida Silvestre compuesta exclusivamente de obras pertenecientes a la colección permanente del Museo Nacional de Arte de Vida Silvestre en Jackson, WY. Esta exposición ofrece una amplia variedad de obras en una diversidad de medios que se dividen en cuatro secciones temáticas: tradición, política, ciencia y estética. Estos campos actúan como capítulos superpuestos e investigan las maneras en que utilizamos la imaginería animal para afrontar preocupaciones humanas.

Selecciones Un/Natural fue organizado por el Museo Nacional de Arte de Vida Silvestre en Jackson, Wyoming y es generosamente patrocinado por Art Bridges, ArtsWA, Jean Andresen y Heritage Bank. La exhibición es presentado en español y ingles.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

El Museo Whatcom reconoce que nos reunimos en el territorio tradicional de las personas Lummi y Nooksack, que han vivido en la región de Coast Salish desde tiempos inmemoriales. El Museo honra nuestra relación con todos nuestros vecinos de Coast Salish y nuestras responsabilidades compartidas con su tierra natal donde todos residimos hoy.

Acrylic and oil pastel abstract painting of a man in a forest with a red sky

Andrea Joyce Heimer: Holy Mountain

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

Shown for the first time here at the Whatcom Museum, this group of autobiographical paintings by Andrea Joyce Heimer reflect on states of loneliness, both in herself and in others.

Over the course of the pandemic the artist spent many hours in nature—as much as she once did in childhood. Having grown up in Montana, she is familiar with land that stretches out in all directions under a big sky and where pine covered mountains skirt brutally desolate badlands.

The Montana landscape is omnipresent in her densely populated, story-filled paintings. Each mountain, stream, prairie, and butte is as much a character in the work as the human figures that teem within.

Now a resident in Washington, where the impenetrable terrain emits a different kind of claustrophobic loneliness, the ferns, moss, mushrooms, and trees of this place make their way into her work. A multitude of encounters and experiences unfold through the varied painted scenes, leaving Heimer, as she puts it, “both bigger and smaller, more lost and more found.”

Learn more about Heimer’s work from Nino Mier Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, or visit her website, www.andreajoyceheimer.com.

Tapestry print of crows flying in a delta

New to the Collection: Carl Chew

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

In conjunction with Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art, five new additions to the Whatcom Museum Collection by Seattle artist Carl Chew will be on display in the Lightcatcher building first floor hallway. Carl Chew has long studied the world through an absurdist lens. Known primarily for his “mail art” and collage, in 2019 the artist decided to apply his wild imagination to our regional landscape. The resulting imagery feels immediately familiar, and upon further inspection, also highly produced. The symmetry and cathedral-like compositions begin to become clearer. These works beg the question, how do we as humans respond to nature, understand nature, and organize it for our own spiritual and aesthetic consumption?

Digital art print of a scene of a grassy river delta with a tree stump and three crows

Carl Chew; Skagit Delta: Wetlands, 2019; Archival inkjet on paper, Gift of the Artist; Whatcom Museum Collection.

In Chew’s artist statement he says: Every April for 37 years my wife and I have taken a birdwatching walk along Wiley Slough, where the South Fork of the Skagit River enters Puget Sound. The glimmering wetlands there, rich with wildlife diversity, are for me a mystical place. In 2019 I wondered if an artist who had devoted most of his career to imaginative curiosity and humor could create a body of work worthy of the natural setting found in the Skagit Delta. Through the use of symmetry and layering of up to 20 mixed media images in each work, I felt I was able to penetrate into a realm where crows and landscape could share their secrets. And as I began to look at and share my new creations with others, I realized that those “secrets” had different and profound meanings for each viewer. The grand scale of the delta seemed to also demand artwork on a grand scale, so I decided to make some large tapestries. I located a weaver in North Carolina with a Jacquard loom controlled by a computer which could take my digital files directly and we began working together. The current result of this endeavor is four different tapestries and eleven prints.

Photo of band performing

The Scene: A Journey Through Bellingham’s Musical Past

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022

Old City Hall

From string bands on steamboats in the 1890s to alternative/indie rock bands today, for more than 100 years Bellingham’s music scene has embraced genres ranging from folk to classical to rock and roll and beyond. Located between the big cities of Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, Bellingham was and continues to be the sweet spot for performers both well-known and up-and-coming, where they can share their music with appreciative listeners in a more intimate environment. This exhibit presents a timeline of the styles, musicians, and venues that helped put Bellingham on the “music map.”

“Seattle — what? New York — who cares? It’s all about Bellingham. That period of a year or two, I never wanted this scene to fall apart. I wanted this to live forever, because it felt so organic and special.” —Ben Gibbard, lead vocalist and guitarist, Death Cab for Cutie, The Seattle Times article “It’s all about Bellingham: How stars Death Cab for Cutie and ODESZA got their starts locally,” May 11, 2019, by Michael Rietmulder

Creating a timeline of Bellingham’s Music History:

How do you take something so personal, vibrant, experiential, emotional, exhilarating, engaging, creative, and ethereal and tack it on a wall? That’s the challenge the Museum faced when trying to tell the story of Bellingham’s music scene. Through archival material, photographs, personal papers, oral histories, and more, curators added layers to the incredible stories that make up Bellingham’s musical history. Sandwiched between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., it makes sense that singers, musicians, bands, and other performers would want to make a stop in Bellingham along their tour routes. Through the decades, our community has been able to experience a variety of performers and musical styles, sparking interest and curiosity—from classical to blues, jazz to opera, and folk to rock. We hope this exhibit offers a brief, but entertaining overview of Bellingham’s rich musical history, and legacy.

 


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Top portion of a red sleeveless dress with text to the right in white and red that says Whatcom Community College and Whatcom Museum present The REDress Project. A white feather with a red trip is underneath the text.

REDress Project Honoring Indigenous Women and People

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022

Lightcatcher Building

The Whatcom Museum is hosting an art installation in partnership with Whatcom Community College to honor and remember Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People (MMIWP). Red dresses will be on display in the Lightcatcher Courtyard, representing the thousands of Native women, men, children, and non-binary people who go missing or are murdered each year.

The original “REDress Project” by artist and Métis Nation member Jaime Black began in Winnipeg in 2011 to draw attention to crime against Aboriginal women in Canada. The project has since spread to the US and calls attention to the lack of reporting, data, and justice for Native American women.

Join Lummi Victims of Crime on May 5, 2022 at noon for the annual MMIWP Memorial Walk at the Haxton/Kwina Roundabout (Lummi, WA 98226) in honor of missing or murdered local family members. Wear red to help raise awareness and show support to those struggling with the loss of a loved one.

The Memorial Walk will honor MMIWP from Lummi Nation: Carol Greene, Diana Humphreys-Ballew, Nancy Cook, Donald Cook, Lamar James, Melina Ghost, Essie Cagey, Ike Scarborough, Jessie Celestine, Darlene Celestine, Iva Smith, Lindsey Greene, Treston Jefferson, Andre Revey Jr., Valerie Jefferson, Casey Jo Tom, Arlene Keith, Tim Bowman, Michael Jordan, Kenneth Joseph, Joseph Cagey, Roberta George, Sophia Solomon, and Charlotte Solomon.

There is a lack of meaningful data collected on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Some studies have been conducted, including in Whatcom County. The information is heartbreaking and triggering.

  • Washington State was #2 in a study conducted by Urban Indian Health Institute.
  • Seattle was #1 in a study conducted by Urban Indian Health Institute.
  • Native women face murder rates 10 times above the national average. (wernative.org)
  • Nationally, 86% of sexual assaults against Native women are committed by non-Native men.
  • Native women are the only population that is most likely to experience sexual assault by people outside their racial or ethnic group.

Learn more about this issue by visiting the Urban Indian Health Institute website, www.uihi.org, and the National Indian Council on Aging website, nicoa.org.

Watch a video by the the National Museum of the American Indian featuring artist Jaime Black (Métis), who talks more about this project: The REDress Project at the National Museum of the American Indian – YouTube

Children of the Setting Sun produced a video as a prayer to missing and murdered Indigenous women. Produced in 2019 it features the West Shore Canoe Family, with a song composed by Antone George: The Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women – YouTube

In 2016, Canada’s unions staged a powerful performance with music by A Tribe Called Red, honoring missing and murdered Indigenous women: Performance for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women – YouTube

 

The REDress Installation is sponsored by Jair Furnas and organized jointly by Whatcom Community College Native staff and the Whatcom Museum.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Bonnie MacLean poster

Not One of the Boys: The Psychedelic Posters of Bonnie MacLean

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022

Old City Hall

Bonnie MacLean was just fine with designing handbills and taking tickets at her husband’s music venue, The Fillmore. But a falling out between husband Bill Graham and poster artist Wes Wilson plunged her into the psychedelic art world of San Francisco in the mid-1960s. It was MacLean who stepped in to create posters promoting the bands who would become iconic with the counterculture movement of the time. MacLean initially borrowed from the Art Nouveau style of Wilson, but soon developed her own designs, featuring elaborate plumes, curving letters, and stoic faces. While MacLean was not recognized among the “big five” Haight-Ashbury poster artists who came to be associated with the iconography of the counterculture scene – Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, and Rick Griffin – she stood out as one of the only women in the field. This exhibit pulls from the Museum’s incredible collection of psychedelic music posters from 1967.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Blurry black and white photo of a young Indigenous woman in the foreground looking at a large computer flat screen and another Indigenous woman holding a baby standing at a doorway looking into the room

Doorways: Photographs by Jac Trautman

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022

Lightcatcher Building

We are thrilled to bring back the photography of Seattle artist Jac Trautman, a member of the Duwamish Tribe. In 2021, Trautman presented a series of seven photographs taken as a single exposure with multiple projected images contained within. The works drew attention to the concepts of splitting and projection and their role in the history of interactions with the colonizer and the colonized. This spring Trautman will exhibit four new large-scale photographs in the Museum’s Lightcatcher entry hall.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Acrylic horizontal aspect painting of a silhouette of a soldier with binoculars looking through windows down to people around buildings in a Japanese American internment camp

Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022

Lightcatcher Building

Ideas about the American West, both in popular culture and in commonly accepted historical narratives, are often based on a past that never was, and fail to take into account important events that actually occurred. The exhibition Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea examines the perspectives of 48 modern and contemporary artists who offer a broader and more inclusive view of the West, which too often has been dominated by romanticized myths and Euro-American historical accounts.

