Lotus Eaters painting by Fay Jones

Anatomy of a Collection: Recent Acquisitions and Promised Gifts

2020 opening date to-be-determined; Lightcatcher building

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.

Many recent acquisitions and promised gifts expand existing holdings of significant works by artists of the Pacific Northwest including works by John Cole, Wendell Brazeau, Susan Bennerstrom, 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. Several works present the Museum’s goals to extend into new areas of collecting, including a focus on previously under-represented artists, reflecting the expanding conversations and interests of today’s audiences.

More than eighty works will be on view, many for the first time at the Museum. The exhibition delves into the structure of a museum collection and highlights the stories of collectors as they share their motivations and passions for collecting works of art.

Funding for this exhibition has been provided by the Whatcom Museum Foundation, the Museum Advocates, and the City of Bellingham. Additional support is 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.