Twice a year the Whatcom Museum hosts a community art day that provides visitors with an opportunity to learn more about featured exhibitions through a variety of interactive and engaging activities.
Aimed at people of all ages, from preschoolers to adults, the day-long event includes art demonstrations, gallery tours and children’s art activities. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, the museum will be “Thinking Outside the Basket” during its Community Art Museum Day.
Inspired by the multiple basketry exhibitions now showing at the Lightcatcher building and Old City Hall, visitors will learn about the innovation and reinvention of basket art. In addition to the specially-planned activities, the museum is charging a reduced admission of $3 per person.
From 10 a.m. to noon children are invited to visit the Family Interactive Gallery Art & Interactive Studio at the Lightcatcher to paint with baskets. Children 18 months to 5 years old will learn that baskets are not just for storing and carrying items, but can be used as a painting medium, too. Children will dip baskets into a palette of paint colors to create unique images and textures on paper.
Between noon and 4 p.m., basket artists will be in the Lightcatcher building corridor offering demonstrations on innovative basket-making techniques.
Visitors can meet three contemporary artists who are reshaping traditional basket making with their unique materials and designs. Artist Karen Sherwood will demonstrate twining with many fibers, Dorothy McGuinness will demonstrate bias plaiting with paper and Barbara Osborne will demonstrate coiling with pine needles.
For visitors interested in hands-on activities, basket artists will be in the Lightcatcher Studio between noon and 4 p.m. offering a “Basketry 101” activity. Artists will teach participants about the history and art of traditional braiding and cordage-making techniques while helping visitors create a dream catcher, bookmark or bracelet to take home.
For those interested in learning more about the exhibition, “Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America” at the Lightcatcher, take a docent-led tour of the exhibition from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Docents are trained volunteer guides who offer more information and insight into the featured exhibition.
At Old City Hall, members of the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild will be available between noon and 4p.m. in the “Gathered Together” exhibition offering demonstrations of their weaving techniques. Many of the artists featured in the exhibit also will be on hand to talk about the artwork on display in the exhibition.
Tickets to the Whatcom Museum’s popular summer History Sunset Cruises begin May 1.
The cruises are hosted on Tuesday evenings in July and August, with two new sailings added this year in early September. Participants get a waterside view of Bellingham’s history while riding on San Juan Cruises’ Victoria Star.
Narrated by local historians Brian Griffin or Doug Starcher, the History Sunset Cruises are the Museum’s most anticipated program of the year. T
ickets are $35 general and $30 for museum members. Tickets will be available May 1 at brownpapertickets.com/event/3380820.
Christina M. Claassen is Whatcom Museum’s marketing and public relations manager. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The non-profit Whatcom Museum is operated by the Whatcom Museum Foundation and the city of Bellingham. The Old City Hall building at 121 Prospect St. and the Lightcatcher Building at 250 Flora St. are open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays. The Family Interactive Gallery, located inside the Lightcatcher, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission, good for all sites in a day, is $10 general, $8 youth (6-17 years) and student, senior or military, $5 children (2-5 years). Memberships start at $50 and include free museum admission.
The museum offers a variety of programs and exhibitions about art, nature and Northwest history. Its collections contain more than 200,000 artifacts and art of regional importance, including a photographic archive. The museum is accredited nationally by the American Alliance of Museums and is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate.