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Museum Employee and Professional Artist David Miller Brings Prehistoric Creatures to Life

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant

David W. Miller, American, b. 1957; Quetzalcoatlus, 2002; Oil and acrylic on illustration board, 16 x 12 in. Courtesy of the New York State Museum, Albany.

On a Thursday afternoon in October David Miller, the Museum’s Preparator, sat at his desk in the attic of Old City Hall and thumbed through the many binders full of his old paintings.

He was in search of a piece he had created many years ago. With each turned page he uncovered a new prehistoric creature like some sort of artistic archeologist. Every so often he would come across a work that piqued his interest and he would make a quick comment or two about its history.

Finally, he came across the piece he was looking for. It depicted the prehistoric flying beast Quetzalcoatlus as it soared above a North American forest millions of years ago. The piece, titled Quetzalcoatlus after the creature it depicts, was notable because one block away a reproduction was on display at the Lightcatcher building as part of the Museum’s exhibition Endangered Species: Artists on the Frontline of Biodiversity.

“I think it’s an effective drawing. The forced perspective re ally shows you the immensity of the creature,” Miller said as he mused over the piece. Getting the immensity of the creature was essential. Quetzalcoatlus, with an imposing 52-foot wingspan, was the largest flying animal to ever exist, after all.

Miller originally painted Quetzalcoatlus in 2002 for a book on Pterosaurs. The painting ultimately didn’t get published, however. In 2004 he took the piece to the Paleo Art Show at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the piece was awarded Best 2D Artwork.

Quetzalcoatlus isn’t Miller’s only painting depicting a dinosaur. In fact, much of his career as a professional artist has been centered around creating scientifically-accurate depictions of prehistoric animals. Read more

Madeline von Foerster: Painting Humanity’s Role in Species Destruction

Madeline von Foerster stands next to her painting, Carnival Insectivora, during the opening ceremony of Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity.

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant

 

In fourth grade, Madeline von Foerster was asked to do a report on an animal for class. She opted to do her report on an extinct animal. At the time she was also developing a passion for art. With those two facts in mind, it’s no surprise that many years later she would be creating art that highlights the plight of endangered and extinct animals.

Von Foerster has built a career out of commenting on the role humanity plays in the destruction of animal species through her paintings. Two of her paintings, Carnival Insectivora and Reliquary for Rabb’s Frog, can be found in the Museum’s exhibition Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity, now showing at the Lightcatcher building.

Carnival Insectivora highlights endangerment of the infamous Venus flytrap, and Reliquary for Rabb’s Frog highlights the extinction of the Rabbs’ fringe-limbed treefrog.

“In both cases, I wanted to create a tribute or a shrine to threatened or extinct species, and also address humanity’s role in their fate,” von Foerster said in an interview with the Museum. Read more

5 Women Artists in the Whatcom Museum’s Collection: Dale Gottlieb

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant

Dale Gottlieb; Tuskegee Airmen, 1995; Hand-knotted wool rug, 8 x 5 ft. Purchased with funds donated by Chuck and Dee Robinson, WM #2004.28.1

Inspired by the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ challenge, “Can you name five women artists?” the Whatcom Museum is continuing the tradition it started last year and highlighting five female artists whose work is featured in our collection throughout the month of March—Women’s History Month. Follow us on social media and share our posts with your followers, or tell us your favorite women artists. Don’t forget to tag your posts #5WomenArtists.

Artist #4: Dale Gottlieb

Dale Gottlieb was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1952. From an early age she was frequently exposed to the art world. Almost every Saturday morning she would go to the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It was at this museum that Gottlieb became heavily inspired by African art. She also drew inspiration from her environment growing up. Raised in Brooklyn during the 1950s, Gottlieb was constantly surrounded by people from a diverse range of religious beliefs, races, and sexual orientations.

Up until the 8th grade, she attended Brooklyn’s Ethical Culture School. This alternative school emphasized a curriculum based on philosophy and humanitarianism.

Gottlieb attended the School of Art and Design at Alfred University, in New York, in the 70s. At the age of 20, she postponed her studies for a couple of months to travel to India and stay at a Hindu ashram. While in India, she was deeply touched by the spiritual rituals and considered staying in India, but eventually decided that continuing her work as an artist was her true calling. She returned to Alfred University and finished her degree with honors in 1975.  Read more

5 Women Artists in the Whatcom Museum’s Collection: Doris Totten Chase

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant

Inspired by the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ challenge, “Can you name five women artists?” the Whatcom Museum is continuing the tradition it started last year and highlighting five female artists whose work is featured in our collection throughout the month of March—Women’s History Month. Follow us on social media and share our posts with your followers, or tell us your favorite women artists. Don’t forget to tag your posts #5WomenArtists.

Doris Totten Chase; Sun Disc, 1980; Silkscreen print, 22 x 30 in. Gift of Doris Totten Chase, Whatcom Museum # 2003.51.12.

Artist #3: Doris Totten Chase 

Doris Totten Chase was an influential figure in early computer-generated art. Her early experimentations helped defined the future of the medium and expressed themes about the lives of women.

Chase was born in Seattle on April 29, 1923. In 1941 she graduated from Roosevelt High School and began to study architecture at the University of Washington. It wasn’t long after this that she met Elmo Chase, a lieutenant in the US Navy, and dropped out in 1943.

Chase’s introduction to the art world came after the birth of her first child. After suffering from an emotional breakdown, Chase decided to explore new interests and discovered a talent for painting.

She originally studied oil panting under prominent Northwest artists like Jacob Elshin, Nickolas Damascus, and Mark Tobey. She found her first success in 1948 when one of her paintings was accepted into the Seattle Art Museum’s Northwest Annual Exhibition.

Chase continued to work in the Pacific Northwest and make a name for herself, coming up against many biases that affected Northwest women artists at the time. Gradually, she shifted mediums, going from oil painting to cement work to outdoor sculptures. Her artwork began to include interactive elements that invited viewers to move the art around for further exploration. One of her more recognized pieces was the sculpture Changing Form, in Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. The sculpture, which was made at a time when sculpting was considered a man’s art, became one of Seattle’s most widely recognized pieces of art. Read more

5 Women Artists in the Whatcom Museum’s Collection: Maria Frank Abrams

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant

Inspired by the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ challenge, “Can you name five women artists?” the Whatcom Museum is continuing the tradition it started last year and highlighting five female artists whose work is featured in our collection throughout the month of March—Women’s History Month. Follow us on social media and share our posts with your followers, or tell us your favorite women artists. Don’t forget to tag your posts #5WomenArtists.

Artist #2: Maria Frank Abrams

Maria Frank Abrams, (1924-2013); Untitled, 1977; Graphite on paper, 13.25 x 21.25 in. Whatcom Museum #2008.78.3. Gift of the artist.

Maria Frank Abrams’ life was one of tragedy, perseverance, and beauty. Her powerful paintings were seen by people around the world and touched the hearts of those in the Pacific Northwest

Born in 1924 to a Jewish family, Abrams grew up in Debrecen, Hungary. At five years old, she began to paint. However, her life was forever changed when, at the age of 19, her family was taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland in 1944.

According to the Washington Jewish Museum, during her time in the concentration camp, Abrams was able to find pencils and paper, and women in the camp would ask her to draw what they looked like before the war. From this experience, she said she was able to find some sort of reality in the “unreal tortured world that we lived in.” By the end of the war, she had lost 33 relatives; only one cousin had survived. Read more

Holiday Shopping at the Museum Store

Boxed card sets by MoMA and Pomegranate.

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant

With the holidays quickly approaching, you may be wondering what gifts you’re going to give your friends and family this year. Look no further than the Whatcom Museum’s Store inside the Lightcatcher building. The Museum Store has an assortment of items to fit anyone’s tastes and budget. Here are a variety of featured items you should consider for your next holiday gifts. Members receive 10% off purchase, and don’t forget, memberships make great gifts, too!  Read more

A Closer Look at Art of the American West

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant

When you first walk into Art of the American West: Highlights of the Haub Family Collection from the Tacoma Art Museum at the Lightcatcher building, you’re met with a brilliant, colorful painting depicting a Native American man. As you look to your left, your gaze falls upon a portrait of another Native American man painted in 1851 by Paul Kane. But if you look more closely at this painting something else may catch your gaze: two large medals that are affixed to the sash on the chief.

A patron looks at “Portrait of Maungwudaus,” c.1851 by Paul Kane (1810-1871). Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in. Courtesy of the Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub.

This seems like a peculiar sight. “Medals?” You may ask. “What are these medals for and who awarded them?” The answers to these questions are quite interesting.

The man depicted in this painting is Maungwudaus, meaning the great “hero” or “courageous,” (known by his English name, George Henry). Maungwudaus was born circa 1807 on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario and was an Ojibwa interpreter, performer, and Methodist mission worker. In 1844 he formed a travelling Native American dance troupe, which included members of his own family and several Walpole Island Ojibwa. They traveled to Britain, France and Eastern North America to perform, and the show gained quite the reputation. Maungwudaus had the opportunity to perform for royalty such as the Duke of Wellington, King Louis Philippe of France and the king and queen of Belgium. The group continued to perform for several years in Canada and the US after leaving Europe.

