Lidded basket, Inuit. Gift of Dr. Gay Wickersham Davis. Whatcom Museum #2008.68.1.

February 3 – June 10, 2018; Old City Hall

Curated by Rebecca Hutchins, Curator of Collections

Hidden in the Bundle features a selection of baskets from the Whatcom Museum’s extensive Native American and First Nations collection. Representing different eras and cultures, the baskets showcase some unique, innovative, and even playful elements of design or decoration. The viewer can explore these creative and practical adaptations while pondering the role of individual expression in the world of basket-making.



Coiled feather basket; Central California (possibly Yokuts), c. 1890. Sumac, devil’s claw, wool, quail feathers, 6 x 8 x 8 in. Lent by Lois Russell. Courtesy of the University of Missouri.

February 3 – May 6, 2018; Lightcatcher

Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America chronicles a history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, immigrant, and slave communities to its presence within the contemporary fine art world. Baskets convey meaning through the artists’ selection of materials; the techniques they use; and the colors, designs, patterns, and textures they employ.

Historical baskets were rooted in local landscapes and shaped by cultural traditions. The rise of the industrial revolution and mass production at the end of the nineteenth century led basket makers to create works for new audiences and markets, including tourists, collectors and fine art museums. Today the story continues. Some contemporary artists seek to maintain and revive traditions practiced for centuries. Others combine age-old techniques with nontraditional materials to generate cultural commentary. Still others challenge viewers’ expectations by experimenting with form, materials, and scale. Divided into five sections—Cultural Origins, New Basketry, Living Traditions, Basket as Vessel, and Beyond the Basket—this exhibition of approximately 95 objects has two primary goals: to model how to look at, talk about, and analyze baskets aesthetically, critically and historically; and to contextualize American basketry within art and craft history specifically and American culture generally.

This exhibition is generously sponsored in part by the National Basketry Organization, University of Missouri, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design, and numerous private donors. Additional support is provided by the Northwest Basket Weavers Vi Phillips Guild, the City of Bellingham, the Whatcom Museum Advocates, and the Whatcom Museum Foundation.

PARTY > Members see it first at the member reception, Friday, February 2, 5 – 7 PM at the Lightcatcher building

DOCENT TOURS (In conjunction with Jeweled Objects of Desire) > Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 1:30pm beginning February 10th.

SHOWING CONCURRENTLY AT OLD CITY HALL > Gathered Together: A Show of Work Celebrating Members of the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild and Hidden in the Bundle: A Look Inside the Whatcom Museum’s Basketry Collection.







Judy Zugish, Breathe; Willow, 22 x 8 x 5 in. Courtesy of the Artist.

February 3 – May 6, 2018; Old City Hall

View a selection of artwork at Old City Hall by members of the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild (NWBW) in an exhibition juried by Lisa Telford and Katherine Lewis, artists featured in Rooted, Revived, Reinvented. Members of NWBW will be on hand on opening day to talk about basketry and the artwork on display.

The Northwest Basket Weavers, Vi Phillips Guild began with a group of 16 people who loved to get together at Vi Phillips’ house on Whidbey Island, Washington to make baskets and share information. These weavers used reed, cedar bark and root, sweet grass, pine needles, and other natural materials to make traditional baskets. Thirty-five years later, the 180 guild members today weave both traditional and contemporary baskets. Several members are nationally known teachers and artists, who have baskets featured in Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America.

Gallery Tours > Sunday, February 11, March 11, and April 8, 1:30 PM; Knowledgeable members of the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild will be available to guide visitors through the exhibit, offering insights into the weaving materials, techniques, cultural and historical context, and how the traditional and contemporary variations on display are linked. Included with admission/Museum members free.






John Sinkankas; Quartz egg with faceted corundum. Photo courtesy of Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

February 3 – May 6, 2018; Lightcatcher

This exhibition features rarely seen items from the vaults of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Each piece in this exhibit demonstrates the skill and ingenuity of various artists in transforming simple materials into striking treasures. Originally curated by Cynthia Duval, who was then Chief Curator of the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, this exhibit creates a sense of awe at the vision required to take the rough to polished, the mundane to exceptional, and the simple to complex.