This exhibition presents an opportunity to examine previous misconceptions, question racist clichés, and draw attention to the multiple communities and histories that continue to form this iconic region of the United States. Working in various media, from painting and sculpture to photography and mixed media, the artists featured bring a nuanced and multifaceted history into view. Many Wests highlights many voices, including artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian American, Latinx, and LGBTQ+, who stake a claim in the American West.

Central Themes

The exhibition is presented in both English and Spanish, and organized around three central themes, Caretakers, Memory Makers, and Boundary Breakers. “Caretakers” examines how artists can redefine what it means to take care of themselves, their communities, and their futures. Featured artists include Ka’ila Farrell-Smith (Klamath Modoc), Awa Tsireh/Alfonso Roybal (San Ildefonso Pueblo), Patrick Nagatani, and Marie Watt (Seneca).

“Memory Makers” explores how artists act as transmitters of cultural memory as they bring forth neglected histories of the West through their work, and includes artists Jacob Lawrence, Roger Shimomura, Christina Fernandez, and others.

“Boundary Breakers” includes artists whose representations break away from myths of the West and assert their continued presence despite centuries of omission and erasure by mainstream culture. Featured artists include Angela Ellsworth, Raphael Montañez Ortiz (Apsáalooke/Crow), and Angel Rodríguez-Díaz.


Rip, Write, Reflect.
Community Art Experience

Ongoing through Exhibition in the Lightcatcher first floor hallway

Auburn-based artist Marita Dingus initiated a new art piece related to the exhibition for a community art experience called, “Rip, Write, Reflect.” Using found and repurposed materials, Dingus constructed a mixed-media wall tapestry. Visitors are invited to add their thoughts through words or drawings on torn map pieces, responding to a prompt about the West. Watch this video to learn more about this project, which is generously supported by Art Bridges.

Multi-Institutional Partnership

Many Wests is organized jointly by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and four nationally accredited art museums located in some of the fastest growing cities and states in the western region of the United States. It is the culmination of a five-year exhibition partnership made possible by the Art Bridges Foundation. The partner museums are the Boise Art Museum in Idaho; the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, Oregon; the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City; and the Whatcom Museum. E. Carmen Ramos, acting chief curator and curator of Latinx art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum has led the collaborative curatorial effort.

Many Wests features artwork drawn from the permanent collections of all five collaborating museums and the exhibition will be presented at all five venues. The multi-city national tour began at the Boise Art Museum (July 31 to Feb. 13, 2022). It travels to the Whatcom Museum (March 19 to Aug. 21, 2022), the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (Sept. 26 to Dec. 31, 2022), and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Feb. 4 to June 11, 2023). The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, will be the final stop on the tour, where the exhibition will be on view from July 28, 2023 to Jan. 14, 2024. Learn more about this exhibition from the Smithsonian Voices blog or read a review from Essential West Magazine.

Support Provided By:

This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Smithsonian American Art Museum as part of the Art Bridges Initiative.

The Whatcom Museum presentation of Many Wests is sponsored by Peoples Bank and Rafeeka & Neal Kloke. Additional support is provided in part by a Pandemic Relief Grant from ArtsWA (sub-granted from the National Endowment for the Arts), the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham. Media support funded through a City of Bellingham Tourism Promotion Grant. Generous support for the youth docent program and Marita Dingus’s community art installation is provided by Art Bridges.

Logos of black letters saying Art Bridges with a blue arch above the t and B followed by a plus sign followed by blue letters SAAM and Smithsonian American Art Museum spelled to the right of the lettersGraphic shape with triangles and cubes of red, orange, dark blue, and chartreuse designed into the shape of Washington state with the words ARTSWA in white overlaying and the words Washington State Arts Commission in blue underneath the shapeBlack rectangle with the words National Endowment for the Arts, arts.gov in white and a red white and blue stripe underlining the words

 

 

 


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Black and white photo of a building on fire with smoke rising and a hillside with homes around it

The Fairhaven Hotel

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022

Old City Hall

Exhibition Extended!
Curated by Jeff Jewell, Historian and Photo Archivist

In 1890, the Fairhaven Hotel embodied the posh sophistication that the booming City of Fairhaven eagerly wished to project. This was what the rising metropolis would look like! Yet, with the collapse of the economy in 1893, the hotel soon symbolized Fairhaven’s failed dreams, and worse, false promises. Modernization efforts eventually stripped away its whimsical charm, rendering it a no-nonsense “business block.” Historical photographs follow the hotel from glorious beginning to smoldering ruin, displayed in Old City Hall along with surviving hotel treasures curated from the Museum’s collection.


Fairhaven Hotel: Anecdotes from the Archivist
Sunday, March 6, 1pm and Fridays, April 7, 14, 21, & 28, 4–5pm | Old City Hall
Included with admission/members free

Join Photo Archivist Jeff Jewell for a discussion and tour of The Fairhaven Hotel exhibit at Old City Hall. Learn the history of one of Fairhaven’s most renowned buildings. Each tour lasts 45 minutes and is limited to 10 people per tour. Pre-registration is encouraged.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Artists x Artists

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022

Old City Hall

Curated by Amy Chaloupka, Curator of Art

This exhibition explores intimate portraits of artists by artists. Some artists turn the camera on themselves or depict dear friends and colleagues in their work. Many artists are situated within their creative spaces or appear with the familiar tools of their trade. Artists x Artists draws from the Museum’s permanent collection and presents a variety of expressive gazes, each one giving hints toward the ways artists convey and construct the creative persona of the artist.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Series of four silver images of human facial profiles on a black background

Up Close & Personal: The Body in Contemporary Art

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022

Lightcatcher Building

Curated by Amy Chaloupka from the Collection of Driek and Michael Zirinsky

The extended isolation of the pandemic has undeniably affected our collective consciousness, especially our heightened awareness of the body and its vulnerabilities.

Sharing life “in person” once again is a celebratory moment, but also cause for self-reflection. How will we wish to operate moving forward within our own bodies, and also in caring for and considering the bodies of others?

The exhibition Up Close & Personal examines the human body through the expressive lens of 60 artists. Some explore the many ways we communicate with one another—through facial expression, body language, self-presentation, and performance. Others boldly envision narratives and representations of the self through the use of their own bodies in their work. Artists are acutely aware that all bodies reside at the dynamic intersection of gender, class, race, sexuality, age, and ability. These compelling portrayals of the figure are situated at these crossroads of identity and point toward countless possibilities for human connection and understanding.

Up Close & Personal is generously presented from the renowned collection of Driek and Michael Zirinsky. The dynamic selection of work, expressing a range of processes and ideas, allows visitors to get up close and personal with the mindset of the artists as represented in the selections of these lifelong collectors of art.

This exhibition is supported in part by Heritage Bank, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham. Media sponsorship provided by Cascade Public Media KCTS 9.

To complement the exhibition, the Museum will host a companion exhibit at Old City Hall, Artists x Artists, that explores intimate portraits of artists by artists. The exhibition, on display Nov. 20, 2021 – April 10, 2022, draws from the Museum’s permanent collection and presents a variety of expressive gazes, each one giving hints toward the ways artists convey and construct the creative persona of the artist.

Featured Image credit: Samantha Wall; Dark Matter (Universal Body 1, 2, 3 and 4), 2016; Two-color lithographs (silver over black) on Arches 88 white collaborative Master Printer Frank Janzen; 30 x 22 inches each (unframed). Images courtesy of Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts.

 


Docent Tours

Saturday, February 5, 1pm
Thursday, February 10, 1pm
Thursday, February 24, 1pm

Take a docent-guided tour of Up Close & Personal to gain in-depth insights and knowledge about some of the 60 artists featured. Their works offer compelling portrayals of the figure and point toward countless possibilities for identity, human connection, and understanding. Docents will discuss the techniques and processes utilized by artists, focusing on specific works in the exhibition. Each tour can accommodate 8 people, begins in the lobby of the Lightcatcher, and lasts one hour. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, but walk-in visitors will be accommodated as space allows. Included with admission/Members free.

Curator Tours

Fridays, Dec. 10, Jan. 14, and Feb. 11, 1pm
Included with admission/Free to members

We’re excited to offer in-person curator tours of Up Close & Personal. Learn more about the artists and artwork featured in this stunning exhibition from the Museum’s Curator of Art, Amy Chaloupka, who organized this exhibition from the renowned collection of Driek and Michael Zirinsky. Tours last one hour and will be limited to eight people per tour. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, but walk-in visitors will be accommodated as space allows. Participants will need to wear face coverings while visiting the Museum and participating in the tour.


