For media inquiries, to arrange interviews, or to obtain images, please contact:
Christina Claassen, Marketing & Public Relations Manager, 360-778-8936.
Whatcom Museum to Partner with the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Four Museums Across the American West in Five-Year Collaboration
Grant from Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative Supports Sharing of Artworks with Audiences Throughout the United States
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, July 9, 2019—The Smithsonian American Art Museum has received a nearly $2 million grant from Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation of American Art to support a five-year exhibition partnership with five museums in the American West, including the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington. Known collectively as the American West Consortium, the partnership also includes the Boise Art Museum; the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno; the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, Oregon; and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City.
The partnership includes a two-part exhibition program and professional development sessions. The project is the latest in a transformative effort, the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative, to expand access to outstanding works of American art nationwide. A joint program of Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art, the initiative supports multi-year, multi-institutional partnerships among groups that include a metropolitan museum working with institutions in primarily non-metropolitan areas. Sharing collections and resources, these collaborative partners create a series of exhibitions that engage local communities.
“As the national museum for American art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum believes it is our responsibility to share our most valuable resource—our collections—with the American people, including those who are not able to visit Washington, D.C.,” said Stephanie Stebich, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “In addition to the hundreds of individual artworks that we loan to exhibitions around the world, SAAM has a longstanding traveling exhibition program that widens our audience reach exponentially. The Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative makes possible a unique exhibition partnership that complements this outreach. The generous support allows us to engage in a deep level of collaboration, learning and innovation.”
In the first set of exhibitions, partner museums will present artworks from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection in focused installations that address interests particular to each museum. Selected works include paintings by David Hockney, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Fritz Scholder, Alma Thomas and Domingo Ulloa. These exhibitions will be on view at the partner museums beginning in September 2019.
The second exhibition is organized jointly by all the partner museums and will feature artwork from all six museums. It will be presented at all six venues, opening at the Whatcom Museum in early 2021, with the Smithsonian American Art Museum as the final stop on the tour in 2023.
The scope of the exhibition will be determined through collaborations between curators from the partner museums.
A related series of professional-growth opportunities with staff from all six museums will allow for the development of new interpretive strategies and best practices for community engagement, among other topics. Information and updates about the American West Consortium will be available on the museum’s website, americanart.si.edu.
“The partnership made possible by the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative funding opens opportunities for the museum to expand its engagement with young people, communities of color and immigrant and rural communities whose voices are intrinsic to the American experience,” said E. Carmen Ramos, deputy chief curator and curator of Latinx art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and lead curator for the project. “Without these voices, the landscape of American art museums fails to truly reflect and respond to the multiple, sometimes conflicting, perspectives that make up the American story.”
“This innovative partnership creates opportunities to expand the dialogue and widen the lens through which exhibitions of American art are created,” said Margi Conrads, director of curatorial affairs and strategic art initiatives at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and curatorial consultant to Art Bridges. Created by arts patron and philanthropist Alice Walton in 2017, Art Bridges is dedicated to dramatically expanding access to American art across the country. “We are proud to support these outstanding museums and their efforts to explore the issues that matter to their communities,” Conrads added.
“This initiative was born of a desire to bring outstanding works of American art to communities nationwide in a manner that sparks engagement and dialogue—both in terms of creation of works of art, as well our contemporary reception of them,” said Elizabeth Glassman, president and CEO of the Terra Foundation of American Art. “Bringing together the Smithsonian American Art Museum with these five distinguished museums in western cities of robust population growth exemplifies the rich collaboration that we envisioned and represents a new paradigm of partnership. Working together, these museums are creating thought-provoking exhibitions that will connect their diverse audiences with American art in dynamic new ways.”
About the Whatcom Museum
Located in Bellingham’s cultural district, the Whatcom Museum, a non-profit organization operated jointly by the City of Bellingham and the Whatcom Museum Foundation, offers a rich variety of programs and exhibitions about art, nature, and Northwest history. The Museum’s collection contains more than 200,000 artifacts and art pieces of regional importance, including a vast photographic archive. The Whatcom Museum is accredited nationally by the American Alliance of Museums, is a member of the American Association of State and Local History and is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate.
The Whatcom Museum has two buildings with public hours: Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St., and the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St., both open Wednesday – Sunday, noon – 5 PM. The Family Interactive Gallery, located in the Lightcatcher, is open Wednesday – Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM; Sunday noon – 5 PM. Admission for Museum members is free; $10 general; $8 youth (6-17)/student/senior/military; $5 children 2 – 5; under 2 free.
About the Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. The Renwick is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. Follow the museum on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Website: americanart.si.edu.
About Art Bridges
Art Bridges is a pioneering new foundation dedicated to dramatically expanding access to American art across the country. Created by arts patron and philanthropist Alice Walton in 2017, Art Bridges strives to bring great works of American art out of storage and into communities across America. Through financial and planning support, Art Bridges helps organizations of all sizes build exhibitions and programs that deeply engage audiences. For more information, visit artbridgesfoundation.org.
About the Terra Foundation for American Art
Established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is a leading foundation focused on fostering exploration, understanding and enjoyment of historical American art among national and international audiences. To further cross-cultural dialogue, the foundation supports and collaborates on innovative exhibitions, research and educational programs worldwide, and also provides opportunities for interaction and study through the presentation of its own American art collection.
Laura Baptiste, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 202.633.8494; email@example.com
Media website: americanart.si.edu/press
Christina Claassen, Whatcom Museum, 360.778.8936, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Whatcom Museum Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing with Workshop, Film Screening, Artifact
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 3, 2019; Bellingham, WA—This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the Whatcom Museum will be celebrating through a variety of activities for all ages. On Saturday, July 20, the Museum will host a rocket-making workshop for kids, a Smithsonian Channel film screening of “The Day We Walked on the Moon,” and a highlighted artifact from the Museum’s collection.
The workshop, “From Earth to the Moon Rocket Science for Kids” will be held at the Lightcatcher building from 10 a.m. – noon. This program, for ages 8-14, will be led by a museum educator and participants will learn how chemical reactions work while making, and then firing, their own rockets. After designing and assembling the rockets in the Lightcatcher Studio, students will go outside to the Lightcatcher Courtyard to test their creations. Adults, friends, and family are welcome to attend the rocket launch in the courtyard at noon.
The Museum will also present the new Smithsonian Channel documentary, “The Day We Walked on the Moon” in the Rotunda Room of Old City Hall from 1 – 2:30 p.m. This documentary tells the story of this defining moment in our history. Interviews with key figures in Mission Control, contemporary astronauts, and the families of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong shine a light on how dangerous the mission really was and how close it came to failure numerous times. The documentary also features the Lunar Module “Eagle,” now housed at the National Air & Space Museum, as well as interviews with Smithsonian curator Dr. Teasel Muir-Harmony.
Visitors can see a historic mechanical model of the solar system known as an orrery, or planetarium, from the Museum’s collection. Orreries were popular starting in the early 1700’s and provided people of all ages a method of understanding the orbits of planets and moons, and helped explain night and day, the changing seasons and even predict eclipses. This unique astronomical device will be on display in Old City Hall and illustrates the universal fascination with the solar system, long before the space race to put a man on the moon.
In addition to these special moon landing activities, visitors can see the exhibit “Firsts in Flight: A Hidden History” at Old City Hall. The exhibit offers a “timeline tour” that outlines the significant contributions made by women and African Americans, particularly African American women, to our country’s aviation and space flight history. Visitors learn about the “hidden figures” who played a pivotal role in the country’s space program, including the momentous moon landing. The exhibit includes a video narrative provided by The Museum of Flight in Seattle called “Doing the Math for NASA: African American Human Computers.”
Sat., July 20, 10 a.m. – noon
Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St.
$30 Non-members/$25 Museum members
Tickets available at brownpapertickets.com/event/4217631
Sat., July 20, 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St.
Included with admission/Members free
Orrery Artifact Display
Wed. – Sun., noon – 5 p.m.
Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St.
Included with admission/Members free
On exhibit through Aug. 4, 2019
Wed. – Sun., noon – 5 p.m.
Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St.
Included with admission/Members free
Orca Tokitae Totem Stops at the Whatcom Museum on its Journey Home to Lummi Nation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 24, 2019; Bellingham, WA—The Whatcom Museum will host the Lummi Nation’s Orca Tokitae totem pole on Thurs., June 13, 6-8:00 pm at Old City Hall, as it journeys back home after traveling across the country. Making stops along the West Coast, hundreds will gather at various venues in support of the Lummi Nation’s mission to bring their beloved Orca Tokitae back to her native waters and family in the Salish Sea. Tokitae is the last surviving orca whale taken from the Salish Sea 40 years ago and remains in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium. The Totem Pole Journey from Miami to Seattle calls on the Seaquarium to take action now in planning the release of Tokitae to the Lummi Nation, and for all people to make a commitment to restore and protect Tokitae’s family and the home she knows as the Salish Sea.
The Tokitae totem will be parked outside of Old City Hall on 121 Prospect Street for the community to see. Beginning at 6:00 pm, guest speakers, including the Whatcom Museum’s Executive Director Patricia Leach, Mayor Kelli Linville, and Representatives Debra Lekanoff (40th District Washington State Legislature) and Sharon Shewmake (42nd District Washington State Legislature) will share the importance of this journey. Lummi House of Tears carvers Jewell James and Doug James will speak and share a song, and Lummi Council Member Fredrick Lane will emcee. Additional performances by Lummi student poet Duran Jefferson, poet Rachael Andersen, singer songwriter Dana Lyons, and singer Julie Trimingham will be included. At the event, the Lummi will announce a new name for Tokitae in a centuries-old tradition. The evening will end with a procession outside of Old City Hall to the totem pole for a blessing offered by local faith leaders.
What: A free homecoming event in support of Lummi Nation’s Totem Pole Journey to call for the return of their beloved Orca Tokitae, and a call for a commitment to restore and protect her family and the Salish Sea they call home.
When: Thurs., June 13, 6 – 8:00 PM
Where: Whatcom Museum Old City Hall, 121 Prospect Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
Participating Speakers & Performers:
Patricia Leach, Whatcom Museum Executive Director or Elizabeth Joffrion, Whatcom Museum Foundation Board President
Lummi Council Member Fredrick Lane
City of Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville
Rep. Sharon Shewmake, 42nd District Washington State Legislature
Rep. Debra Lekanoff, 40th District Washington State Legislature
Lummi House of Tears Master Carver Jewell James
Lummi House of Tears Carver Doug James
Lummi Nation Student Poet Duran Jefferson
Poet Rachael Andersen
Singer-Songwriter Dana Lyons
Singer Julie Trimingham
Voices for the Salish Sea
Rev. Charis Weathers (Echoes Lutheran),
Rev. Paul Beckel (Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship),
Rev. Jaco Ten Hove (Unitarian Universalist)
Our Sacred Sea website: https://sacredsea.org/
Whatcom Museum Foundation Board of Trustees, Museum Advocates, and Museum Docents Recognized at Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 15, 2019; Bellingham, WA—Mayor Kelli Linville will honor the Whatcom Museum Foundation Board of Trustees, the Museum Advocates, and the Museum Docents tonight, Wednesday, May 15, at the 40th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards. The event will take place at the Mount Baker Theatre in the Walton Theatre beginning with a short reception at 5:30pm followed by an awards ceremony at 6pm. The event is free and open to the public.
The Mayor’s Arts Awards honors local artists, organizations, and performances that have significantly contributed to the arts in the community. Award winners are chosen based on nominations submitted by community members.
The Whatcom Museum is proud to have its volunteer groups recognized for their contributions to the arts in Bellingham. The volunteer Board of Trustees, Museum Advocates, and Museum Docents contribute countless hours of service to the Museum’s diverse visitor base, through public programs, as well as behind-the-scenes activities. The Museum is grateful to those who volunteer their time and talent to the organization.
The Whatcom Museum Foundation Board of Trustees is comprised of seventeen volunteer members who serve three-year terms. Board members support the Museum by setting governing policies and overseeing operations of the organization. The Whatcom Museum Advocates (formerly known as the Guild) are a long-standing volunteer group, founded in 1968, who support the Museum in its mission through volunteer service, fundraising, and outreach, while providing social opportunities, community, and fellowship. The Whatcom Museum Docents are volunteer educators and ambassadors for the Museum, committed to making art, history, ethnography, and natural history accessible and enjoyable to the Museum’s diverse audiences through multiple weekly public and private tours of current exhibitions.