Whether it is a faceted quartz crystal egg, a gold sardine can, a gold and pearl-studded corn cob, or a gold yoyo, each of these creations irresistibly attracts our attention and appeals to our imagination, encouraging us to think about why and how each piece was made. Let these rarely seen objects inspire as you explore this exhibit. Learn more about featured artist Sidney Mobell in this Smithsonian article.

Jeweled Objects of Desire is sponsored by Smith & Vallee Gallery, Mary Summerfield & Mike O’Neal, the Whatcom Museum Advocates, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham.

PARTY > Members see it first at our member reception, Friday, February 2, 5 – 7 PM at the Lightcatcher Building

DOCENT TOURS (In conjunction with Rooted, Revived, Reinvented) > Thursday, Saturdays, and Sundays, 1:30 PM, beginning February 10



Walter Ufer (German | American, 1876 – 1936); Evening Rays, circa 1923; Oil on canvas; 25 x 25 in. Courtesy of the Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.132.

September 30, 2017 – January 7, 2018, Lightcatcher

This fall, the Whatcom Museum will feature a selection of artwork on loan from the Tacoma Art Museum, featuring works of Western American Art. The Haub Family Collection of Western American Art is unrivaled in its scope in the Pacific Northwest. The collection includes prominent nineteenth-century artists who influenced our views of Native Americans, mountain men, cowboys, and pristine American landscapes, including Henry Inman, Paul Kane, John Mix Stanley, and Charles M. Russell.

From the twentieth century, the exhibition includes artists who brought modern art movements west and who explored western history and American identity, such as E. Martin Hennings, Maynard Dixon, Robert Henri, and Georgia O’Keeffe. The collection also includes many artists who are active and working today. Contemporary Native American artists John Nieto and Kevin Red Star take a fresh approach and portray Native American culture in a modern light, and pop artist Bill Schenck uses humor and satire to challenge long-held assumptions about the American West.

The artworks in the exhibition examine ideas of American identity over time, delve into storytelling and myth-making, and explore the vast American landscape. Visitors will see how concepts of the West, both real and imagined, have continually changed and evolved, and still influence people today. Learn more about this collection from the Tacoma Art Museum.

Art of the American West: Highlights of the Haub Family Collection from the Tacoma Art Museum was organized by Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington. This exhibition is supported by Mary Summerfield & Mike O’Neal, Patti & Frank Imhof, Sue Lobland, the Whatcom Museum Advocates, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham.





September 1 – 30, 2017, Make.Shift Gallery, 306 Flora Street

Make.Shift Gallery and the Whatcom Museum have joined forces for a juried exhibition inspired by photos from the Museum’s archives. Original artworks in various media will be on display with a copy of the archive photo that inspired the work beside it. Make.Shift Gallery is open Tues. – Sat., noon – 5pm. Admission is by donation. Attend the opening on Fri., Sept. 1, 6-10pm during Downtown Art Walk.


August 4 – September 17, 2017, Old City Hall

In anticipation of the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour in October, we’re showcasing a variety of artwork in this exhibition featuring participating Studio Tour artists. Learn more about the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour at www.studiotour.net.

The Whatcom Artist Studio Tour is a FREE, juried event offering an opportunity to meet the region’s finest artists in their own creative spaces. In its twenty-third year, the Tour features 44 artists working in eleven different media, showing their work throughout Bellingham and Whatcom County.  Read more


Kelly Bjork, Seattle, WA; Tiger Overhead, 2016; Gouache and pencil on paper, 19 x 15 in. Courtesy of the artist.

June 11 – September 10, 2017, Lightcatcher

Juror: Catharina Manchanda, Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seattle Art Museum

This exhibition is supported by the Whatcom Museum Advocates, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham.