Artists featured in Up Close & Personal:

Magdalena Abakanowicz (Poland, 1930-2017), David Airhart (American, b. 1953), Paolo Arao (Filipino, b. 1977), Natalie Ball (Klamath/Modoc, b. 1980), Algis Balsys (b. 1948), Joe F. Brubaker (American, b. 1948), Lordan Bunch (American, born 1967), Mark Calderon (American, b. 1955), Phillip John Charette (Yup’ik, b. 1962), Long-Bin Chen (Taiwanese, b. 1964), Drew Daly (American,, b. 1973), Noah Davis (American, 1983–2015), Lesley Dill (American, b. 1950), Jane Dixon (British, b. 1963), Olafur Eliasson (Danish-Icelandic, b. 1967), Vernon Fisher (American, b. 1943), Till Freiwald (German, born Peru, 1963), John Grade (American, b. 1970), Lee M. Hale (American, b. 1958), Jane Hammond (American, b. 1950), Markus Hansen (German, b. 1963), Judy Hill (American, b. 1953), Susan Hiller (American, 1940–2019), Hosup Hwang (Korean, b. 1955), Titus Kaphar (American, b. 1976), William Kentridge (South African, b.1955), Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867–1945), Marianne Kolb (Swiss, b. 1958), Cynthia Lahti (Polish, b. 1963), Isaac Layman (American, b. 1977), Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnamese, b, 1968), Susie J. Lee (American, b. 1972), Kalup Linzy (American b. 1977), Hung Liu (American, born China, 1948–2021), Beth Lo (American, b. 1949), Robert Longo (American, b. 1953), Benoît Lorent (Belgian), Marilyn Lysohir (American, b. 1950), Robert Ernst Marx (American, born Germany, 1925–2020), Steven Miller (American, b. 1968), Brian Murphy (American, b. 1970), Scott Myles (Scottish, b. 1975), Ronna Neuenschwander (American, b. 1954), Bertjan Pot (Dutch, b. 1975), Julia Randall (American, b. 1968), Wendy Red Star (Crow/Apsáalooke, b. 1981), Jena Scott (American, b. 1967), Paul Shambroom (American, b. 1956), Roger Shimomura (American, b. 1939), Lucy Skaer (British, b. 1975), Kiki Smith (American, born Germany, 1954), Akio Takamori (Japanese and American, 1950–2017), Lena Takamori (American, b. 1990), Josephine Taylor (American, b. 1977), Storm Tharp (American, b. 1970), Terry Turrell (American, b. 1946), Friese Undine (American, b. 1965), Samantha Wall (American, born Korea, 1977), Kumi Yamashita (Japanese, b. 1968), Wanxin Zhang (Chinese, b. 1961)


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

El Zodíaco Familiar

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021

Lightcatcher Building

Exhibition by George Rodriguez

Ceramic artist and sculptor George Rodriguez embarks on a collaborative iteration of the Chinese Zodiac. In an homage to its origins in Chinese folklore, Rodriguez has reimagined the classic zodiac animals as analogous creatures of Mexican origin, bridging cultures and creating new narratives.

El Zodíaco Familiar—the fifth iteration of Rodriguez’s Mexican Zodiac series—invites 13 Mexican and ChicanX/Chicane artists of various artistic disciplines to respond to Rodriguez’s animal sculptures with the forms, tools, and aesthetics of their own artistic practices. Each artist has imbued their collaboratively-imagined sculpture, corresponding to the zodiac animal of their birth year, with personal perspective, folk tradition, and an intimate feeling of celebration. While each sculpture is as distinct as its maker, taken together, the twelve pieces vibrate with deep resonances of the familiar.

The Participating Artists and their zodiacs:
Moises SalazarChapulín
Marilyn MontufarToro
Alejandra Carrillo-EstradaJaguar
Samirah SteinmeyerCacomixtle
Yosimar ReyesQuetzalcoatl
Eric J. GarciaIguana
Christie TiradoBurro
Carolina JiménezVenado Azul
Gabriela Ramírez MichelMono
Jon Gómez y Javier BarbozaÁguila
Gabriel MarquezChihuahua
Gustavo MartinezCabra

Also on display are several of Rodriguez’s guardian figures that demonstrate the artist’s ongoing exploration of community, culture, identity, and ornamentation.

Rodriguez was featured in the 12th season of Craft in America. Watch the episode here.

This exhibition is supported in part by the Whatcom Museum Foundation, the City of Bellingham, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Media sponsorship provided by KCTS 9, a service of Cascade Public Media.

The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Painting of four chickens

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour 2021 Showcase

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021

Old City Hall

This year marks the return of the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour Showcase to Old City Hall. See a selection of artworks from several participating Studio Tour artists. Each year the two-weekend event offers visitors insight into the creative processes and work lives of nearly 40 artists in a self-guided tour throughout the county. To learn more, visit the Studio Tour website.

On Friday, Sept. 3, some of the participating artists will be at Old City Hall to kick-off the exhibition during the Downtown Art Walk. Learn more about the Art Walk here.

Featured image: Karen Theusen; Chicken Bus Stop; Acrylic on canvas.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Blue and neon green squiggle designs on a detail of a blown glass bowl.

Fluid Formations: The Legacy of Glass in the Pacific Northwest

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021

Lightcatcher Building

Organized by Amy Chaloupka, Whatcom Museum Curator of Art

Celebrating a rich legacy unique to our region, Fluid Formations features the art of fifty-seven contemporary artists working in glass.

The Pacific Northwest is the epicenter of glass, spurred by the establishment of Pilchuck Glass School on a remote tree farm in Stanwood, Washington in 1971. Fifty years later, the region’s glass community has expanded significantly, defined by shared knowledge, teamwork, and an experimental spirit.

Drawing from the Museum’s permanent collection, loans from artists, and working in close partnership with Museum of Glass (Tacoma, Wash.), Fluid Formations celebrates the innovation and striking range of processes and ideas that could only come from decades of generous exchange and shared passion for the material of glass. Check out the Gallery Guide to see the variation of works that were featured in this exhibition.

Also on exhibit:

Kids Design Glass is a longstanding program that Museum of Glass has hosted since 2002 where kids aged 12 and under can submit their creative drawings to be transformed into glass sculptures. The Whatcom Museum has several of these kid-designed glass artworks located throughout our campus, including Green Guy, designed by Duncan Noah (age 11) and made by Museum of Glass Hot Shop team members. Come search our buildings and galleries to find all seven!


Gallery Tours with Curator of Art Amy Chaloupka

Thursdays, May 20 (only 12:15pm), June 24, July 22, Aug. 26, Sept. 16, and Oct. 7, 12:15pm and 2pm

Included with admission/Free to members

We’re excited to offer in-person curator tours of Fluid Formations. Learn more about the artists and artwork featured in this stunning exhibition from the Museum’s Curator of Art, Amy Chaloupka, who organized this exhibition in partnership with Museum of Glass, galleries, and individual artists. Tours last one hour, will be limited to six people per tour, and require pre-registration. Participants will need to wear face coverings while visiting the Museum and participating in the tour.


Docent-Led Tours

Thursdays, July 8 (canceled) & 29, Aug. 5, 12, & 19, Sept. 2, 9, 23, & 30 at 1pm

Saturdays, Sept. 4, 11, 18 & 25 and Oct. 2 & 9 at 1pm

Included with admission/Free to members

Discover the artists and artwork featured in this exhibition, which celebrates the rich legacy of glass art in our region. Our docents will provide insight into the techniques and processes utilized by artists, focusing on specific works in the exhibition. Tours last one hour.


Artists Featured in Fluid Formations:

Rik Allen, Shelley Muzylowski Allen, Bennett Battaile, Ben Beres, Jeremy Bert, Sonja Blomdahl, Nancy Callan, Ned Cantrell, Sydney Cash, Doris Chase, Dale Chihuly, Benjamin Cobb, Norman Courtney, Amber Cowan, Max Cregar, Erik Demaine, Martin Demaine, Jen Elek, Dan Friday, Ann Gardner, Sarah Gilbert, Suzanne Head, Mildred Howard, Jasen Johnsen, Karen Willendbrink-Johnsen, Claire Kelly, Joey Kirkpatrick, Sabrina Knowles, Walter Lieberman, Beth Lipman, Flora C. Mace, Dante Marioni, Paul Marioni, Richard Marquis, Benjamin Moore, William Morris, Richard Notkin, Kelly O’Dell, Marvin Oliver, Deborah Oropallo, Jenny Pohlman, Kait Rhoads, Joseph Gregory Rossano, Richard Royal, Ginny Ruffner, Preston Singletary, Raven Skyriver, Ethan Stern, April Surgent, Lino Tagliapietra, Cappy Thompson, Oiva Toikka, Norwood Viviano, Randy Walker, Dick Weiss, Erich Woll, Ellen Ziegler

Reciprocal membership with Museum of Glass (Tacoma, WA)

In honor of this exhibition, Museum of Glass and the Whatcom Museum are offering reciprocal membership benefits for free entry. Museum of Glass members can receive free admission to the Whatcom Museum and 10% off purchases at the Museum Store by presenting a current Museum of Glass membership card at the front admission desks. Whatcom Museum members can receive free entry to Museum of Glass by showing their membership card at the admission desks. For more info about Museum of Glass hours of operation, please visit their website.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

The Whatcom Museum is offering free admission to the Lightcatcher building to Indigenous Peoples upon request at the attendant desk inside the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St.

This exhibition is organized in partnership with Museum of Glass and is supported in part by Peoples Bank, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, the City of Bellingham, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Media sponsorship provided by Cascade Public Media KCTS9.

Red cylinder with a black dot at the top and the words Museum of Glass

All is Not Lost

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022

Old City Hall

Hundreds of glass negatives have been donated to the Whatcom Museum, often arriving in a damaged condition after decades of poor storage and rough handling. The pictures in this exhibition are deliberately featured with their accumulation of scratches, cracks, lost corners, mold stains, and water damage. Though marred, time ravaged negatives can still render images of historical significance.

We are bringing this exhibit back, but to Old City Hall, for another opportunity to enjoy and appreciate these unique images

Featured image: Wading in at Squalicum Beach, Bellingham Bay, c. 1910. Photo by J.W. Sandison, Whatcom Museum 1996.10.14494


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

white, gold, brown, and white historic heeled shoes with beads and lace

All Dressed Up

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021

Old City Hall

Curated by Maria Coltharp, Collections Curator

When one thinks about the Whatcom Museum collections, many things may come to mind: The John M. Edson Hall of Birds, the contemporary masterpieces in the art collection, the Photo Archives, or the treasures in the history collection. Perhaps lesser known is the incredible clothing collection that includes examples of historic garments spanning from the 1800s through the mid-20th century.