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Making Faces: Masks and Masquerading Around the World

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant

Author Marty Rubin once said that, “behind every mask there is a face, and behind that a story.” These stories allow us to see the world in a better light. The Whatcom Museum invites you to join us as we explore masks and the stories behind them.

Masks carved by Native American artists from the Northwest will also be on display, presenting a

Tsonokwa Mask, carved by Scott Jensen

modern take on traditional masks from tribes around the region. At the event, you can learn how Pacific Northwest tribes used masks in their celebratory and religious ceremonies. Guests will also be able to try on several hands-on masks made in traditional Northwest Coast Native styles and make their own three-dimensional masks.

“Masks have played an important role in many tribal traditions throughout the world. They’re used for so many things, from ceremonies to ensure a good harvest or successful hunts and fishing,  to scaring away demons and curing illness. For some northernmost Native American tribes, masks hold sacred meaning and are used to convey ancient stories.” said Susanna Brooks, the Director of Learning Innovation at Whatcom Museum.

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Transcending Boundaries: Becoming Helmi

The Whatcom Museum’s online virtual exhibitions feature a variety of historic photographs, artwork, and ephemera that visitors can view at their leisure. Recently, the Museum has uploaded a new virtual gallery that showcases a sampling of artwork by Helmi Juvonen (1903-1985), which can be viewed HERE. Scroll down to learn more about the life Helmi.

Helmi Juvonen, Vantage, circa 1975-1976;
Gouache on rice paper. Gift of Dr. Ulrich & Stella Fritzsche.

Transcending Boundaries: Becoming Helmi

Helmi Dagmar Juvonen (1903-1985) was a Seattle-based artist who found success capturing the culture of Native American tribes across the Pacific Northwest. She was a persistent artist who strived to create art in a time where being a female artist was tough. Even as she struggled with poverty and mental illness, Helmi continued to create art until her final days.

Finding Her Love and Audience

Born in Butte Montana in 1903, Helmi found her love of art at a young age from her father, a Finnish immigrant, who made pencil sketches and watercolor paintings for her and her sister. When she was 15, her family moved to Seattle. During the time that she attended Queen Anne High School, Helmi sold handmade rag dolls and greeting cards at a local department store.

After graduating high school, she worked as a seamstress for a local company and took on small side jobs to pay her way through art school at Seattle Art School. Through these side jobs, Helmi established a line of connections that included affluent citizens and successful artists. In 1929, through one of these connections, Helmi got a scholarship to attended Cornish School (now Cornish College of the Arts) in 1929 where she studied puppetry and lithography. In 1930 she was hospitalized with manic-depressive illness (now known as bipolar disorder) and spent three years at Northern State Hospital.

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Events

EXHIBITION CLOSES: The Elephant in the Room

Today is the last day to see The Elephant in the Room: The Allure of Ivory and its Tragic Legacy. This exhibition explores 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.

Downtown Bellingham Art Walk at the Lightcatcher

Check out multiple interpretations on landscape art featured in Bellingham National 2019 Juried Art Exhibition and Awards at the Lightcatcher building. People of the Sea and Cedar will also be open. Admission to the Lightcatcher is free during Downtown Bellingham Art Walk.

Bellingham National 2019 Gallery Tour

Take a gallery tour of Bellingham National Juried Art Exhibition and Awards with our Education and Engagement Manager, Sarah Hart, to learn more about the artists’ interpretations of the exhibition theme, “Water’s Edge: Landscapes for Today.” Hart will also share some of Juror Bruce Guenther’s thoughts and perspectives about the selection process. Bellingham National features artwork by 59 artists from across the US, which range from traditional interpretations of the observed landscape to metaphoric and spiritual manifestations of landscape. Works span a broad range of media, from watercolor to oil painting, photography to collage and fiber art.

Note: Juror Bruce Guenther will not attend the Gallery Tour.

Image credit: Amy Ferron; Over Our Heads, 2016; Acrylic paint and paper on wood, 36 x 36 in. Courtesy of the artist.


