Mission & History
Bainbridge Arts and Crafts is dedicated to illuminating our corner of the world through gallery exhibitions, art education, and community outreach.
In January 1948, a news item in the Bainbridge Island Review invited interested adults to attend a meeting at the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Hodges in Port Madison. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the formation of a nonprofit organization to provide creative activity for the Bainbridge Island community.
The meeting struck a chord and led to others. By the end of the first year, classes were being offered in homes, studios, and schoolrooms, and would continue through the years. Offerings reflected popular interests of the time and included drawing, painting, wood carving, photography, china painting, lampshade making, ceramics, macramé, mosaics, sand casting, doll making, leather crafting, jewelry, metal craft, silk screening, creative writing, rug making, and lectures on many of these topics.
Bainbridge Arts & Crafts is born
In 1952, the ambitious group of volunteers opened a retail space in the old Review Building located where the ferry holding area is now. Soon part of the space became a gallery, called Bainbridge Arts & Crafts, which had its first children’s art exhibit in 1954—the same year it was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization.
A New Home for BAC
In the early 1960s a hurricane, tornado, or fire (reports vary, and we’re still tracking down sources) caused extensive damage to the gallery’s inventory and premises, prompting a move to the building that now houses Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. We moved across the street to our current location in the early 1980s.
Fundraising over the years included “trash and treasure” sales, “white elephant” sales, bake sales, and 28 Crab Feeds and auctions (the latter of which was brought back in 2018). Well-known artists such as Morris Graves, Elton Bennett, Dale Chihuly, Mary Randlett, Rosalyn Gale Powell, Phillip Levine, George Tsutakawa, and James Washington participated in Bainbridge Arts & Crafts as artists, jurors and class instructors. Books by local writers on such topics as poetry, island history, baker’s clay, cooking, and children’s stories, were introduced and sold at the nonprofit gallery. The Starving Artists’ Cookbook went into a second printing and was featured on the pages of Ladies Home Journal in 1977—the same issue that featured Farrah Fawcett on its cover.
Funding of scholarships and support for school art programs became an important part of the organization’s focus, as well as talks, classes, demonstrations, and exhibitions—all of which continue today.
In 2018, in celebration of the 70th anniversary of BAC, the organization took a step to better serve its community. It gave itself a makeover. Remaining in the same location on Winslow Way, the gallery was upgraded and transformed into a more inviting space. Walls were torn down and offices were moved off-site, making more room for art, art education, and community engagement.