Historic clothing has the ability to transport people to a different time or place, to sense that these items were worn by real people, and to imagine oneself in their midst. All Dressed Up… highlights some of the more colorful examples of artistry as fashion in the Museum’s collection. The exhibit showcases items of clothing that would have been worn “out on the town,” such as a stunning blue striped silk dress with off-white satin banding from the 1910s and the dramatic 1928 lavender full-length chiffon gown worn by the artist Helen Loggie.

An array of vintage designer evening shoes will also be on display, as well as an assortment of antique fashion accessories. Allow yourself to be immersed in the styles and color palettes of the past century and to contemplate the significance of getting “all dressed up” for an occasion, for company, or just for oneself.

Collections Curator Maria Coltharp offers a quick overview and tour of some of the garments in this exhibition. Watch the video!

Support for collections photography provided by Art Bridges Bridge Ahead Initiative.

 

Detail shot of dress with lace

Silk for Suffragettes and Schoolchildren: The Impact of Kimono on European and American Design Practices, c. 1890-1980

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021

Old City Hall

Curated by Julia Sapin, Ph.D., Professor of Art History, Western Washington University

Americans and Europeans were crazy for kimono, and garments based on kimono, beginning in mid-nineteenth century, including fashionistas in Whatcom County. This exhibition focuses on kimono-inspired objects that have come into the Whatcom Museum’s collection over the last fifty years.

Primarily from Bellingham community members, this collection shows their strong interest in this fashion trend. These textile creations reveal American designers’ ingenuity in adapting aspects of the kimono for Western use. They also show the savvy of Japanese designers in anticipating Western demand and creating clothing designed to suit American and European lifestyles.

From a child’s pink crepe robe to an evening gown with “kimono” sleeves, these garments offer us a glimpse of this fashion frenzy, and the various ways in which it translated into novel patterns of wear in our very own community.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Celebrating our Matriarchs

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021

Virtual

This virtual exhibition is part of our collaborative Community Photo Project tied to Matika Wilbur’s exhibition Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Stories of Native American Women.

We all know women who have inspired and influenced us, taught us, raised and cared for us, mentored and encouraged us to become better people. From the past to our shared present, matriarchal figures have an enduring importance. 

As part of the project, we invited community members to share a photo of a matriarch important to them. Submissions were accepted during March and are now displayed below. We’re excited to share these photographs with you, along with words from the photographers. 

Do you see your photo and would like to add more information? Contact us at info@whatcommuseum.org.

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Female identified person with a black shirt and a white and blue skirt wearing a woven headband and standing near a body of water

Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Stories of Native American Women

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021

Lightcatcher Building

Exhibition by Matika Wilbur

In 2012, critically acclaimed photographer and social documentarian Matika Wilbur (Tulalip & Swinomish) sold her belongings and set out on the road to launch Project 562, a crowd-funded initiative to visit, engage, and photograph people from 562+ sovereign Tribal Nations in the United States.

Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Stories of Native American Women features 28 photographs of Native American women, along with interviews, written narratives, and a compelling sound-scape of voices and original music. Wilbur has selected the striking photographs from among the thousands of portraits she has taken in recent years, including a new special selection from local Tribes. Elders, activists, educators, culture-bearers, artists, and students have shared with Wilbur their realities as Native women to convey how ancestral and contemporary identities shape their hopes and dreams.

As Wilbur explains, “I believe the viewers will experience great insight and connection with these remarkable women, just as they have enlightened and inspired me. Native women are traditionally the stewards of the vital relationship with land, and have remained principal advocates for Mother Earth, from fracking protests to upholding vital matrilineal values. By sharing the astonishing variety of the Indigenous presence and understanding, we will build cultural bridges, abandon stereotypes, and renew and inspire our national legacy.”

Black numbers 562 with gray whale fin, red circle, and turquoise semi-circleAbout Matika Wilbur
Matika Wilbur, one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading photographers, has exhibited extensively in regional, national, and international venues such as the Seattle Art Museum, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, The Tacoma Art Museum, the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France. She studied photography at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Montana and received a bachelor’s degree from Brooks Institute of Photography in California. Her work led her to becoming a certified teacher at Tulalip Heritage High School, providing inspiration for the youth of her own Indigenous community. Wilbur, an Indigenous woman belonging to Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes, is unique as an artist and social documentarian in Indian Country—the insight, depth, and passion with which she explores the contemporary Native identity and experience are communicated through the impeccable artistry of each of her silver gelatin photographs. Her collection of photographs and narratives from Project 562 is soon to be published by Ten Speed Press/Random House. Learn more about Matika at www.matikawilbur.com, Project 562 at www.project562.com, or check out her Instagram account. Wilbur is also the co-host of the podcast, All My Relations.

Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Stories of Native American Women, was originally shown at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. The Whatcom Museum’s showing of the exhibition is presented by the Lhaq’temish Foundation, Lummi Nation, with additional support from Jean Andresen, Rafeeka & Neal Kloke, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, the City of Bellingham, and Grantmakers for Girls of Color.


Community Photo Project: Celebrating Our Matriarchs

Matriarchy is a social system in which women hold power—politically, morally, socially, and economically. A matriarch shapes family, holds community, and makes space for inclusion. Before colonization, Pacific Northwest peoples thrived for millennia in matriarchal social systems. Many Indigenous scholars and activists are calling for rematriation in Tribal nations. But what does that look like? In Matika Wilbur’s exhibition, rematriation is unpacked. In honor of her exhibition, the Museum hosted a community photo project inviting people to submit an image that celebrates a matriarchal figure in their life. See the stunning photographs submit to this virtual exhibition.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

The Whatcom Museum is offering free admission to the Lightcatcher building to Indigenous Peoples upon request at the attendant desk inside the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St.

Photography by Jac Trautman

Jac Trautman: The Specter of the Young and Indigenous

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021

Lightcatcher Building

Jac Trautman is a photographer and artist from Seattle and a member of the Duwamish tribe. With this series of seven photographs, Trautman takes a single exposure with multiple projected images contained within and draws attention to the concepts of splitting and projection and their role in the history of interactions with the colonizer and the colonized. The photographs are installed as window vinyls in the Lightcatcher Courtyard.

The subjects of his photographs are tribal youth of the Lummi Nation who collaborate with Children of the Setting Sun Productions to create the Young and Indigenous podcast. The podcast is a forum for the Lummi community to express their opinions, voice ideas and concerns, and share untold stories important to Native people.

The podcast is also for people outside of Indigenous communities who would like to learn more about the issues important to Native people. Trautman folds the ideals of the podcast into visual form in his layered images. While critiquing the systems and conventions of settler-colonialism, he also presents intimate portrait studies of empowered Indigenous youth who, through contemporary technologies, share stories, languages, and landscapes that resist colonial definitions.

The Whatcom Museum is offering free admission to the Lightcatcher building* to Indigenous Peoples upon request at the attendant desk inside the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St. *excluding the Family Interactive Gallery (FIG).

Main image: Photo by Jac Trautman. Eliza Julius at the Wex’liem (Frog House), Lummi Nation, Bellingham, Washington. Courtesy of the artist.

1968: The Year That Rocked Washington

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021

Old City Hall

The year was 1968. Change was in the air. Everywhere. From Saigon to Seattle, Paris to Pasco. On college campuses, the campaign trail and evergreen peaks, Washingtonians were spurred to action. Legacy Washington looks back at 1968 and its impact on Washington state through the stories of some remarkable people who lived through it. On college campuses, the campaign trail and evergreen peaks, Washingtonians were spurred to action. Above all, 1968 showed the power of an individual to make a difference.

Whether it was Ralph Munro fighting for the rights of people with disabilities, Polly Dyer protecting natural treasures with cheerful tenacity, Maxine Mimms striving to improve educational opportunities for African-Americans, or the valor of Green Beret Sgt. Bryon Loucks deep in the jungles of Vietnam, these Washingtonians came from very different backgrounds. But they had one trait in common: the courage of their convictions.

Legacy Washington is an educational program of the Office of the Secretary of State, documenting extraordinary stories in Washington history.

Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021

Old City Hall

The story of women’s suffrage is a story of voting rights, of inclusion in and exclusion from the franchise, and of our civic development as a nation. In 2020, the Smithsonian celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment with Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence. This dynamic poster exhibition explores the complexity of the women’s suffrage movement and the relevance of this history to Americans’ lives today.

This exhibition is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery. This project received support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.

 

 

Lotus Eaters painting by Fay Jones

Anatomy of a Collection: Recent Acquisitions and Promised Gifts

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021

Lightcatcher Building

Curated by Amy Chaloupka, Curator of Art

To mark ten years since the Lightcatcher building’s construction, the Whatcom Museum celebrates the works of art welcomed into the permanent collection during this time. We also acknowledge the long-standing relationships with area artists and patrons who have helped to shape and expand the collection through gifts of art. Their generous contributions support the Museum’s mission to stimulate inquiry about our changing cultural, natural, and historical landscapes by diversifying our exhibition and education programming.

Anatomy of a Collection also reflects the Museum’s goals to extend into new areas of collecting, centered around expanding conversations and interests of today’s audiences. Many acquisitions focus on under-represented artists with a multiplicity of perspectives, variety of themes, and diverse media. Additionally, the exhibition provides a unique look at the internal workings of museum collecting practices, making this process transparent to the community. The Museum values the idea that the artworks preserved in its buildings are held in public trust and serve as important visual connection points for education, critical analysis, preservation of culture, and storytelling.