The Whatcom Museum is hosting the second Bellingham National Juried Art Exhibition and Awards. Featuring more than 60 artworks by 29 artists from around the country, the artwork represents interpretations on the theme of “drawing practice” in a variety of media. The top three artists, chosen by the juror, received cash awards, and the exhibition includes a popular choice award. The artwork selected features modern ideas of language, writing, notation, mapping, movement, dance, performance, as well as connections to space and architecture.

Juror’s Choice Award Winners:
1st Place, Dawn Cerny, Seattle, WA
2nd Place, Lou Watson, Portland, OR

3rd Place, Ann Leda Shapiro, Vashon, WA

Popular Choice Award Winner:
Jenna Lynch, Mahopac, NY

The flood of images disseminated on the internet, and with it the attendant information overload, invite renewed attention to drawing as a comparably “slow” medium. Traditionally tied to the conception and development of ideas, drawing remained the stepchild to the more durable mediums of painting and sculpture well into the 1960s. The subsequent interest in process and fragment rather than the finished product allowed drawing to assume a far more influential position. In our contemporary moment, drawing practices warrant particular attention as they open new avenues for artistic thought and expression, especially vis-à-vis digital modes of communication and information sharing.  Read more


March 18 – May 31, 2017, Old City Hall

From the beginning of its 50-year history, Whatcom Community College (WCC) has been recognized as an innovator. Talk to people who worked at the College in the early days (when the college offered classes at a hodgepodge of buildings throughout the county) and you’ll hear some unbelievable stories. But the College, and its graduates, thrived. Today, Whatcom is regarded as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges. This exhibition will engage visitors with “groovy” WCC memorabilia, recorded memories and opportunities for guests to share their own Whatcom stories. Join us as we showcase how WCC helps graduates to transform their lives and our community to thrive. Learn more at whatcom.edu/50.


Alfredo Arreguin; La Alameda, 2011; Oil on canvas, 58 x 42 in. Courtesy of the artist.

February 4 – May 28, 2017, Lightcatcher Building

Curated by Patricia Leach, Executive Director

Sponsored by Heritage Bank

Images of Resilience: Chicana/o Art and its Mexican Roots is an exhibition that explores the development of Chicana/o art, from its beginnings in Mexican art of the early 1900s, to the Chicana/o movement of the 1960s and ’70s, to its relevance today. Images of Resilience reflects how Chicana/o art has been a part of community building, history making, and cultural citizenship for Mexican-Americans and Chicana/os. The exhibition will feature artwork focusing on Mexican art trends in the early twentieth century, as well as artworks that arose from the Chicana/o civil rights movement of the 1960s and ’70s. Post-revolution Mexican art is typified by a shift from European academic styles to what we consider traditional Mexican art today, including illustrations of skeletons, or calaveras.

The exhibition features work from Los Tres Grandes—Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siquieros, and Jose Clemente Orozco, three internationally prominent artists originally hired by the Mexican government in the 1920s to create identifiably Mexican art. This new style emphasized their cultural roots with a respect for non-Spanish traditions and instilled a patriotic pride in the Mexican people. The Chicana/o movement of the ’60s and ’70s grew from a cultural reclamation and struggle for social justice. Drawing on styles created post-revolution, this era of Chicana/o art deals with rural themes—agriculture, religious holidays, folk heritage—and the new urbanized lives that the Mexican-Americans were living, shown through pop culture, cars,  and Hollywood iconography.

PARTY > Members see it first at the member reception! Friday, February 3, 5 – 7 PM at the Lightcatcher building.

ARTIST LECTURE > Featuring Seattle-based artists Cecilia Concepción Alvarez and Alfredo Arreguín, Saturday, February 4, 2pm at Old City Hall.

DOCENT TOURS > Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 1:30 PM at the Lightcatcher building, beginning February 12, 2017.

FILM SCREENING > The Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival presents Chicano Legacy: 40 Años, Sunday, February 19, 2pm at Old City Hall.

LECTURE > Featuring artist and scholar Amalia Mesa-Bains, Wednesday, March 22, 12:30pm at Old City Hall.