TWO DIFFERENT, UNIQUE EXHIBITIONS HIGHLIGHT CALIFORNIA ARTIST DIEBENKORN, NATIVE PRINTMAKERS

Richard Diebenkorn; Untitled, c.1988-92; Gouache, pasted paper, graphite, and crayon on paper, 9 1/2 x 6 3/8 in. (24.1 x 16.2 cm). Catalogue raisonné no. 4695 © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, March 26, 2018—The Whatcom Museum is pleased to host two traveling exhibitions that feature distinct styles from renowned artists. The Intimate Diebenkorn: Works on Paper 1949-1992, organized by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, features drawings and paintings on paper by this important modernist who lived from 1922-1993. Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts at 25, organized by the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in partnership with the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, chronicles the history of one of the most important Native printmaking ateliers in the country. Both exhibitions will be on display at the Museum’s Lightcatcher building May 19 – August 19, 2018.

The Intimate Diebenkorn presents drawings, watercolors, oils, and gouaches on paper, showing the artist’s stylistic evolution through more than 40 years of his work. Richard Diebenkorn was an internationally-acclaimed California artist whose work is associated with Abstract Expressionism and the Bay Area Figurative Movement. He earned a reputation for creating ethereal, large-scale abstractions, though he returned to smaller formats in his final years. The artist interpreted landscapes and human figures in a unique way, creating a delicate balance between abstraction and representation.

“We are very excited to be bringing this exhibition from the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, especially at a time when a larger, more extensive traveling exhibition of his work is making its way around the country,” said Patricia Leach, Executive Director of the Whatcom Museum. “Although Richard Diebenkorn is mainly recognized as a California artist, he was born in Portland, Ore., so it is nice that we can claim him as a Pacific Northwest artist too!”

Diebenkorn’s artwork, created during periods living and teaching in New Mexico and California, “are the works of a modern master,” as noted by Chester Arnold, Sonoma-based painter and curator of The Intimate Diebenkorn. His personal experiences, especially the California landscape, shaped his style, perspective, and career.

Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts at 25 features 75 prints drawn from the Crow’s Shadow Print Archive. Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts is a nationally recognized printmaking studio, and the only studio located on a reservation community in the United States. Sited on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton, Oregon, the studio brings together Native and non-Native artists from around the world to make prints under the guidance and direction of master printmaker Frank Janzen.

Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke, b. 1981); iilaalée = car (goes by itself) + ii = by means of which + dáanniili = we parade 2015, ed. 20; Nine-color lithograph on Somerset Satin white paper with chine-collé archival pigment ink photographs on Moab Entrada paper, 24 x 38 in. Courtesy Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts.

“The Whatcom Museum is both pleased and proud to be bringing works from this well-established press,” said Leach. “Many of the artists represented are recognized contemporary Native American and Indigenous Artists.”

The artwork in Crow’s Shadow focuses on themes of abstraction, landscape, media and process, portraiture, and words and image. The exhibition includes text panels, chat panels, and a video that highlights the history and location of the studio. Featured artists include Rick Bartow (Wiyot), Pat Boas (US), Joe Feddersen (Colville Confederated Tribes), Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne), Brenda Mallory (Cherokee), Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke), and Marie Watt (Seneca), among others.

The Intimate Diebenkorn: Works on Paper 1949-1992 is organized by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, Berkeley, California, with additional support provided by the Whatcom Museum Advocates, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham. Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts at 25 is organized by the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in partnership with the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, with additional support provided by Mary Summerfield and Mike O’Neal, the Whatcom Museum Advocates, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham. Both exhibitions will be on view through August 19, 2018 at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora Street. The member reception will take place Friday, May 18, 5 – 7 PM at the Lightcatcher building.

THOUGHT-PROVOKING EXHIBITION TO EXPLORE ENDANGERED SPECIES AND BIODIVERSITY

Isabella Kirkland; Gone, from the Taxa series, 2004; (63 species made extinct by human activities since 1700 and the colonization of the New World). Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel; 48 x 36 in. Private Collection.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, January 30, 2018—The Whatcom Museum presents Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity, an interdisciplinary exhibition featuring 80 works of art, from rare books to cutting edge video, that span the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. It opens September 8, 2018 in the Museum’s Lightcatcher building and closes January 6, 2019.

Endangered Species highlights an international group of 52 artists who celebrate biodiversity’s beauty, interpret natural and human-induced extinctions of plants and animals, and focus on species from diverse ecosystems under stress. It also includes the work of artists who spotlight the human activities that threaten biodiversity alongside projects that revitalize habitats and reconnect people to the rich tapestry of life.

“We often read news headlines with alarming statistics and then turn the page,” said Barbara Matilsky, exhibition curator and Curator of Art at the Whatcom Museum. “Artists take this information and create images that inspire emotional and thought-provoking responses. Hopefully, ‘Endangered Species’ will stimulate visitors to help preserve the planet and its biodiversity.”