Many recent acquisitions and promised gifts expand existing holdings of significant works by artists of the Pacific Northwest including works by Wendell Brazeau, Susan Bennerstrom, Mary Henry, Clayton James, Mark Tobey, and more. Other acquisitions are tied to important solo exhibitions hosted by the Museum that delve deep into an artist’s practice and career, such as Ed Bereal, John Cole, John Grade, and Lesley Dill. More than seventy works will be on view, many for the first time at the Museum.

Funding for this exhibition has been provided by the Whatcom Museum Foundation, the Museum Advocates, the City of Bellingham, and Mary Summerfield & Mike O’Neal. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) with additional support provided by Humanities Washington and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan of 2020.

Featured image: Fay Jones; Lotus-Eaters, 1993; Aquatint; 31.5 x 43 in. Gift of the Washington Art Consortium through gift of Safeco Insurance, a member of the Liberty Mutual Group.

 

Learn more from Amy Chaloupka, Curator of Art, about works in this exhibition that were a Gift of the Washington Art Consortium through a gift of Safeco Insurance, a member of the Liberty Mutual Group.

 

Get more insight into artist Lesley Dill’s art installation, Shimmer, which is featured in this exhibition.

 

Watch a series of collection highlights offering insight into specific artworks and artists. These short videos are written and narrated by Museum docents and reflect their interpretations of the works.

 

Painting of the sea with sky and waves

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour 2020 Virtual Showcase

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020

Old City Hall

For the past several years, the Museum has helped celebrate Whatcom County artists by providing a showcase of select artworks by those participating in the annual Whatcom Artist Studio Tour (WAST). This year, we are sharing this artistry through a virtual showcase, rather than in our Old City Hall galleries.

WAST was founded in 1995, with 10 artists participating, to bring the public into artists’ working studios for a two weekend self-guided tour and sale. Over its 25 year history, that number has grown to upwards of 40 artists, with sometimes more than 30 participating studios. The Studio Tour offers visitors insight into the creative process, work life, and work environment of area artists.

While a bit different this year, the Studio Tour will still have participating artists working in a variety of mediums — clay, painting, mixed media, photography, sculpted glass, and more. Artists will open their studios by appointment only from October 3 through 17, and all visitors must wear masks and maintain social distancing guidelines. New for this year on the WAST website will be a virtual photo gallery of artists in their studios. Visit the WAST website for more information about this year’s tour and guidelines and to see more works by our Whatcom artists.

Generous support for this virtual project provided by Art Bridges.

Click on an image below to enlarge it.

 

Art of United States

Conversations Between Collections: The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Whatcom Museum

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021

Lightcatcher Building

The Whatcom Museum is pleased to kick off a five-year exhibition partnership with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, as we present three masterworks from one of the nation’s most treasured collections of American art. Made possible through the support of Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art, two exhibitions titled Conversations Between Collections highlight the three works on view from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in conversation with works from the Whatcom Museum’s permanent collection.

Fritz Scholder’s Indian and Contemporary Chair (1970) and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s State Names (2000) upend traditional narratives and romanticized portrayals of Native Americans. These two works offer new insights while in dialogue with the Museum’s People of the Sea and Cedar exhibition, which explores the vibrant living history, culture, and art of regional Coast Salish tribes. The two masterworks present themes of identity and power dynamics in the American West and prompt examination and critique of dominant narratives.

The Coast of Genoa (1854), by Hudson River School painter Jasper Francis Cropsey, is featured alongside landscapes from prominent Northwest artists including works by Richard Gilkey, Nell Bradshaw, and Victoria Adams. With the intent to stimulate discussion between what is familiar and what is foreign in a landscape, visitors can observe and share how elements of each work denote place and, specifically, our place within the Pacific Northwest, and how the landscapes we love are deeply rooted to a sense of self.

All three outstanding works on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum allow for fresh perspectives around investigations of place and identity that emphasize the preservation and celebration of storytelling.

This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Smithsonian American Art Museum as part of the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative. For more information about this five-year collaborative project, visit americanart.si.edu/about/american-west-consortium

AB + TF logo

Conversations Between Collections is generously sponsored by Peoples Bank, with additional support from Heritage Bank.

The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

 

 

Take a virtual gallery tour with Curator of Art Amy Chaloupka. These video tours are presented in two parts. The first focuses on the work of Jasper Francis Cropsey among highlighted Museum collection pieces. The second looks at the works of Fritz Scholder and Jaune Quick-To-See Smith in the People of the Sea and Cedar Gallery.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Shimizu. Manzanar Relocation Center, 1943

Two Views: Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020

Old City Hall

Two countries – two photographers. This compelling collection of photographs presents two views of internment and incarceration in the early 1940s.

The 1942 incarceration of people of Japanese descent in the United States and Canada following the bombing of Pearl Harbor is portrayed through this stunning collection of black and white photographs. Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank document the conditions and experiences of the Manzanar camp in California, and the camps and beet farms in Alberta, where coastal British Columbia residents were forcibly moved.

The experiences in the U.S. and Canada had many similarities, and also many differences. Ansel Adams took a personal and intimate approach to illustrate the vitality and fortitude of the people. In contrast, Leonard Frank’s photographs are a clinical documentation of the government process.

This collection of more than 60 photographs provides an opportunity to reflect on the nature of forced separation and uprooting that directly impacted our coastal region. Two Views is organized by the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Nikkei logo

 

 

Suitcase and car

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020

Old City Hall

Righting a Wrong poster exhibition traces the story of Japanese national and Japanese American incarceration during World War II and the people who survived it. Young and old lived crowded together in hastily built camps, endured poor living conditions, and were under the constant watch of military guards for two and a half years. Meanwhile, brave Japanese American men risked their lives fighting for the United States. Some 40 years later, members of the Japanese American community led the nation to confront the wrong it had done—and urged Congress to make it right. Based on an original exhibition at the National Museum of American History, the Righting a Wrong poster exhibition centers around eight core questions that encourage viewers to engage in a dialogue about how this happened and could it happen again. Embracing themes that are as relevant today as they were 75 years ago, the poster exhibition brings forth themes of identity, immigration, prejudice, civil rights, courage, and what it means to be an American.

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II was developed by the National Museum of American History and adapted by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The traveling exhibition and poster exhibition are supported by a grant from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Terasaki Family Foundation, and C. L. Ehn & Ginger Lew.

Image credits: Left: Watanabe family suitcase, Minidoka camp in Idaho. Courtesy of National Museum of American History. Right: The Masuda family, owners of the Wanto Grocery in Oakland, California, proclaimed that they were American, even as they were forced to sell their business before they were incarcerated in August 1942. Dorothea Lange, Courtesy of National Archives.

SITES logo

Sonia Delaunay, Abstract Composition with Semicircles

Geometry and Color: Sonia Delaunay and Bellingham Public School Students

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021

Virtual

Sonia Delaunay, Abstract Composition with Semicircles

Sonia Delaunay, Abstract Composition with Semicircles, 1970; Color aquatint; 28 x 22 in. Edition 9/125. Collection of the Whatcom Museum, Gift of George and Pearl Yewell.

As part of their distance learning materials, local students were asked to make artwork in the style of influential, Paris-based artists Robert and Sonia Delaunay. While the Delaunays’ works have been displayed in exhibitions at museums around the world, it turns out that Sonia Delaunay’s work can be found closer to home.

The Whatcom Museum holds a Sonia Delaunay print entitled Abstract Composition with Semicircles in its permanent collection. May is Youth Art Month for Bellingham Public Schools and (virtual) Children’s Art Walk.

In the spirit of celebrating youth art, we are pleased to virtually display this piece in conjunction with the art of local students inspired by the Delaunays’ work, and are thrilled to see how their art is influencing young artists today!

Sonia (Terk) Delaunay (1885-1979), born Sara Stern in Ukraine, was a Paris-based artist who worked alongside her French husband Robert Delaunay (1885-1941). As a couple, they explored color theory and pioneered the modernist art movement Orphism. The Delaunays were central figures in Paris’’’s early twentieth century avant-garde circles, and they influenced the work of many of their artist-friends, including colorists Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee.

Black and white photo of Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay wearing Casa Sonia creations, Madrid, c.1918-20. Public Domain. Created: circa 1918.

Melding aspects of Cubism and Fauvism, the Delaunays’ abstract Orphist works are characterized by interconnected blocks of vibrant color combinations, and consist primarily of rhythmically composed geometric forms.

While they both painted, Sonia also designed textiles, clothing, furniture, and print illustrations, all in her characteristic orphic style. After Robert’s death, Sonia expanded her practice to include etching while continuing to paint and design clothing, making her a foundational influence in modern fashion.

The work in the Whatcom Museum’s permanent collection was created sometime between the late 1960s and early 1970s, and illustrates how committed Delaunay was to her signature style. In 1964, she became the only woman to have an exhibition held at the Louvre while still living.

More recently, in 2015 the Tate Modern celebrated Sonia Delaunay with a comprehensive retrospective of her work.

Collection Citation (detail): Sonia Delaunay, Abstract Composition with Semicircles, 1970; Color aquatint; 28 x 22 in. Edition 9/125. Collection of the Whatcom Museum, Gift of George and Pearl Yewell.

Man with cheetahs and mountain lions in circus act in 1910

Vintage Vaudevillians

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021

Old City Hall

Curated by Jeff Jewell, Historian and Archivist

Vintage Vaudevillians is a photographic exhibition that highlights a dozen vaudeville acts that performed in Bellingham in the early 20th century. Originally used to promote the acts, these publicity photos were saved by James Warwick, stage manager at downtown theaters during vaudeville’s heyday.

James “Jim” Warwick had a 54-year career in Bellingham theaters, starting as a stagehand at the Lighthouse Theatre in 1897. He was stage manager at both Beck’s Opera House and The Grand during the heyday of vaudeville in the early 20th century when Bellingham was on the competing Pantages and Sullivan-Considine circuits. Warwick worked directly with performers, catering to their needs and whims, and had a longstanding reputation as a dependable, gracious host.

