Bellevue Arts Museum
August 31, 2018
After moving into the Redmond apartments, it should come as no shock that this area is a haven for all things beautiful. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is the majesty of the natural world around you:
“If you're looking for America the Beautiful, you'll find it in Washington. Spacious skies? Check. Amber waves of grain? You bet. Purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain? Wenatchee! Shining sea? Yes—from the mouth of the Columbia to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.”
Beauty comes in many forms, though, and here, you’ll find it even within the confines of the urban ecosystem. Just one trip to Bellevue Arts Museum will make that apparent, as the institution, whose mission is to provide a public space for the appreciation of our rich visual culture, carries on strong in its much-needed endeavors.
Think you know what BAM is all about? Or maybe you don’t, and you’d like to learn more? Either way, we encourage you to read on, as we dive into the history, mystique, and current goings-on of this fabled cornerstone of the Pacific Northwest to sate your thirst for knowledge.
How the Bellevue Arts Museum Came to Be
BAM, according to the story on their website, is “one of few museums that grew out of an art fair.” It took a while, mind you, as the fair was first held in 1947, and the museum wasn’t founded until 1975. Founded it was, however, and after a period of evolution that lasted until 2001, they opened their doors in their permanent home: “a red building in the heart of downtown Bellevue designed by renowned architect and Washingtonian, Steve Holl.”
You can see this building for yourself, if you make the journey down to 510 Bellevue Way NE. The distinct exterior is one you can hardly miss, marked by its bright color, bold glass, and unmistakable shape. It is a space that has become a bastion for art, craft, and design since a organizational revamping in 2005:
“On June 18, 2005, after extensive research and community feedback, BAM opened its doors with a revitalized mission focused on art, craft, and design and an emphasis on Northwest artists. An "s" was added to "Arts," symbolizing the inclusion of craft and design into its mission.”
Today, you’ll find that this is one of the few institutions in the country with a focus so unique, and now well into its 72nd year, the Bellevue Arts Museum continues to draw in visitors and patrons from far and wide.
What You’ll Find at BAM
“Art” would be the one-word answer. For some depth, though, let’s take a peek at some of the exhibitions, shall we? Front and center in their current showings is Alex Katz: A Life in Print. This exhibit, which runs from June 1st to October 14th, shows off selections from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer (and his family foundation), highlighting the genius that is Alex Katz:
“A major figure in the world of American figurative art over the past 60 years, Alex Katz is known for his large scale paintings, sculptures, and prints. His work has been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions internationally since 1951.”
There will be plenty on display here, but of particular note are two important works that have never been shown on the West Coast before now. The first of these is Chance, a “life size depiction of three bathers.” The second are aquatints of New York poets, along with excerpts of their work — friends of Katz and his wife Ada — depicted with a “deadpan yet heartfelt sincerity.”
And this is just one such exhibit that is going on at the museum. Other current showings include José Guadalupe Posada and the Mexican Penny Press, a celebration of the printmaking prowess of José Guadalupe Posada, the father of Modern Mexican Art. FEMAIL AMPM 2.0, a fashion collaboration from the minds of Janelle Abbott and Camilla Carper, will showcase a joint effort done through USPS exchanges, and Richard Barlow’s Manifest will be that artist’s first solo exhibition in the Pacific Northwest.
As you can see, there’s plenty of depth and diversity among Bellevue Arts Museum’s current offerings, and plenty more coming up in future installations, such as:
- Bellwether 2018
- Polaroids: Personal, Private, Painterly
- Dylan Neuwirth
- BAM Biennial 2018
The offerings at BAM don’t just end with the great art on display, mind you. The museum is also noteworthy outside of the gallery for the programs and events that are a regular occurrence here. The BAM ARTSfair is right around the corner, taking place July 27th through July 29th, and will be a chance for inspiring artists (more than 300 of them!) to show off their unique, handmade craftwork and arts.
You’ll have the opportunity to stroll the festival at your leisure, simply viewing the work, or getting involved by supporting these dedicated craftsmen with a purchase or two. In addition, there will be live entertainment, kids’ activities, food trucks, and plenty else to enjoy, so you’ll want to mark your calendar for this one.
And who could forget the BAM’s Free First Friday events? The next is coming up on August 3rd, and will offer, as it always does, free admission to the museum with special extended hours, along with lectures, tours, presentations, and varied programming taking place throughout the day.
There’s plenty to explore here, so be sure to read up on all the exhibitions, programs, and events, along with checking out their complete calendar so you never miss any fun happenings.
There’s Beauty All Around You at the Redmond Apartments
Beyond the backdrop of the mountains and superb cultural institutions like BAM, there are fabulous apartments like Hyde Square — designed with beauty squarely in mind. One look at this contemporary, luxury community and you’ll see why so many are clamoring to call it home. You too can make this a refuge, and marvel at the splendor every day as you live a lifestyle you might never before have thought possible. Check it out, and prepare to be amazed.