Exhibition spotlights important thematic concepts
The first theme, Celebrating Biodiversity’s Beauty and Complexity: From Landscapes to Microscopic Imagery, focuses 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 what biodiversity is about and why it is important.

The second theme, Mammoths and Dinosaurs: Interpreting Natural Extinction, introduces the concept of 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 will showcase illustrated books and preliminary paintings for these majestic landscapes.

In the third theme, Portraits of Loss: Extinction by Human Actions, visitors can explore how artists transform scientific documentation about early human-induced extinctions of the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon, among others, into stirring portraits and still life paintings. Their artworks reflect meticulous research and 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.

The plants and animals interpreted by artists in the fourth theme, Endangered Species: Plants and Animals on the Edge of Survival, symbolize the threatened ecosystems in which they live 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. An illustrated timeline highlighting conservation milestones will be exhibited here.

Contemporary artists not only portray animal and plant species at risk, they also interpret the human actions that lead to their precarious status: habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, population growth, and overhunting and fishing. These issues will be explored in the final theme, At the Crossroads: Destruction or Preservation of Biodiversity. Within this area, the challenges facing several biodiversity hotspots, such as tropical rainforests and coral reefs, will be highlighted.

An uplifting narrative is interwoven throughout this section by including examples of how artists collaborate across disciplines to revive habitats and engage humans with the natural world. These multi-media projects serve as inspiring models for individual and community grass roots efforts towards environmental restoration and education.

Endangered Species has been organized with the intent of impacting public discourse about biodiversity while advancing the artist’s pivotal role in building awareness. By tracing links between contemporary and earlier artists, the exhibition examines art’s contribution to an enduring cultural legacy of nature conservation.

Featured artists include John James Audubon, Brandon Ballengée, Nick Brandt, Edward Burtynsky, George Catlin, Catherine Chalmers, Mark Dion, Madeline von Foerster, Nicholas Galanin, Ernst Haeckel, Martin Johnson Heade, Patricia Johanson, Chris Jordan, Isabella Kirkland, Charles R. Knight, David Liittschwager, John Martin, Courtney Mattison, Susan Middleton, Alexis Rockman, Christy Rupp, Joel Sartore, Preston Singletary, Fred Tomaselli, Roman Vishniac, Andy Warhol, and Yang Yongliang, among many others. A full list of artists can be viewed on the exhibition webpage. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity is supported by major grants from The National Endowment for the Arts and The Norcliffe Foundation, with additional funding from the Whatcom Museum Advocates, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham. The exhibition opens September 8, 2018 and extends through January 6, 2019 in the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora Street, Bellingham, Wash.

VIEW press images. Images available upon request by contacting Christina Claassen, Marketing & PR Manager, cmclaassen@cob.org, 360.778.8936.

BELLINGHAM NATIONAL 2017 JURIED ART EXHIBITION AND AWARDS POPULAR CHOICE WINNER ANNOUNCED

Jenna Lynch, Mahopac, NY; Traveling Within, Feeling Through, Dreaming Beyond; The Lines. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 6, 2017, Bellingham, WA—-The Whatcom Museum is pleased to announce the popular choice winner for the exhibition Bellingham National 2017 Juried Art Exhibition and Awards. Artist Jenna Lynch, Mahopac, NY, was chosen as the winning artist for her installation, Traveling Within, Feeling Through, Dreaming Beyond: The Lines. Lynch will receive a $500 cash award.

Lynch’s artist statement says, “To create my drawing series, Traveling Between, Feeling Through, Dreaming Beyond: The Lines, I became a cartographer. I mapped my travels to various locations using colorful lines. Numerous watercolor tags document the places I have explored since 1999 including several states, and numerous European, Middle Eastern, and African countries. A few years ago, I began creating new linear systems for places I hope to visit, from Iceland to Iran. My drawing series also includes places I will never experience, from the surface of the moon and Venus to a landscape painted by Renoir, because when I imagine them, I feel restored.”

Bellingham National celebrates drawing in a wide variety of media and forms. Guest curator/juror, Catharina Manchanda, the Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Seattle Art Museum, proposed the thematic idea for this exhibition and selected work that expanded the boundaries of traditional drawing. While the artists in this exhibition work in a variety of media, the pieces selected represent a range of approaches to drawing, including narrative and representational modes, notation, transcription, mapping, and deconstruction.