Vaudevillians, once scheduled by a venue, commonly forwarded photographs of themselves to the theater for use in advance publicity. After their week-long gig, the promotional portraits were returned to the act or, more typically, thrown away. But Warwick kept them as souvenirs of the personalities and performances he witnessed on the Bellingham stage.

With the rise of motion pictures and subsequent disappearance of vaudeville, Warwick worked as a film projectionist for more than 30 years at the American Theater on Cornwall Avenue. After his death in 1967, his daughter Mary donated his collection — more than 750 photographs from the vaudeville era — to the Whatcom Museum. 

The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

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Women holding signs

Moving Forward, Looking Back: Washington’s First Women in Government

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020

Old City Hall

This traveling exhibit from Legacy Washington honors the centennial celebration of women’s suffrage and the passage of the 19th Amendment, giving women in the United States the right to vote. Moving Forward, Looking Back: Washington’s First Women in Government follows the lives of 14 women who soared to some of the most coveted offices in Washington politics never before held by women.

One of those women was Frances Axtell of Bellingham. Axtell served as a state representative from 1913-1915, where she was a fierce proponent of Washington’s minimum wage. She then went on to became the first woman appointed to a federal commission in 1917. Learn more about Frances Axtell here. Other remarkable women featured in the exhibit include Nena J Croake, Josephine Preston, Reba Hurn, Bertha Knight Landes, Belle Reeves, Catherine May, Dixy Lee Ray, Jeannette Hayner, Carolyn Dimmick, Jennifer Belcher, Deborah Senn, Christine Gregoire, and Patty Murray.

Join the League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County for a variety of events and programs celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage, including a a series of educational and thought-provoking programs: Towards a More Perfect Democracy: History & Future of the Struggle for Voice. Learn more here.

Note: This exhibition was originally scheduled to close May 17th, but will now be closing May 10th.

Photo: Suffragettes in Seattle, 1909. Gift of Gloria Martin. Whatcom Museum 1993.66.1

Funding provided by the Washington State Women’s Commission and the Washington State Historical Society through the Votes for Women Centennial Grant Program.

 

partners

Feathered Kayapo/Mekranoti Headdress

The Global Language of Headwear: Cultural Identity, Rites of Passage, and Spirituality

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020

Lightcatcher Building

The Global Language of Headwear: Cultural Identity, Rites of Passage, and Spirituality presents 87 hats and headdresses carefully selected from a private collection of more than 1300 extraordinary pieces of international headwear. This exhibition features hats from 42 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America, and is a tribute to the stunning diversity of the world’s cultures. With a few exceptions, the pieces are from the mid-to-late 20th century, and many are still worn today in parts of the world for revelry, ritual, and the rhythms of everyday life.

More than utilitarian objects of material culture, each hat is a unique work of art—not merely because of the skill required to make it, but also as a singular expression of creativity and cultural meaning. The profusion of shapes, styles, and materials, as well as the ingenious use of embellishments to decorate the hats, are limited only by imagination.

The Global Language of Headwear is organized into five thematic sections: Cultural Identity; Power, Prestige, and Status; Ceremonies and Celebrations; Spiritual Beliefs; and Protection. Hats and headdresses communicate timeless ideas—not only of beauty, but also of what it means to be human.

The Museum will also present a variety of headwear from its permanent collection in conjunction with this collection, including Northwest Coast cedar bark hats.

About the Curator:
Stacey W. Miller is an independent curator of ethnographic headwear. She has spent more than 30 years collecting and researching the cultural significance of hats and headdresses. Since 2000, she has delivered educational programs, lectured, hosted special events, and curated numerous exhibitions based on her collection.

Stacey purchased her first hat in 1979 after joining a group of Spaniards driving from Madrid to India on a 4-month overland adventure. Learning more about other cultures—their customs, values, and traditions—with each new acquisition, Stacey realized that hats and headdresses can have a profound significance beyond their decorative qualities. Not only do they instill an awareness and appreciation of diverse cultures, but they can act as a bridge between peoples, reinforcing personal, spiritual, and social values that we as humans all share. Today, Stacey’s collection has grown to more than 1300 hats and headdresses from almost every corner of the world. Her long-term vision is to establish a museum of world cultures as a way to promote cross-cultural interest and understanding.

International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC, is a nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally, through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, arts institutions, and the public. Visit www.ArtsandArtists.org.

Featured image credit: Kayapo/Mekranoti Headdress (Akkapa-ri), Brazil; Mid-20th century; Feathers, cotton, reed. Courtesy of International Arts & Artists.

 

 

 

Watch a series of “Headwear Highlights” with Community Engagement Manager, Katherine Everitt.

partners

Child dancing

Tribal Canoe Journeys: Paddle to Lummi

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020

Lightcatcher Building

The Whatcom Museum features photographs documenting the Tribal Canoe Journey of 2019, Paddle to Lummi. Since 1989, this significant cultural experience has occurred annually and is hosted by different tribal nations of and around the Salish Sea, with the Lummi Nation hosting the most recent journey in 2019.

The canoe journey is a two-week to month-long voyage undertaken in traditional 12-person canoes. It is followed by many days of gathering people and sharing food, song and dance. These ceremonial practices are vital to the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and coastal British Columbia. More than 100 canoes from different tribes and tribal nations traveled the waters of their ancestors to reach the completion of their journey. From their tribal village to the homelands of the Lummi people, participants pull the whole way in family canoes to reach the final potlatch, a celebration sharing food, dance, song, and gifts.

The images documenting the 2019 Canoe Journey were captured by Children of the Setting Sun Productions, Inc., whose mission is to enliven the rich history, legacies, stories and historical traditions of the Salish people using traditional and contemporary art mediums.

Photo courtesy of Children of the Setting Sun Productions, Inc.

Who Are We graphic

Who Are We? Washington’s Kaleidoscope

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020

Old City Hall

Washington is a kaleidoscope of more than 7 million people, each with a unique story to tell. Where do we originate from, and who do we become? Is there a quintessential Washingtonian? Hardly. History has made it clear that we’re more than our identity and more than just techies, coffee lovers, or outdoor enthusiasts. We’re a kaleidoscope, a cultural melting pot. In this exhibit from Legacy Washington, see in-depth profiles of fascinating figures who’ve fought for our civil rights, advocated for the disabled, protected the environment, defended our nation, and pushed the boundaries of innovation in our state.

Minerals of the Pacific Northwest

What Lies Beneath: Minerals of the Pacific Northwest

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020

Old City Hall

Rocks and minerals are the foundation of our planet. Minerals are the basic geological building blocks of the solid earth. They can be dazzling to the eye as light catches the naturally occurring facets. To a trained eye, some minerals might be fairly easy to find with a bit of digging; others require rappelling down the side of a cliff.

The Museum has partnered with members of the Friends of Mineralogy – Pacific Northwest Chapter to present an incredible display of minerals collected from throughout the Pacific Northwest. Two unique quartz specimens, widely believed to be the finest in the world and rarely on public display, will be the highlights. Both minerals were collected from Denny Mountain in King County.

What Lies Beneath will showcase more than 50 excellent specimens, including calcite, quartz, vesper garnet, thunder eggs, fluorite, natrolite, stilbite, heulandite, microcline, zaktzerite, and aegirine. Also included will be samples of marine and land fossils, including a cast replica of a “big track” fossil found in Washington.

From those the size of a fingernail to those requiring a forklift, learn how minerals are formed and where they are found. Photos and video document the field work involved and provide insight into the collection process. Complementing the exhibition will be a variety of programs and hands-on activities.

Join us for a “Cascades Crystals” lecture with mineral collector Randy Becker on Sun., Nov. 3, 2 – 3pm at Old City Hall. Learn more HERE.

RELATED: Collecting Minerals in the Pacific Northwest

Image: Quartz (Amethyst), from King County, Wash. Photo Credit: Cory Torpin.

City of Hope poster

City of Hope: Resurrection City & the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020

Lightcatcher Building

City of Hope: Resurrection City and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daring vision for economic justice and opportunity for every U.S. citizen. The poster exhibition examines the Poor People’s Campaign — a grassroots, multiracial movement that drew thousands of people to Washington, D.C. For 43 days between May and June 1968, demonstrators demanded social reforms while living side-by-side on the National Mall in a tent city known as Resurrection City.

Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, City of Hope highlights a series of photographs and an array of protest signs and political buttons collected during the campaign. Featuring 18 posters, the exhibition aims to help visitors engage and contextualize the Poor People’s Campaign’s historical significance and present-day relevance.

Although President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “war on poverty” in 1964, tens of millions of Americans were denied livable wages, adequate housing, nutritious food, quality education, and healthcare. Led by Drs. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) organized the Poor People’s Campaign in response to poverty as a national human rights issue. Stretching 16 acres along the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, Resurrection City housed 3,000 protesters with structures for essential services like sanitation, communications, medical care and childcare. It included a dining tent, cultural center and a city hall along the encampment’s bustling “Main Street.”

The Poor People’s Campaign marked an important moment in U.S. history and set the stage for future social justice movements. Within months after Resurrection City’s evacuation, major strides were made toward economic equality influencing school lunch programs, rent subsidies and home ownership assistance for low-income families,

City of Hope: Resurrection City and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Image: “Hunger’s Wall,” plywood panels from mural at Resurrection City. Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Vincent DeForest.

 

Ed Bereal

WANTED: Ed Bereal for Disturbing the Peace

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020September 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020

Lightcatcher Building

Curated by Amy Chaloupka, Curator of Art

The Whatcom Museum is proud to present the work of Bellingham-based artist Ed Bereal for his first museum retrospective, Wanted: Ed Bereal for Disturbing the Peace, which chronicles the full scope of the artist’s diverse practice.