For more information about the Mayor’s Arts Awards visit https://www.cob.org/news/Pages/features/Mayor-annouces-Mayors-Arts-Award-recipients.aspx.
Bellingham National 2019 Juried Art Exhibition and Awards People’s Choice Award Winner Announced
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 13, 2019, Bellingham, WA—The Whatcom Museum is pleased to announce the People’s Choice award winner for the exhibition Bellingham National 2019 Juried Art Exhibition and Awards. Artist Patti Bowman from Seattle, Wash., was chosen as the winning artist for her encaustic painting on panel entitled, Wave I. Bowman will receive a $500 cash award.
In Bowman’s artist statement she reflects on her work: “Staring at the ocean will wash your soul. It is the beginning of the world and the place that we all come from. The shore is a place where evolution can still be watched in real time, occurring in the same way it always did. Looking up and down the beach gives some sense of the scale and humility of that process, a non-linear unfolding in which there is no forwards, no backwards, no progress, no ‘better,’ no ‘good.’ Only constant shifting…Standing at the edge of the ocean helps bring me to the indifferent, non-linear, non-rational essence of the natural world, and I like it there.”
Bellingham National, which highlights the theme of “Water’s Edge: Landscapes for Today,” features two-dimensional landscape art. The artworks range from traditional interpretations of the observed landscape to the metaphoric and spiritual manifestations of the landscape through image, language, and mapping of our response to nature and the world. Fifty-seven artists from across the United States were chosen by guest juror Bruce Guenther, Adjunct Curator for Special Exhibitions at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education.
The “Juror’s Choice” awards were announced during the exhibition opening on Fri., Feb. 1 at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building. Bowman was awarded the third place Juror’s Choice award, receiving a $500 prize. The first-place prize of $2,000 was awarded to Philip Govedare for his oil on canvas, “Artifact.” The second-place prize of $1,000 was awarded to Natalie Niblack for her oil on canvas, “Watershed.”
Bellingham National features artwork that spans a broad range of media, from watercolor to oil painting, photography to collage and fiber art, as well as various styles of working from hyperrealism to abstraction. The exhibition closes Sun., May 19. Learn more at www.whatcommuseum.org/ exhibition/bellingham-national-2019/
Whatcom Museum Hosts Variety of Modern Quilting Workshops and Programs for Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 2, 2019; Bellingham, WA—The Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., is offering a variety of exciting workshops and programs as part of the upcoming exhibition, Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century, which will be on exhibit June 1, 2019 through August 25, 2019 at the Museum’s Lightcatcher building. Co-presented by the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum of La Conner, the related programming will offer opportunities for hands-on design and sewing, unique perspectives from quilters and conversations about current trends in modern quilting.
The Museum will host a panel of male modern quilters on June 8 for a discussion about “Material Men,” highlighting the work of emerging and innovative male quiltmakers. On July 13 and 14, nationally renowned modern quilt artist Luke Haynes, whose work is featured in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the American Folk Art Museum and the headquarters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will offer a hands-on workshop, “Clothes to Quilts,” using recycled clothing and modern techniques. Haynes will also give a lecture about “Artquilttexture,” sharing his career as an “architect-quilter.”
On July 27 and 28, Northwest fiber artist Marla Varner will give a lecture, “Modern with a Hint of Vintage,” describing how her quilts evolved from traditional designs to a modern aesthetic. She will also lead an introduction to hand quilting workshop that will focus on modern designs. More information about these workshops and programs, including registration, can be found at www.whatcommuseum.org/learn-2/calendar/ or at www.qfamuseum.org/workshops.html.
About Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century
Visitors will experience the power of modern quilting in this exhibition of 63 innovative and inspiring quilts that represent the best of the past decade. Curated by the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG), the exhibition offers the opportunity to learn the history of modern quilting from its earliest roots to its influence today within the arts community. In addition to the unique display of quilts, the Museum will also feature a variety of hands-on activities inside the gallery for visitors of all ages. Workshops, lectures and other featured events will provide opportunities for Museum visitors to connect more deeply to the exhibition, and to learn about the modern twist to this ancient craft.