THE WHATCOM MUSEUM RECEIVES $60,000 GRANT FROM NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS IN SUPPORT OF ENDANGERED SPECIES EXHIBITION

Isabella Kirkland; Gone, from the Taxa series, 2004; (63 species made extinct by human activities since 1700 and the colonization of the New World). Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel; 48 x 36 in. Private Collection.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, September 5, 2017 —The Whatcom Museum has been awarded a $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in support of the upcoming exhibition, Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity, which will be on exhibit September 8, 2018 – January 6, 2019 in the Lightcatcher building. The grant will assist the Museum in funding the loan of artworks from around the world, educational programming, and an exhibition catalogue. Endangered Species will explore artwork created by 50 artists who interpret the fragile balance of life on Earth through a wide range of media.

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017—a significant win for the arts during a time when NEA funding was at risk of federal budget cuts this year. (The NEA is proposed for elimination under the president’s 2018 budget.) Included in this announcement is the Art Works award of $60,000 to the Whatcom Museum, which was the highest amount given to a museum exhibition.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as the Whatcom Museum, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

As the only funder in the country to support arts activities in all 50 states and five US jurisdictions, this NEA funding round includes partnerships with state, jurisdictional, and regional arts agencies. Competition for NEA grants is significant, and the agency received 2,063 eligible applications. The value of NEA funding is not only its monetary impact, but also its reputation, as an NEA grant confers a seal of approval, allowing an organization to attract other public and private funds. The Art Works award is the NEA’s largest category and focuses on funding the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and strengthening of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and made 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The Whatcom Museum upholds the highest of best practices in the museology field, as an American Alliance of Museums accredited museum, and we are proud to receive this important funding in support of a topic that will highly resonate with our audiences in the Pacific Northwest,” said Patricia Leach, Executive Director of the Whatcom Museum. “Endangered Species will allow people of all ages to better understand the history and ongoing struggle for survival of plant and animal life through the works of these amazing artists, and hopefully make a lasting impression of what we can do to help make a better future for our environment.”

Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity presents 70 works of art in all media, from rare books to cutting-edge video, that span the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries. It highlights artists who celebrate biodiversity’s exquisite complexity, interpret natural and human-induced extinctions of plants and animals, and focus on endangered species from diverse ecosystems. The exhibition explores art’s historic role in raising public awareness about the human activities that threaten habitats. Weaving together art, natural science, and conservation, “Endangered Species” also features creative solutions by ecological artists who revitalize habitats and reconnect people to the rich tapestry of life. Featured artists include John James Audubon, Brandon Ballengée, Nick Brandt, Edward Burtynsky, George Catlin, Mark Dion, Madeline von Foerster, Nicholas Galanin, Ernst Haeckel, Patricia Johanson, Isabella Kirkland, David Liitschwager, Courtney Mattison, Alexis Rockman, Joel Sartore, Fred Tomaselli, and Andy Warhol, among many others.

“We often read news headlines with alarming statistics—60% of the world’s primates, including apes, lemurs and monkeys, face extinction—and then turn the page,” said Barbara Matilsky, exhibition curator, and Curator of Art at the Whatcom Museum. “Artists take this information and create imagery that inspires emotional and thought-provoking responses. They also collaborate with natural scientists and communities on ecological artworks that serve as models for revitalizing land and water-based biodiversity in urban and rural areas. Hopefully, Endangered Species will stimulate visitors to join with artists, scientists, and conservationists in preserving life’s biodiversity.”

Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity is supported by a major grant from The Norcliffe Foundation, with additional funding from the Whatcom Museum Foundation and the City of Bellingham. The exhibition will open September 8, 2018 and will be shown through January 6, 2019 in the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora Street, Bellingham, Wash.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.

WHATCOM MUSEUM SHOWCASES WESTERN AMERICAN ART FROM TACOMA ART MUSEUM’S HAUB FAMILY COLLECTION

Edgar Payne (American, 1883 – 1947); Desert Clouds, circa 1930; Oil on canvas; 20 x 24 in. Courtesy of the Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2015.29.11.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 5, 2017; Bellingham, WA—This fall, the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., will present 75 artworks on loan from the Tacoma Art Museum, featuring works of western American art, including bronze sculptures and paintings. Art of the American West: Highlights of the Haub Family Collection from the Tacoma Art Museum will be on exhibit at the Lightcatcher building September 30, 2017 – January 7, 2018. This collection of western American art is unrivaled in its scope in the Pacific Northwest.

“Western American Art is enjoying a huge resurgence in the country,” said Patricia Leach, Executive Director of the Whatcom Museum. “This is the first time the Haub Family Collection is on loan from the Tacoma Art Museum, and we believe this exhibition is going to ‘wow’ our visitors.”

Art of the American West includes prominent nineteenth-century artists who influenced 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 Maynard Dixon, E. Martin Hennings, Robert Henri, and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as 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.