Born in Los Angeles in 1937 and raised in Riverside, California, Bereal was a child who grew up in the shadow of World War II and the segregation and racism that afflicted his immediate community. In the face of this, he was accepted into the renowned illustration program at Chouinard Art Institute and went on to make significant contributions to the arts of assemblage and performance burgeoning in Los Angeles in the 1960s. A shift in his work came in the summer of 1965 during the Watts Rebellion when Bereal was confronted by 10 National Guardsmen, including one pointing a machine gun at him. This profound experience prompted Bereal to step away from making commercially and critically successful artworks and move toward engaging members of his community in social justice work through guerrilla-style street performance. Now living on a farm in Whatcom County, Bereal processes his life’s experiences through a spectrum of provocative imagery and narratives in paintings and installations he terms “political cartoons.”

The exhibition features six decades of artwork, from Bereal’s never before exhibited early journal sketches and self-portraits to his symbolic assemblage to his radical street theater work of the 1960s and ’70s through his troupe Bodacious Buggerrilla. Many of Bereal’s more recent politically charged paintings and installations show a recurring motif of “Miss America,” as he examines racial inequity, gun violence, corporate greed, and political power structures. These issues came into sharp relief for Bereal during the Watts Rebellion and persist at the forefront of our national discourse today.

Now in his eighth decade, Bereal describes a newfound freedom in his practice. He feels unrestricted in the multilingual approach that allows him to express a range of ideas through pop art, abstraction, painterly realism, appropriated imagery, and assemblage. This freedom is visible in his most ambitious project to date, The Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Shown for the first time, the sprawling 40-foot-long installation is a visual manifestation of his uncompromising and unapologetic political and social vision of contemporary American society.

Funding for this exhibition is provided by Larry Bell, the City of Bellingham, RiverStyx Foundation, Michael & Barbara Ryan, and the Whatcom Museum Foundation, with additional support from Sharron Antholt, Antonella Antonini & Alan Stein, Patricia Burman, Heritage Bank, Galie Jean-Louis & Vincent Matteucci, Janet & Walter Miller Fund for Philanthropic Giving, Ann Morris, Peoples Bank, Charles & Phyllis Self, Mary Summerfield & Mike O’Neal, Jane Talbot & Kevin Williamson, Nancy Thomson & Bob Goldman, the Whatcom Community Foundation, and the Whatcom Museum Advocates.

RiverStyx Foundation logo

Whatcom Disupte Resolution Center logo with black and white figure

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Ed Bereal in his studio. Photo by David Scherrer.

 

Studio Tour art

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour 2019 Showcase

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020September 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020August 3, 2019 - October 13, 2019

Old City Hall

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour. Each year the two-weekend event offers visitors insight into the creative process, work-life, and work-environment of nearly 40 artists. For the third year, the Museum will provide a showcase of select artworks from several participating Studio Tour artists.

Artists include: Don Anderson, Suzanne Averre, Terry Brooks, Rick Bulman, Mary Byme, Nancy Canyon, Deborah Dole, Tom and Jennifer Dolese, Shirley Erickson, Diane Ferree, Frank Frazee, Ria Harboe, Joe Janey, Brian Kerkvliet, Maren Larson, Lorna Libert, Rebecca Meloy, Dave Nichols, Joy Olney, Brian Oneill, Michel Petersen, Liane Redpath, Larry Richmond, Karen Theusen, Stewart Wurtz, and Stefan Straka.

Visitors will get to see artworks in a variety of mediums, including watercolor, acrylic on canvas, sculpted glass, pottery, oil on linen, and more.

Raya Friday glass flame sculpture

In the Spirit of the People: Native Contemporary Artists

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020September 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020August 3, 2019 - October 13, 2019August 1, 2019 - February 28, 2020

Lightcatcher Building

In the Spirit of the People: Native Contemporary Artists features works by Native American artists in the Museum’s gallery and public spaces on a rotating basis. The series is meant to highlight outstanding contemporary Native artwork and allow the Museum to work more closely with members of area tribes. Works in the series may also be displayed in the People of the Sea and Cedar exhibit gallery.

Raya Friday cleaning sculptureRaya Friday, People of the Fire

Lightcatcher lobby

To kick off the series, Lummi Nation glass artist Raya Friday installed her piece People of the Fire in the Lightcatcher lobby in July of 2019. The sculpture is made of glass, bronze, and stone and weighs roughly 2,700 pounds. Friday said the piece represents the spirituality of the elements and the idea that “everything in the natural world has its own energy, its own spirit.”

It took Raya about eight months to create the sculpture of glass and bronze set into a pedestal of stone, which she completed in 2007. Raya was involved with each element, from mixing the bronze to cutting the stone to pouring the molten glass. The flames get their color from frit, or concentrated crushed glass. This gives the unpolished sides a slightly rough appearance. Raya used sand casting to create each flame, then hand-carved faces into the surface. Located in the Lightcatcher lobby, the sculpture is illuminated by the natural light coming through the large glass windows.

Read more about Raya Friday on the Museum’s blog. The Museum Store is currently featuring a variety of glass art created by Raya for purchase.

 

Modern quilt by Sherri Lynn Wood

Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020September 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020August 3, 2019 - October 13, 2019August 1, 2019 - February 28, 2020June 1, 2019 - August 25, 2019

Lightcatcher Building

Curated by Riane Menardi Morrison, Alissa Haight Carlton, and Heather Grant of the Modern Quilt Guild

Modern quilts are utilitarian art. They tell stories. They are graphic, improvisational, or minimalist. They break the rules. They make a statement. Modern quilts are creative expressions made with needle and thread, fabric, and time, expressing today’s aesthetic through a generations-old traditional craft. Modern quilters respect the rich tradition of quilts throughout history, recognizing that they are makers in a lineage that stretches back centuries.

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Black and white photo of Pacific House

1889: Blazes, Rails, and the Year of Statehood

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020September 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020August 3, 2019 - October 13, 2019August 1, 2019 - February 28, 2020June 1, 2019 - August 25, 2019April 20, 2019 - July 21, 2019

Old City Hall

A year of big dreams, big burns, and big politics, 1889 captured a place in our history as a time of great prosperity and adversity. The face of Washington changed. Pioneers arrived, and townsfolk rebuilt from the rubble. Finally, on November 11, 1889, Washington rose as the 42nd state in the union. This exhibit from Legacy Washington introduces you to the people and events shaping the territory in the days leading up to statehood.

About the image: The traveling Great Eastern Photographic & Advertising Co. captured this view of Pacific House, at the NW corner of F and 13th (W. Holly) streets, in 1888, just prior to Statehood. Whatcom was still in “Wash[ington] Terr[itory].”  Whatcom Museum #1996.10.13550.

1929 photo of a girl in a plane

Firsts in Flight: A Hidden History

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020September 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020August 3, 2019 - October 13, 2019August 1, 2019 - February 28, 2020June 1, 2019 - August 25, 2019April 20, 2019 - July 21, 2019April 13, 2019 - August 4, 2019

Old City Hall

Take a “timeline tour” outlining the significant contributions made by women and African Americans – particularly by African American women – to our country’s history of aviation and space flight. Meet pioneer aviator Bessie Coleman, who in 1921, became the first African American woman to earn her pilot’s license. And before her, in 1911 Harriet Quimby became the first American woman of any race to secure her pilot’s license. Meet other “hidden figures,” including the African American women who played a pivotal role in the country’s space program in the second half of the twentieth century.

In Puget Sound, there were the WASPs – Women Airforce Service Pilots – trained pilots who tested Boeing aircraft, ferried aircraft, and trained other pilots during World War II. Hear their stories in a video narrative provided by the Museum of Flight.

Other “hidden figures” include Bellingham’s women who worked in the factories and shipyards during World War II, including Marie Manning, the first female welder at the Bellingham Marine Railway & Boatbuilding Company in 1943.

The exhibit includes the short videos “Trailblazers and Heroes: African Americans Who Flew First” and “Doing the Math for NASA: African American Human Computers.”

This exhibition was provided, in part, by the Morehead Planetarium & Science Center at the University of North Carolina. Special thanks to Seattle’s Museum of Flight. Additional support is provided by the Whatcom Museum Foundation, the City of Bellingham, and the Whatcom Museum Advocates.

Black and white negative of a girl and two rabbits

All Is Not Lost: Images Salvaged from Damaged Glass Negatives

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020September 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020August 3, 2019 - October 13, 2019August 1, 2019 - February 28, 2020June 1, 2019 - August 25, 2019April 20, 2019 - July 21, 2019April 13, 2019 - August 4, 2019April 3, 2019 - September 1, 2019

Lightcatcher Building

Hundreds of glass negatives have been donated to the Whatcom Museum over the years, many arriving in damaged condition after decades of poor storage and rough handling. The pictures in this exhibition are derived from time-ravaged Silver Gelatin Dry Plate Negatives and will feature their accumulated scratches, cracks, lost corners, mold stains and water damage. Though marred, the century-old negatives can still render images of historical significance.

Image credit: Bunny Girl, c. 1920 from a water damaged 5×7 by J. W. Sandison. Whatcom Museum # 1996.10.5941

Oil on panel by Meg Aubrey

Bellingham National 2019—Water’s Edge: Landscapes for Today

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020September 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020August 3, 2019 - October 13, 2019August 1, 2019 - February 28, 2020June 1, 2019 - August 25, 2019April 20, 2019 - July 21, 2019April 13, 2019 - August 4, 2019April 3, 2019 - September 1, 2019February 2, 2019 - May 19, 2019

Lightcatcher Building

Juried by Bruce Guenther, Adjunct Curator for Special Exhibitions at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education

The Whatcom Museum is hosting the third biennial Bellingham National 2019 Juried Art Exhibition and Awards. Juried by Bruce Guenther, Adjunct Curator for Special Exhibitions at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, the theme of the exhibition is Water’s Edge: Landscapes for Today. Guenther selected artwork submitted by artists from across the United States that represents an investigation of contemporary art practices, and addresses our understandings of the Earth, climate change, and the evolving relationships of humanity to Nature. Works range from traditional interpretations of the observed landscape to the metaphoric and spiritual manifestations of the landscape through image, color, language, and mapping of our felt responses to Nature and the world. The top three artists, chosen by the juror, received cash awards at the opening reception, and the exhibition includes a “People’s Choice” award, based on the public’s vote for their favorite piece.

