Mission & History

Our Mission

The Art Project is dedicated to illuminating our corner of the world through gallery exhibitions, art education, and community outreach.

 

Our History

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.

 
 ELECTED AS NEW OFFICERS of Bainbridge Arts and Crafts at a meeting of the group November 3, were these four Island women. From the left, Mrs. Thomas Bourns, Wing Point, chairman; Mrs. George Dennis, Sunrise Drive, membership chairman; Mrs. Mimi S. McArdle, Venice, secretary and publicity, and Mrs. Evald Eliason, Port Madison, treasurer. Visible on the wall are three paintings on display in the Arts and Craft’s gift shop in the Review Building, Winslow. (2-18-1954)

ELECTED AS NEW OFFICERS of Bainbridge Arts and Crafts at a meeting of the group November 3, were these four Island women. From the left, Mrs. Thomas Bourns, Wing Point, chairman; Mrs. George Dennis, Sunrise Drive, membership chairman; Mrs. Mimi S. McArdle, Venice, secretary and publicity, and Mrs. Evald Eliason, Port Madison, treasurer. Visible on the wall are three paintings on display in the Arts and Craft’s gift shop in the Review Building, Winslow. (2-18-1954)

  THREE ISLANDERS ARE SHOWN as organization is completed in the University of Washington campus, Seattle, of Washington Arts and Crafts. Standing, third from the left, is Mrs. George Dennis, Sunrise Drive, president of Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, who was chosen to be a member of the steering committee of the new statewide group. Seated at left, is Mrs. Richard Morley and standing, extreme right, is her mother, Mrs. Lawrence Eager; both are summer residents at Seabold. (10-3-1957)

 THREE ISLANDERS ARE SHOWN as organization is completed in the University of Washington campus, Seattle, of Washington Arts and Crafts. Standing, third from the left, is Mrs. George Dennis, Sunrise Drive, president of Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, who was chosen to be a member of the steering committee of the new statewide group. Seated at left, is Mrs. Richard Morley and standing, extreme right, is her mother, Mrs. Lawrence Eager; both are summer residents at Seabold. (10-3-1957)

EARLY DAYS

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.

 GENERAL MEETING of the Bainbridge Arts and Craft was held recently at the Gift Shop in the Review Building. Mrs. Tom Bourns, Wing Point, chairman, and Mrs. John Rudolph, Sunrise Drive, secretary, are sitting with their backs to the camera. Others in attendance were from the left; Mrs. Bert Murley, Winslow; Mrs. H. Clinton and Capt, Invald Wick, both of Eagledale; Mrs. Wick; Mrs. A. K.Meyers, Port Madison; Mrs. I. Haugen, Eagledale and Mrs. George Dennis, Sunrise Drive. It was at this meeting that first plans were laid for an all-Island fair this summer.

GENERAL MEETING of the Bainbridge Arts and Craft was held recently at the Gift Shop in the Review Building. Mrs. Tom Bourns, Wing Point, chairman, and Mrs. John Rudolph, Sunrise Drive, secretary, are sitting with their backs to the camera. Others in attendance were from the left; Mrs. Bert Murley, Winslow; Mrs. H. Clinton and Capt, Invald Wick, both of Eagledale; Mrs. Wick; Mrs. A. K.Meyers, Port Madison; Mrs. I. Haugen, Eagledale and Mrs. George Dennis, Sunrise Drive. It was at this meeting that first plans were laid for an all-Island fair this summer.

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.

 
 

BAC becomes The Art Project

In 2018, in celebration of the 70th anniversary of BAC, the organization took a bold step to better serve its community. It gave itself a makeover. Remaining in the same location on Winslow Way, the gallery space was upgraded and transformed into a more engaging retail experience. Walls were torn down and offices were moved off-site, making more space for art display, art education, and community engagement. 

On March 10, Bainbridge Arts Crafts reopened as The Art Project, a name chosen to fully express the depth of its far-reaching mission and the organization’s open-minded, community-driven spirit.

Today, The Art Project continues to be the island’s first nonprofit gallery, with a long history of community involvement and its eyes set on a high-impact future. We invite you to be a part of it.