“Tacoma Art Museum is thrilled that the Haub Family Collection is traveling to the Whatcom Museum. The 75 works in the exhibition span nearly two hundred years of American art history and are sure to impress visitors who can explore the portrayals—both real and imagined—of our iconic region,” said Faith Brower, Haub Curator of Western American Art at Tacoma Art Museum.

About the Haub Family Collection of Western American Art
In July 2012, Tacoma Art Museum announced the largest gift in the museum’s history by Erivan and Helga Haub of 295 western American works of art from their private collection. The donation has transformed Tacoma Art Museum into one of the leading museums in the country featuring western American art. The collection enables the Tacoma Art Museum to fully explore the art history of the West. Together with its Northwest collection, the museum offers a comprehensive understanding of the Northwest region as part of the expanded history of the West, and illuminates how that broad history has shaped regional artistic responses. For more information, visit www.tacomaartmuseum.org.

Art of the American West: Highlights of the Haub Family Collection from the Tacoma Art Museum was organized by Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Wash. 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.

WHATCOM MUSEUM HOSTS WHATCOM ARTIST STUDIO TOUR EXHIBITION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 31, 2017; Bellingham, WA—The Whatcom Museum is hosting the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour exhibition, August 4 – September 3, 2017 at Old City Hall. In anticipation of the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour in October, the Museum will be showcasing a diversity of artwork by participating artists in a variety of media. The exhibition will open on Friday, August 4, during Downtown Art Walk.

Brian O'Neill; Black/White V Bottle w/Flange. Mid-fire stoneware.

Brian O’Neill; Black/White V bottle with flange. Mid-fire stoneware. Courtesy of the artist.

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.

These diverse artists open their studios to the public October 7 – 8 and 14 – 15. Visitors can meet the artists and get a glimpse into their creative processes. A free guide can be picked up at the Whatcom Museum, as well as at many local businesses, to help visitors plan their route and visit the studios. It’s also a chance for the community to purchase fine art directly from artists. To learn more about the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour and to see a list of participating artists, visit www.studiotour.net.

The community is invited to the opening of the exhibition during the Downtown Bellingham Art Walk, Friday, August 4, 6 – 10pm at Old City Hall, 121 Prospect Street. Admission is free for this event.

About the Whatcom Museum
The Whatcom Museum offers a variety of exhibitions, programs, tours, and activities about art, nature, and Northwest history for all ages. Its multi-building campus is located in the heart of Bellingham’s downtown art district. Whatcom Artist Studio Tour exhibition will be on view August 4 – September 3, 2017 in Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St., Bellingham, WA 98225. Old City Hall is open Wednesdays – Sundays, Noon – 5 PM.

THE WHATCOM MUSEUM RECEIVES $50,000 GRANT FROM THE NORCLIFFE FOUNDATION IN SUPPORT OF ENDANGERED SPECIES EXHIBITION

Isabella Kirkland; Gone, from the Taxa series, 2004; (63 species made extinct by human activities since 1700 and the colonization of the New World). Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel; 48 x 36 in. Private Collection.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, June 22, 2017 —The Whatcom Museum has been awarded a $50,000 grant in support of the upcoming exhibition, Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity, which will be on exhibit September 8, 2018 – January 6, 2019 in the Lightcatcher building. The grant will assist the Museum in funding exhibition design, related educational programming, and an exhibition catalogue. The exhibition will explore artworks by an international group of artists who interpret the fragile balance of life on Earth through a wide range of media.

“We are thrilled to have the support of The Norcliffe Foundation for this exciting project,” said Patricia Leach, Executive Director of the Whatcom Museum. “The grant funds will assist us to assemble a truly impactful exhibition, and bring related high-quality educational programming to our community.”

Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity presents 70 works of art in various media, from rare books to cutting-edge video, that span the 19th through 21st centuries. It highlights artists who celebrate biodiversity’s exquisite complexity, interpret natural and human-induced extinctions of plants and animals, and focus on endangered species from diverse ecosystems. The exhibition explores art’s historic role in raising public awareness about the human activities that threaten habitats. Weaving together art, natural science, and conservation, Endangered Species also features creative solutions by ecological artists who revitalize habitats and reconnect people to the rich tapestry of life. Featured artists include Ernst Haeckel, George Catlin, Andy Warhol, Patricia Johanson, Isabella Kirkland, and David Liitschwager, among many others.

“We often read news headlines with alarming statistics—60% of the world’s primates, including apes, lemurs and monkeys, are facing extinction—and then turn the page,” said Barbara Matilsky, exhibition curator, and Curator of Art at the Whatcom Museum. “Artists take this information and create imagery that inspires emotional and thought-provoking responses. Hopefully, Endangered Species will stimulate visitors to join with artists, scientists, and conservationists in preserving life’s biodiversity.”