Juror’s Choice Award Winners:
1st place: Philip Govedare; Artifact; Oil on canvas
2nd place: Natalie Niblack; Watershed; Oil on canvas
3rd place: Patti Bowman; Wave 1; Encaustic on panel

 

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Panels on wall of WWII exhibit

Washington Remembers WWII: Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020September 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020August 3, 2019 - October 13, 2019August 1, 2019 - February 28, 2020June 1, 2019 - August 25, 2019April 20, 2019 - July 21, 2019April 13, 2019 - August 4, 2019April 3, 2019 - September 1, 2019February 2, 2019 - May 19, 2019January 19, 2019 - April 14, 2019

Old City Hall

Before they liberated concentration camps or freed countries from tyranny, men and women in uniform fought enemy forces everywhere — in factories on the Washington home front and on beaches abroad. They braved the unknown, lived through the unthinkable, and changed who we are.

“I’ve had a wonderful life. … I would go through it again to keep our freedom, really. … I know I could be angry for what I had to go through, but it made life worth living.”

Capt. Joseph F. Moser, U.S. Army Air Forces, shot down over north-central France in 1944, POW held at Buchenwald concentration camp, resident of Whatcom County.

This is just one of the emotion-packed stories documenting the personal experiences of men and women who fought for freedom on the battlefield and on the home-front in the exhibit Washington Remembers WWII: Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.

The Legacy Washington exhibit was created through the Office of the Secretary of State to honor the tens of thousands of Washingtonians who served in the war. “The profiles allow World War II veterans a chance to share stories that haven’t been told. The time to hear their stories is now. Every three minutes in this country, we lose a World War II veteran. These heroes offer first-hand accounts of the war, a personal perspective to history, that we can’t afford to lose,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

In addition to the Legacy stories, the exhibit will highlight a variety of WWII artifacts, documents, and historic photographs from the Whatcom Museum’s collection.

The Elephant in the Room: The Allure of Ivory and Its Tragic Legacy

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020September 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020August 3, 2019 - October 13, 2019August 1, 2019 - February 28, 2020June 1, 2019 - August 25, 2019April 20, 2019 - July 21, 2019April 13, 2019 - August 4, 2019April 3, 2019 - September 1, 2019February 2, 2019 - May 19, 2019January 19, 2019 - April 14, 2019September 8, 2018 - March 31, 2019

Old City Hall

September 8, 2018 – March 31, 2019; Old City Hall

In conjunction with our Lightcatcher exhibition, Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity, the Museum will explore the story of ivory from pre-history to modern times, featuring a selection of ivory from the Museum’s collection. The exhibition will cover areas of research in elephant communication, the devastating effects of ivory hunting, and highlight how organizations are trying to save these incredible animals around the world.

Meet filmmaker Patricia Sims, director of the documentaries Return to the Forest and When Elephants Were Young, in the Old City Hall exhibition The Elephant in the Room: The Allure of Ivory and Its Tragic Legacy on Saturday, October 6 at noon to learn more about elephants, the importance of their tusks, and other facts about these majestic creatures. Sims will answer questions about Asian elephants and talk about some of the topics addressed in the exhibition. Sims has documented the plight of endangered Asian elephants in Thailand since 2010. Her films explore new strategies for the future of human-elephant relations and the survival of all elephants. Join us at 1pm in the Rotunda Room of Old City Hall for a screening of the short documentary Return to the Forest. (31 min.), about the successful reintroduction of Asian elephants into the wild in Thailand. Narrated by William Shatner, Return to the Forest is the heartfelt story of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation in Thailand and its mission to return captive Asian elephants back to the wild, saving them from abuse, exploitation, and extinction. Director Patricia Sims will give a behind-the-scenes discussion after the film. All ages are welcome! Included with admission/Members free.

Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity

September 16, 2023 - October 15, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023April 28, 2023 - May 5, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023May 27, 2023 - September 10, 2023June 24, 2023 - October 29, 2023February 3, 2023 - May 28, 2023November 18, 2022 - January 29, 2023February 11, 2023 - June 11, 2023December 10, 2022 - May 21, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 5, 2022 - May 15, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 27, 2022May 7, 2022 - August 21, 2022March 19, 2022 - August 21, 2022November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022November 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022October 30, 2021 - February 27, 2022June 19, 2021 - October 24, 2021September 3, 2021 - October 17, 2021April 10, 2021 - October 10, 2021January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021May 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021May 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021March 13, 2021 - June 13, 2021January 28, 2021 - June 13, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021March 4, 2021 - July 1, 2021September 19, 2020 - March 21, 2021September 3, 2020 - October 17, 2020February 1, 2020 - March 7, 2021February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020February 15, 2020 - December 6, 2020May 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021September 19, 2020 - May 16, 2021February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020February 1, 2020 - April 26, 2020January 3, 2020 - March 8, 2020October 18, 2019 - February 9, 2020August 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020October 1, 2019 - January 5, 2020September 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020August 3, 2019 - October 13, 2019August 1, 2019 - February 28, 2020June 1, 2019 - August 25, 2019April 20, 2019 - July 21, 2019April 13, 2019 - August 4, 2019April 3, 2019 - September 1, 2019February 2, 2019 - May 19, 2019January 19, 2019 - April 14, 2019September 8, 2018 - March 31, 2019September 8, 2018 - January 6, 2019

Lightcatcher Building

Endangered Species presents the work of sixty artists from around the world who convey both the wonder and fragility of life on Earth through the exploration of five separate themes.

Nick Brandt; Line of Rangers Holding the Tusks of Elephants Killed at the Hands of Man, Amboseli, from the book Across the Ravaged Land, 2011; Archival pigment print, 44 x 78 in. Courtesy of the artist.

September 8, 2018 – January 6, 2019

Curated by Barbara Matilsky, Whatcom Museum Curator of Art

Endangered Species presents the work of sixty artists from around the world who convey both the wonder and fragility of life on Earth through five interconnected themes. Spanning two hundred years, the exhibition reflects the vital relationship between art and natural science. It also highlights art’s pivotal contribution to the legacy of nature conservation, which is now threatened. The artist’s message is more important than ever.

A calendar of tours, lectures, films, and other related programming is available here

For more information, see the bibliographytimeline, and list of artists in this exhibition. A complete illustrated exhibition catalogue is available for purchase at the Museum Store.

Martin Johnson Heade; Cattleya Orchid, Two Hummingbirds and a Beetle, c.1875–1890; Oil on canvas, 24 x 31.5 x 4 in. framed. Courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2010.67.

first theme

Celebrating Biodiversity’s beauty and Complexity:

from landscapes to microscopic imagery

We focus on artists who illuminate biodiversity’s stunning variety on its most grand and intimate scales. By examining the shared practices that inspire artists and natural scientists, such as exploration, observation, and documentation, visitors can learn about biodiversity and its importance.

Additional images related to this theme are available here.

From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

CHARLES DARWIN

On the Origin of Species, 1859

Charles Knight; Wooly Mammoth and Hunter, 1909; Oil on canvas, 27.5 x 39.5 in. Courtesy of American Museum of Natural History, New York.

second theme

MAMMOTHS AND DINOSAURS:

interpreting natural extinction

We introduce the concept of extinction—the complete loss of an animal or plant species. When natural scientists first discovered fossils of early life, nineteenth-century artists presented convincing visions of animals roaming primeval habitats in best-selling natural history books and panoramic murals commissioned by museums. The exhibition showcases examples of these illustrated books and paintings. The work of scientists and artists who interpret naturally occurring extinction helps us contemplate the consequences of the current unraveling of biodiversity.

Additional images related to this theme are available here.

Why has not anyone seen that fossils alone gave birth to a theory about the formation of the earth, that without them, no one would have ever dreamed that
there were successive epochs in the formation of the globe.

GEORGES CUVIER

Discourse on the Revolutionary Upheavals on the Surface of the Earth, 1825

Harri Kallio; Les Gris Gris #3, Mauritius, from The Dodo and Mauritius Island, Imaginary Encounters, 2004; Archival inkjet print, 29.5 x 36 in. Courtesy of the artist.

third theme

PORTRAITS OF LOSS:

extinction by human actions

We explore how artists transform scientific documentation about early human-induced extinctions of species such as the dodo, the great auk, and the passenger pigeon, among others, into stirring portraits and still life paintings. Their artworks reflect meticulous research and observational analysis of specimens from natural history museum collections. By reviving past life in sometimes startling ways, artists imprint their memory on our consciousness and spark awareness about the contemporary extinction crisis.

Additional images related to this theme are available here.

How can you expect the birds to sing when the groves are cut down?

HENRY DAVID THOREAU

Life in the Woods, 1854

George Catlin; Buffalo Bull, Grazing on the Prairie, 1832–1833; Oil on canvas, 24 x 29 in. Courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

fourth theme

ENDANGERED SPECIES:

plants and animals on the edge of survival

We examine threatened ecosystems and the global decline of biodiversity. The artworks call attention to just a few of the 10,000 endangered and critically endangered species classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Artists heighten public awareness about the current condition of life and environmental distress through their artworks, and they offer a unique form of communication that taps into the core of human culture—beauty and emotion.

Additional images related to this theme are available here.

Every seed is awakened and so has all animal life.
It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being, And we therefore yield to our neighbors, Even our animal neighbors, The same right as ourselves, to inhabit this land.

Attributed to SITTING BULL (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake), Hunkpapa Lakota