Modern Quilts is curated by Riane Menardi Morrison, Alissa Haight Carlton and Heather Grant of MQG and features quilts from the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway and Germany. Learn more at www.whatcommuseum.org/exhibition/modern-quilts/. Support for this exhibition is provided by the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, Mary Summerfield & Mike O’Neal, the City of Bellingham, the Whatcom Museum Foundation and the Whatcom Museum Advocates.
About the Modern Quilt Guild:
The Modern Quilt Guild is a nonprofit organization reaching nearly 15,000 quilters across six continents, in 39 countries. The Guild’s mission is to support the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education and community. Learn more at www.themodernquiltguild.com.
About the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum:
Located at 703 North 2nd Street in La Conner, Wash., the mission of the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum is to present exhibitions and educational programs in all fiber arts that enrich and inspire, honor cultural traditions and celebrate the creative spirit. Its collection focuses on the textiles of the Pacific Rim that both exemplify tradition and reflect contemporary trends. The collection serves both exhibition and educational purposes, and ensures its preservation for future artists, enthusiasts and students. Find out more at www.qfamuseum.org/. Members of the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum can receive free entry into the Modern Quilts exhibition and related lectures, as well as member discounts for quilt-related workshops. These discounts will be applied by presenting their current membership card at the front admission desks at the Lightcatcher building and Old City Hall. Whatcom Museum members can receive free entry into the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum between June 1 – August 25 by showing their current membership card to the admissions desk.
Set Sail with the Museum’s 36th Annual History Sunset Cruises
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, May 1, 2019—The Whatcom Museum is excited to offer the 36th annual History Sunset Cruises this summer along Bellingham Bay. Partnering again with San Juan Cruises for tour operation, the weekly cruises, which sail the last week of June, July, August, and the first week of September, will be offered on Tuesday evenings and will depart from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven.
Starting Tuesday, June 25, and continuing each Tuesday through September 3, the Whatcom Museum’s popular summer cruises will take locals and visitors aboard the 100-foot Victoria Star tour boat. Participants get great close-up views of parks, businesses, industry, and neighborhoods from Bellingham Bay, with Bellingham historians Brian Griffin or Doug Starcher serving as tour guides. They will tie their knowledge of local history with up-to-date facts about bayside activities. Their narrative of history, trivia, and current events makes cruise guests feel they are becoming experts on their community, and gives new understanding of the area to both locals and visitors.
“It feels like summer is coming earlier each year, so we are excited to get outside beginning this June to enjoy the history of this beautiful region while cruising along the bay,” said Patricia Leach, Executive Director of the Whatcom Museum.
The Victoria Star leaves from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven, boarding at 6:15pm, with a prompt 6:30pm sailing, and an 8:30pm return. The boat has indoor and outdoor seating on two levels, an on-board snack bar, and a full bar with a selection of Northwest beers, wines, and cocktails for purchase. Restrooms are available on board. Guests are welcome to bring dinner, snacks, and beverages (non-alcoholic) for a picnic-style dinner while cruising.
Tickets go on sale May 1st and are $30 for Museum members and $35 general. A group rate of $28 per person is available for blocks of 12 or more tickets when purchased together. Purchase through www.BrownPaperTickets/event/4191750, by calling 800/838.3006 ext. 1, or in-person at the Museum Store located at 250 Flora St. Bellingham, WA 98225. Proceeds from the History Sunset Cruise benefit Whatcom Museum exhibitions and educational programs. For more information about the history cruises visit www.whatcommuseum.org/history-sunset-cruise.
San Juan Cruises is located at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Avenue, Suite 104, Bellingham WA 98225. The Port of Bellingham charges $0.50/hour for parking, in the large lot with numbered spaces about 30 yards in front of the terminal building. Overnight parking is $6/day. There is free parking for up to 2 hours in front of the terminal. To learn more about San Juan Cruises visit Whales.com.