The Norcliffe Foundation is a private nonprofit family foundation established in 1952 by Paul Pigott with the intention of improving the quality of life of people in Puget Sound communities by the application of financial and human resources. Succeeding generations of the family have continued to support The Foundation in this tradition. Grants are given to nonprofit organizations, and areas of support include education, health, social services, civic improvement, religion, culture and the arts, the environment, historic preservation, and youth programs.

EXHIBITION OF MEXICAN AND CHICANA/O ARTWORK EXPLORES HISTORY, COMMUNITY-BUILDING AND CULTURAL CITIZENSHIP

Carmen Lomas Garza; Tamaledera; 1990, Lithograph on paper. Courtesy of The Mexican Museum.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, Jan. 17, 2017 — The Whatcom Museum is pleased to present “Images of Resilience: Chicana/o Art and its Mexican Roots” at the Lightcatcher building, opening Feb. 4 and showing through May 28, 2017. This exhibition, curated by Executive Director Patricia Leach, explores the development of Chicana/o art, from its beginnings in Mexican art of the early twentieth century, to the Chicana/o movement of the 1960s and ’70s, to its relevance today. Many of the artworks reflect how Chicana/o art has influenced community building, history making and cultural citizenship for Mexican-Americans and Chicana/os.

“The Whatcom Museum has not shown the work of these important artists before, and with a growing Latina/o population in both Whatcom and Skagit Counties, it is wonderful to be able to partner with the Mexican Museum in San Francisco and the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California, to bring the work of many well-known artists to the Pacific Northwest,” said Leach.

During the 1800s and early 1900s, Mexican artwork was largely influenced by artists academically trained in the European Academy style. After the revolution in 1910, the arts were dramatically changed, and artists outside of academia developed new styles. During this time, print-making through the creation of broadsheets—printed text accompanied by illustrations, usually printed on penny presses in Mexico City—became a way for artists to address politics and current events. “Images of Resilience” will feature examples of this art form created by José Guadalupe Posada in the early 1900s.

During the 1920s, a new style of art emerged in Mexico. Three internationally prominent artists known as “Los Tres Grandes”—Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco—were hired by the Mexican government to create identifiably Mexican art through murals. Their work emphasized cultural roots with a respect for non-Spanish traditions and instilled a patriotic pride in the Mexican people. A few select artworks by these artists will be displayed in the gallery to represent their contributions, including a Diego Rivera drawing from the Museum’s collection.

In contrast to the early works of the 1910s and ’20s, “Images of Resilience” will also present a variety of artists influenced by the Chicana/o movement of the 1960s and ’70s. Artists of this era, and in the decades following, were motivated by cultural reclamation and the 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—as well as, the new urbanized lives that Mexican-Americans were living, shown through pop culture, cars and Hollywood iconography.

“Within the context of the Chicana/o movement for social justice, artists took their place in creating images and forms of art that would help enlist others in this movement for human rights,” said artist and scholar Amalia Mesa-Bains. “The work of individual artists and collectives was often anchored in community-based organizations.”

“Images of Resilience” will feature the work of contemporary artists such as Patssi Valdez, Ester Hernandez, Carmen Lomas Garza, Gronk, Enrique Chagoya, Frank Romero, and many more. The exhibition will also include mixed-media paintings by Seattle artist Cecilia Concepción Alvarez, and prints and paintings by Seattle artist Alfredo Arreguín.

“Images of Resilience: Chicana/o Art and its Mexican Roots” is sponsored by Heritage Bank and will be on exhibition Feb. 4 through May 28, 2017 in the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St., Bellingham, Wash. 98225. The Lightcatcher is open Wed. – Sun., Noon – 5 PM. Members are invited to a member-only preview on Fri., Feb. 3, 5-7pm in the Lightcatcher.

Related programs:

  • Public lecture with Seattle artists Cecilia Concepción Alvarez and Alfredo Arreguín, Sat., Feb. 4, 2pm at Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. $5 suggested donation/Museum members free.
  • Docent tours: Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1:30pm beginning Sun., Feb. 12. Tours last one hour, start in the Lightcatcher lobby and are included with admission/free to members.
  • Film Screening: “Chicano Legacy: 40 Años,” co-presented with the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival, Sun., Feb. 19, 2pm at Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. Free.
  • Public lecture with artist and scholar Amalia Mesa-Bains, Wed., March 22, 12:30pm at Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. $5 suggested donation/Museum members free.