Modern Quilts Exhibition Travels to Whatcom Museum this Summer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2019; Bellingham, WA—Experience the power of modern quilting in an exhibition of 60 innovative and inspiring quilts that represent the best of the past decade. “Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century” is on exhibit June 1, 2019 through August 25, 2019 at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building in Bellingham, Wash. The show is curated by the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG) and offers the opportunity to learn the history of modern quilting from its earliest roots to its influence today within the arts community.
“This exhibition is important because it shows not only the influence of the historic tradition of quilting, but it also shows how modern quilters are breaking new ground and continue to create a new aesthetic,” said Patricia Leach, Executive Director of the Whatcom Museum. “These are not your grandmother’s quilts.”
In addition to the unique display of quilts, the Museum will also feature a variety of hands-on activities inside the gallery for visitors of all ages. Workshops, lectures, and other featured events will provide opportunities for Museum visitors to connect more deeply to the exhibition, and to learn about the modern twist to this ancient craft.
“We are thrilled to share this exhibit with the Whatcom Museum,” says Heather Grant, director of marketing and programming for MQG. “This is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to see some of the best modern quilts being made today.”
Modern quilts express today’s aesthetic through a generations-old traditional craft, embracing modern design while honoring the past. Over several decades, modern quilts have evolved into their own unique branch of quilting. From the graphic work of Amish quilters to the legendary quilts of Gee’s Bend, modern quilts have been influenced by many hands and voices. Today they embody the best of functional art and design, featuring graphic color palettes, bold design elements, expansive negative space, and alternate gridwork while maintaining traditional quilt construction: three layers bound together by quilting.
“Modern Quilts” is curated by Riane Menardi Morrison, Alissa Haight Carlton, and Heather Grant of MQG and features quilts from the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway, and Germany. Learn more at www.whatcommuseum.org/exhibition/modern-quilts/
About the Modern Quilt Guild:
The Modern Quilt Guild is a nonprofit organization reaching nearly 15,000 quilters across six continents, in 39 countries. The Guild’s mission is to support the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education, and community. Learn more at www.themodernquiltguild.com.
Bellingham National 2019 Juror Announces Top Three Artists
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 8, 2019; Bellingham, WA— Guest Juror Bruce Guenther announced the top three “Juror’s Choice” award winners at the Whatcom Museum’s opening reception of Bellingham National 2019 Juried Art Exhibition and Awards on Fri., Feb. 1, 2019. The first place prize of $2,000 was awarded to Philip Govedare for his oil on canvas, “Artifact.” The second place prize of $1,000 was awarded to Natalie Niblack for her oil on canvas, “Watershed.” The third place prize of $500 was awarded to Patti Bowman for her encaustic on panel, “Wave 1.”
The exhibition opened to the public on Sat., Feb. 2 at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building. The theme of this exhibition is Water’s Edge: Landscapes for Today and will be showing through May 19, 2019.
Bellingham National features artwork that spans a broad range of media, from watercolor to oil painting, photography to collage and fiber art, as well as various styles of working from hyperrealism to abstraction. Fifty-seven artists from across the United States were chosen by guest juror Bruce Guenther, Adjunct Curator for Special Exhibitions at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. In addition to the Juror’s Choice Award, visitors have an opportunity to have their voices heard through a “People’s Choice” award of $500, to be announced the last week of the exhibition.
About Bruce Guenther: Art historian and independent curator Bruce Guenther is currently serving as Adjunct Curator for Special Exhibitions at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. A specialist in post-war American and European Art, Guenther was the Chief Curator and Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Portland Art Museum, Oregon, until his retirement in 2014. Previously he was the Chief Curator at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois, and head of the Modern Art Program at the Seattle Art Museum, Washington. He has curated major monographic and thematic exhibitions internationally, and authored numerous books and exhibition catalogues.
Whatcom Museum Welcomes New Education and Curatorial Staff
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 16, 2019; Bellingham, WA—The Whatcom Museum is pleased to announce the addition of four new staff members. In the fall, the Museum hired Sarah Hart as the Education and Engagement Manager, Drew Whatley as the Museum Educator and Cyndi O’Brien as the Family Interactive Gallery Educator and Floor Supervisor. Joining the Museum staff this January is Amy Chaloupka as Curator of Art.
The new staff members bring a broad range of art, history and educational backgrounds, important for the Museum’s multi-disciplinary programs and exhibitions. Their expertise and professionalism will support the Museum’s mission of providing interactive and engaging experiences about art, nature and Northwest history to people of all ages.
Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sarah Hart graduated from the University of Denver with a Master in Curriculum and Instruction and has worked both in schools and museums. She was most recently the Coordinator of Tour Programs at the Denver Art Museum. Hart said, “I am devoted to creating engaging and thoughtful programming for learners of all ages and am excited about the new opportunities the Whatcom Museum presents to be innovative, daring and creative. I am also so happy to be in Bellingham and invigorated by Whatcom County and the surrounding areas.”
Drew Whatley joins the Museum from Orange, Texas, where he had been working as an Educator for Public History at the Stark Foundation. Whatley has a Bachelor of Art in History with a minor in Classics, and a Master of Arts in Teaching, both from Austin College in Sherman, Texas. With a background in both history and teaching, he designs programs, leads field trips and enjoys making history come alive for people of all ages. Whatley’s excited about learning the cultures and unique history of this area while considering new and innovative ways to share that information with both children and adults.
Cyndi O’Brien has an extensive background in environmental education and has spent many years teaching outdoor nature school and wilderness living skills to people of all ages, from preschool children to adults. Most recently she was an educational consultant and lead educator with the Fidalgo Nature School. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Education and said she is “delighted to work in a place where she can combine her passions for art, education and nature.”
“We are delighted to build our Museum’s educational impact with such an experienced group of museum professionals,” said Executive Director Patricia Leach. “Their skills will result in wonderful offering for our community.”
In addition to the new education team members, the Museum hired a new Curator of Art, Amy Chaloupka. A familiar name to the organization, Chaloupka guest-curated the exhibition Colorfast: Vivid Installations Make Their Mark for the Whatcom Museum in 2016. The exhibition featured large-scale installations created by four artists. Chaloupka’s careful planning, research and conceptualization of the exhibition were integral to the success of the show.
Chaloupka has more than 10 years of experience curating in museum settings, taking complex and creative exhibition concepts and transforming them into dynamic and approachable experiences for diverse audiences. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art from Western Washington University and a Master of Fine Art in Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has exhibited widely and created several public works, including permanent installations in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Chicago, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin.
“The Museum is thrilled to bring on board such a talented, creative and thoughtful curator of art with a stellar reputation,” said Leach. “It is wonderful that our museum staff had already worked with Amy previously for the Colorfast exhibition.”
Chaloupka serves on the Arts Commission for the City of Bellingham, lectures and teaches within the Art and Art History Department at Western Washington University and curates museum exhibitions, most recently: Crossover: Cruce de Vias, at the Western Gallery at Western Washington University in 2015 and Nek Chand: The World in A Garden at the Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 2017. She is also an independent curator for Kloop Studios, a design and curatorial consultancy based in Bellingham. Her most recent project has been leading the design of two permanent collection exhibition spaces for the Kohler Arts Center’s new Art Preserve building, slated to open in the Fall of 2020.
Of her new position at the Whatcom Museum, Chaloupka said, “I could not be more excited to hit the ground running and carry forth the Museum’s mission to develop dynamic and interactive programming related to our cultural, natural and historical landscapes. I am passionate about making art accessible and inclusive to the broadest audiences possible and provide opportunities for thoughtful conversation and increased understanding for one another. I am excited for the opportunity to collaborate with my new colleagues and connect with our community in this way through the arts.” The Whatcom Museum takes a multi-pronged approach to developing and displaying exhibitions. The process from exhibit proposal to installation to take-down involve a variety of people, from the director of exhibitions to the curator of art to the exhibition committee to the executive director. The Museum presents art and history exhibitions that are curated in-house, guest-curated or traveling from other museums and organizations. This approach allows for a broad variety of perspectives, artwork and stories to be shared. Chaloupka will be an integral member of the exhibition team, both curating exhibitions, as well as providing critical support to traveling and guest-curated exhibitions.